An Ad Agency’s Unconventional Redesign That Wowed Employees and Clients

The designers chose 21,000 square feet of Chilewich Plynyl® Tile Flooring in Bamboo Tea, Chalk, and Seafoam for the office and installed it in a color-alternating pattern.

TM Advertising‘s redesign of their Dallas office, by Gensler and HKS Architects, Inc., is light, bright, and unconventional, reflecting the company’s desire to surprise clients with an innovative, creative approach.

The office has a softened industrial look, with intentionally exposed ventilation in the ceilings, flooring made of a material commonly used for placemats, and two huge LED “super-screens” that showcase the TM brand in the public plaza outside their office. TM Advertising also takes an unconventional approach to the way their employees work: though there is no formal work-from-home policy, the company recognizes that most of their employees work 24/7/365 and need mobility, and fosters a flexible environment of “casual, creative professionalism”. We reached out to Gensler designer Christopher Goggin, and Ann Kifer, their regional public relations director, to find out more.

TM Advertising Office

What is the address of the project?

3030 Olive Street in Dallas.

Who was the building architect?

HKS Architects, Inc.

Who was the interior architect/designer?

Gensler

TM Advertising Office

When was the project completed?

2012

What is the total square footage?

46,000 square feet

What is the square footage per person?

230 square feet per person

TM Advertising Office

How many total employees are there and what’s the daily population?

The space accommodates approximately 200 assigned work settings with an additional 175 seats available in conference, teaming, work lounge and writers focus room spaces. The population ebbs and flows throughout the day with approximately 80 percent of the assigned work settings occupied at any given time.

What is the location’s proximity to public transportation and other amenities?

The office of TM Advertising is located in Victory Park in Dallas in one of two towers flanking the multi-media plaza forecourt serving American Airlines Center and an adjacent mixed use retail based development in Dallas. American Airlines Center is the home of the Dallas Stars NHL team and The Dallas Mavericks NBA team. When it is finished, the Victory Park project will contain more than 4,000 residences and 4,000,000 square feet of office, hotel and retail space.

TM Advertising Office

Current nearby businesses include The House of Blues, The Hard Rock Café, The W Hotel, the studios for WFAA TV and The Ticket radio networks, The House by Starck and YOO, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science designed by Thom Mayne and Morphosis Architects.

Victory Park has direct access to a wide range of public transportation options including the Trinity Railway Express, DART rail, DART bus service and the Katy Trail. The trail turned an abandoned rail link into a linear park featuring a 12-foot-wide concrete trail and an 8- foot-wide soft-surface running path which connects to other area parks, turning the 30-acre Katy Trail into 125 acres of contiguous parkland in the heart of Dallas. TM Advertising maintains a fleet of bicycles in their office for use on the trail.

TM Advertising Office

What were the construction/hard costs per square foot?

Approximately $69 per square foot, excluding IT infrastructure costs and furniture.

Which furniture brands/dealers were used? Please touch upon any notable products, how they were used, and if they solved a specific problem.

The challenge was to create an environment that promotes creativity and invigorates employees. The open plan office uses Antenna Workspaces Big Table by Knoll, which offers a collaborative work setting that can support groups of any size in open plan environments, touch-down spaces and meeting areas. Mounted wood cabinets, attached to the Big Table center beam, offer additional storage while extension tops and storage cabinets, supported by extended rails, delineate space. Template storage and Antenna Workspaces mobile pedestals provide file storage and define boundaries between individual workstations. The company’s private offices also feature Antenna Workspaces desks and wall mounted overhead storage elements to create highly efficient focused work areas. Lane Office Interiors, a New York City Knoll dealer was selected due to its association with Interpublic Group, TM Advertising’s parent company.

TM Advertising Office

A range of other product lines rounds out the conferencing, lounge, and collaborative spaces. A custom bar table by Studios 1019 is a centerpiece of the 5th floor multipurpose space and was fabricated from an old growth black walnut tree felled by a storm in upstate New York, and we installed 21,000 square feet of Chilewich Plynyl® Tile Flooring — made from a material more commonly used for placemats — and installed it in a color-alternating pattern.

TM Advertising Office

Is there a mobile work or work-from-home policy or are most of the employees there all day every day?

Although there is no formal work from home policy, many of the employees are highly mobile and go where they need to go to get the job done. Office hours, like in an architect’s office, can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year so workspace is comfortable, food, and beverages are well stocked and an air of casual, creative professionalism permeates the space.

What percentage of the space is unassigned?

All individual workspaces are assigned but are designed to allow easy, efficient change of teams as client account structures dictate. This allows for people moves, not furniture or architecture moves.

TM Advertising Office

What is the most unique feature about the new space?

There are a few unique features. The plaza itself contains 11 large, high-resolution LED screens featuring dynamic content. Eight of the screens — four on each side of the Plaza — combine to create 31-foot x 53-foot “super screens” with HD Resolution. Becca Weigman, CEO of TM Advertising, negotiated screen time into the lease of their office. The screens, which are highly visible from the offices and client presentation suite extend the reach of the office into the very highly dynamic public plaza space.

TM Advertising Office

What was the hardest aspect of change for people in moving from the former space?

The TM Advertising team was very good about keeping a line of communication open to their team and consequently, the usual issues of change management were mostly avoided. They kept the staff informed at critical milestone points throughout the project. A time lapse video showing a walk from the old location to the new and following the entire construction process was created as part of a greeting message everyone saw on their computers when the logged in on opening day.

The old office space was dark and compartmentalized. Everyone was in individual workstations with high panels and overhead storage units. There was little connectivity and no sense of energy and engagement. The new space is very open and collaborative. The decision to eliminate a lot of personal storage created some fear that people would feel disenfranchised so we integrated personal storage lockers into workspace. The storage concerns were unfounded but the lockers were well received as a nice personal amenity. Office acoustics were also a concern so TM Advertising provided everyone with a pair of Bose headphones on move in day. The sound masking system in the open collaborative workspace eliminates most of the noise distraction issues but private, fully enclosed, acoustically insulated rooms were provided for heads down, focused, creative writing tasks.

TM Advertising Office

Please talk about any other notable aspects of the project that make it unique.

The office space takes up 2 ½ floors. It is extremely important to the culture of TM Advertising to maintain a sense of connectivity and so we recommended an internal circulation stair. Near the reception and kept close to the windows, the energy and excitement of the plaza space outside becomes an integral part of the experience as people circulate between floors.

Every effort was made to choose products and materials that did not feel like they would be expected to be in a corporate office environment. We thought about using sealed concrete but the aesthetic would have been a little too raw and gritty and office acoustics would have suffered. We chose a woven textile product by Chilewich that most people have typically seen as placemats at home or in a restaurant. People are always pleasantly surprised when they realize that this can also be used on the floor. We always hope to achieve that element of surprise and discovery.

TM Advertising Office

A 150” plasma display screen hangs in the client presentation room. This unit had to be craned up and brought into the building through a rooftop access hatch. The display unit is so heavy it comes with two mini lift cranes that are permanently installed above the ceiling and are used to raise the unit into position.

Colorful fabric design classics by Maharam accent the public reception/lobby space and client presentation room.

Large format tile mosaics by Bisazza adorn the walls of the catering pantry purposefully left visible throughout the 5th floor multipurpose space to maintain a sense of energy and connectivity. Glass front beverage coolers are stocked with soft drinks and beer and wine to help keep the creative juices flowing. A restaurant grade water carbonation system makes sparkling water and fizzy drinks.

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