A Creative, Budget-Conscious Way to Brand Your Open Workspace

See how a non-traditional insurance company used transparent hot pink panels to punctuate their open-plan office.

The 3form Pressed C3 Pressed Glass panels in Beazley's NYC office, designed by Gensler. All photos courtesy of Beazley.

The 3form C3 Pressed Glass panels in Beazley’s NYC office, designed by Gensler. All photos courtesy of Beazley.

Beazley is an insurance company with offices in Europe, Australia, Asia, and the US. When a team from Gensler took on the company’s NYC office in 2010, the designers turned to 3form for their C3 Pressed Glass to dab “clean lines and playful pops of color” throughout an otherwise wide-open space.

The solution was so effective that they’ve since implemented it in Beazley’s other offices across the US.

Over the phone, Gensler’s Kathleen Friedle – a studio director and senior associate at Gensler’s NYC office, and the Beazley project manager – told us more about the project.

What led you to the hot pink panels?

For Beazley’s New York office, they wanted something unique that made a splash. At first we had a neutral palette, but then we brought in the 3form glass to integrate with Beazley’s brand color, hot pink. We were being budget-conscious, and we happened to luck out in that [3form’s] palette matched Beazley’s brand color.

The office is 100 percent open plan [20,000 square feet; 250-some benching stations; no closed offices]. They had a tight budget and not a lot of hard construction, so we used the glass for quiet rooms, phone rooms, meeting rooms, and other selective spaces.

In addition to the pink, we introduced blue and yellow into the palette. It made for an interesting space — an insurance company with a 100 percent open plan and hot pink details!

It works for them, though! In addition to color, the panels give the space a great graphic quality, and sort of punctuate things without closing them off…

We had to stop and think, can you use hot pink without it looking immature or too heavy? Glass as a design element grew on us. [Beazley’s logo] graphics use a single line — a continuous, unbroken line — and this was a whimsical type of approach to represent that. In the space you can see from one end to the other, and if you do a 360 turn and look around, the different color panels give off a collage-effect.

Beazley has told us that their own clients are always delighted and surprised when they come into the office because it doesn’t look like a typical insurance company.

How do the employees like it?

Beazley wanted the space to be creative and not overly complicated. Their New York office was a new design departure for them and they wanted to build on what had been established in their other locations.

We wanted to be selective about [where we used] the panels. You get this light and airy feel without putting up painted sheet rock walls, and it was a way to introduce color but also keep the space transparent.

It was a template for other projects, too. [Gensler has since specified the 3form panels for Beazley offices in Chicago, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Philadelphia.] Beazley has told us that their own clients are always delighted and surprised when they come into the office because it doesn’t look like a typical insurance company.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Interested in learning more about how to brand your workplace? Join us on August 28 in San Francisco for “Who Owns Brand Culture? Designing for a Company’s Identity Before it Exists”. Tickets and more details here >>

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