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Project Spotlight: The Breakaway Group

The Breakaway Group’s new workspace in Greenwood Village, Colo. Image © Ryan Gobuty

How do you create a workplace that reflects a company’s unique culture and values while augmenting workers’ ability to do their jobs?

This was the question a group of designers in Gensler’s Denver office sought to address while working closely with The Breakaway Group on the design of the company’s new workplace.

The Breakaway Group aims to change the game in how healthcare professionals adopt new technology. With a research-based approach, they specialize in achieving fast, measurable, and sustainable adoption of software applications in healthcare. In a field requiring flexibility and innovation, the company wanted a workplace capable of fostering a culture of collaborative development. Considering the constantly-evolving nature of healthcare, the company felt its workspace should cultivate a sense of shared purpose and help workers accomplish individual tasks and collaborate when appropriate.

The new workspace features a strong visual language and internal branding. Image © Ryan Gobuty

To help the company realize these goals, the Gensler design team developed a progressive planning strategy aimed at redefining the purpose and function of The Breakaway Group’s workplace.

  1. Create zoned areas for individual work: Distance large collaboration and socialization spaces away from open office areas.
  2. Provide “right sized” meeting spaces that support all types of collaboration: Create a consistent technology tool kit for each type of room.
  3. Accommodate learning spaces: Explore ways to support knowledge sharing through other resources; library, knowledge center, etc.
  4. Inspire all those who set foot inside the space: Create spaces that are multi-functional, light filled, comfortable, and celebrate the culture of The Breakaway Group.

Spaces for collaboration are separate and distinct from spaces for individual focus work. Image © Ryan Gobuty

The final design of The Breakaway Group’s new workspace enhances employee collaboration and concentration by centralizing social and meeting spaces away from individual workstations. This helps minimize distractions while clearly demarcating spaces for focus work and group work. Centrally located collaboration and cafe areas allow for informal discussion to take place within a more casual office environment, while strategic space allocation fosters the company’s growing culture and helps build social bonds and camaraderie without disrupting those in focus mode. Inboard private offices with glass fronts and low workstations along the windows further enhance individual concentration while allowing natural light to permeate the space.

The design stripped the saw-tooth office building down to its shell to increase ceiling height. This creates a more open and loft-like feel. Brand themes are expressed architecturally in a neighborhood planning concept termed by the design team as “color-tribes,” where bright colors represent individual “neighborhoods.” To further imbue the space with the company’s brand, the design team developed a custom graphic pattern called the “Staggered Leap.” Each department’s area is represented as a color from the “Staggered Leap” pattern. All colors converge together in community and collaboration spaces.

The neighborhoods concept originates from the notion of a cycling peloton which is an integrated unit of riders working together in fluid movement. Throughout the space, the workplace is connected and anchored by the environmental graphics that both reinforce and celebrate The Breakaway Group’s ability to move ahead while supporting their employees and clients.

Higher ceilings an open feeling connect workers with one another. Image © David Lauer Photography.

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