Built Like a City

Like a modern city, the workplace is more than just a built-environment, it offers a place for people to connect and gather – it’s a landscape rich in diversity and choice, and opportunity for growth. These well-crafted communities aim to connect people and create a more dimensional world.

Cities can give us cues into how people can and should experience a work environment…

…which isn’t surprising, then, that experts look to them for insights in design. Lucky for us, the findings point to real-life, tangible concepts. For example, in the book, “The True Measure of a Space is How it Makes us Feel,” Ashley Couch, Global Director of Interior Design at WeWork noted that one way to look at creating spaces which foster social exchanges, can be “to pay attention to traffic patterns and spaces that would allow people to circulate.” As a response, we can arrange furniture in groupings to either open a space or close it off, either accepting more guests in, or focusing on more intimate connections. Scale, texture, finishes, height, comfort, and electrical capabilities are all components that can round out the solution.

A leading manufacturer in commercial furnishings, and our trusted partner, Teknion, is one leader that used city-cues to create a product called Expansion Cityline which encourages people to gather and connect within their workstations. Expansion Cityline mimics the landscape of an urban environment emphasizing the need for highways as means for connection and neighborhoods that provide a sense of belonging. This approach fosters tighter knit teams within an office, and provides a structural backbone for the digital activities of modern work. Martin Geoffroy, Director, Product Management at Teknion says it provides “unlimited configurations while seamlessly linking standing-height workspaces, casual lounge seating and task-chair activity.”


  1. This neighborhood inspired set of workstations are connected by a beam that not only powers each station but extends into the adjoining collaborative space. Mobile tools are provied within the collaborative area that can be easily reconfigured and utilized in each bay of workstations making the footprint versatile for anyone. 
  2. This configuration allows users to maintain a sense of individuality while integrating a communal space that serves both as a work counter, but also a meeting space. The varied heights throughout provide varied levels of visual privacy allowing team members to connect more easily. 
  3. Small groups of furnishings arranged at different heights and in different configurations foster different conversations. The standing height tables lend to both work and social conversations with a more relaxed lounge on the opposite side. 

No city is complete without modern day conveniences and a touch of visual stimuli. Same goes for a well-designed office.

A significant resource within both city and work environment is Audio/Visual technology solutions. Not only do they help people reach beyond the confinements of a building for a sense of community, but are often relied on to physically share ideas and connect with others.

Can you imagine Times Square without lights? Las Vegas without activities? Nashville without sound? AV technology not only works to stimulate our minds, but it also allows us to connect with people differently. Like these examples, our work communities can be seen, heard and experienced in a brighter, bolder and more interactive way.

Innovations like video walls create focal points for sharing messages and delivering unique experiences to guests. Interactive whiteboards mean that collaboration can be projected from a single point to unlimited external participants. Wireless content sharing allows informal meetings to occur in passing. 

The city helps us understand these simple principles of design, where our solutions, resources and people come together in the physical world.

With further emphasis on how a city can deliver perspective, Twin Cities artist, Michael Birawer has inspired us with his vision and says it best:

“In my work, I strive to capture the connections between people and place that create identity. Where we stop for coffee in the morning, have a beer with a friend, or attend a sporting event – all become a part of who we are as individuals, neighbors, and community members. By exaggerating the personalities of the people and architecture, I hope to inspire emotions and evoke memories for the viewer; feelings that may go unnoticed or under-appreciated in the routine of life. Additionally, I hope that my work makes people think about the importance of community in a world that seems to be increasingly individualistic.”

Think Michael Birawer’s art is kind of a big deal and want a token for yourself? (Freebie)

We have a limited supply of postcards (both images above) that we want to give away! Send us a note  with your name, email and address and we will send you a few of your very own (though we encourage you to connect with your family and friends and send them via USPS).

In summary

See below for a list of tangible solutions that facilitate the success of each city and each workplace:

  • Arrangements of furniture that encourage intended traffic patterns
  • Volume and shape of furnishings that evoke a sense of welcome
  • Variety of settings that promote conversation
  • Opportunity for re-configuration to promote interaction
  • Availability to technology so as to enable more connections
  • Color blocking, contrasts of color, texture and finishes to draw attention
  • Digital focal points to deliver messaging
  • Flexibility and versatility to meet the needs of all



““Maybe, just maybe, we shall at last come to care for the most important, the most challenging, surely the most satisfying architectural creations: building cities for people to live in.”  

– Phillip Johnson, One of the architects to design the IDS  tower in Minneapolis, MN. 





Interested in more solutions that reflect the makings of a city? 

Contact your iSpace Account Manager or email us if you would like to inquire on our services.