Campfire & Company
When Grow Interactive opened for business in 2004, the digital experience agency settled into a three-story mid-rise building at 427 Granby Street in downtown Norfolk. During the 17 years in that space, Grow matured and expanded in quantity of employees and diverse space needs as their client list grew to include some of the world’s most well-known brands, including Google, Adidas, and Spotify. This led the 2020 Ad Age Small Agency of the Year/Southeast to look for a new home.
Introducing Assembly, an initiative of Drew Ungvarsky (Grow’s founder and CEO) for a downtown campus for creators and innovators in an iconic, historic building, with the digital agency as the main anchor tenant.
Work Program Architects completed Grow’s interior fit-out in collaboration with Campfire & Co., a Richmond-based interior design firm, resulting in a modern and handsome space, which is crisp and restrained with white oak finishes, matte black metal accent hardware, maple wood flooring, muted greens, and charcoal gray accents. The new sophisticated space maintains a feeling of home, which was important to the client.
Determining Grow’s desired program and desk layouts was a major design driver to maximize efficiency and flexibility. When design commenced, Grow had 50 employees, but desired the capability to expand and accommodate 66 people, while also considering the possibility of a Phase 2 Assembly expansion. The client and design team worked through several iterations to find the perfect grouping of desks to prevent the look of a “sea of desks.” Groupings of up to 12 individual desks are arranged around the perimeter exterior walls, placing employees close to the natural light spilling in from large windows, while shared enclosed spaces, such as small conference rooms and reservable “heads-down” day offices, surround the interior atrium core.
Other design highlights include a kitchen/break-out space, with a playful large-scale custom wallcovering and tasteful furniture and custom built-in banquettes. It is a comfortable space for individual team members or small groups to take a break, enjoy a beverage, and collaborate on new ideas, and it is also large enough for an informal “all-hands” gathering. A small balcony space connected to Assembly’s atrium creates a special “front porch,” complete with porch swings, cushions, geometric tiled walls and leafy plants. It is the perfect recharge space.
The design process occurred just before the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown, with the complete construction occurring during the height of the pandemic. Grow’s culture of hybrid working with clients around the country eased the firm’s transition. The new space serves as an excellent example of the future workplace, with curated meeting rooms outfitted with flattering lighting, well-positioned cameras, and thoughtful A/V design, which anticipates how a space and meeting looks and sounds from the opposite side of the screen from anywhere in the world.
“WPA was a fantastic partner in bringing our vision to life. We set out to create an environment that fostered creativity, innovation, and cross-team collaboration, and we’re thrilled with the result. Our new space is as functional as it is beautiful,” says Ungvarsky.
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