Eco Office for an Environmental Non-Profit
Nia Tero Office
A home base for a non-profit working with communities worldwide, furnished with their collection of indigenous art.
Drawing inspiration from their work in environmental conservation and human rights, this Seattle-based non-profit organization, Nia Tero, sought to create a homey, yet functional, office space for their Capitol Hill home, with flexible spaces that could grow with their budding start-up. The organization, which works to uphold healthy and thriving ecosystems through the support and stewardship of indigenous peoples, came to us hoping for an office build-out that would reflect their company ethos while remaining practical for daily office life and suitable for their budget.
Located within a historic building, we were tasked with designing a space that celebrated and maintained the building’s unique character while paying homage to the indigenous peoples with whom they work. We chose a palette of soft whites and cool grays to balance the warm earth tones of the space’s furnishings. Bold throw pillows and Nia Tero’s own collection of clay bowls and traditional masks displayed in the lobby round out the space, bringing home the global feel so reflective of their work.
Nia Tero wanted to enhance the space’s historic feel by removing the existing drywall to expose the original brick below. However, with directions from the landlord that no alteration to the brick could be made – and with the design settled and construction already underway – we knew what we found below the drywall would be what we got.
Much to everyone’s surprise, we discovered the historic brick had been painted two-tone, with natural brick below and whitewashed brick above. Though not part of our original design, and certainly not what we expected, the two-toned brick plays nicely with the space’s neutral palette, adding subtle visual interest enhancing the space’s finished feel – proof that not all construction surprises are challenges to overcome.
Whenever possible, we sourced ethical and sustainable products. Walking into the new space, you’re greeted by a custom reception desk and sign made from salvaged, live-edge wood slabs, created in collaboration with a local woodworking artist, Ben Cruzat. The floor was another area we were able to bring sustainable materials to this project.
While carpet isn’t what many would first think of when considering green products, we chose a modular carpet system with a multi-hued design meant to imitate natural lichen growths. In addition to its biophilic design, the carpet is Living Product Challenge certified, which means it meets a series of strict requirements for sustainability, from material to manufacturing. It’s a two-for-one win that celebrates Nia Tero’s environmentally focused work and sustainable efforts.
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