Project Objectives


“Every decision we made in respect to the design was judged by three attributes. They were transparency, flexibility and collaboration. The biggest thing we wanted to accomplish was to make sure we had a look and feel what were natural and authentic.”

Geoff Quinn
Senior Director, Engineering, Facilities & Capital Infrastructure
Juno Therapeutics

“Probably the biggest goals that Juno had for developing their space were to replicate advantages they enjoyed as a start-up company. Some of those were close proximity to one another and proximity of their research spaces to their analytical spaces and dry lab spaces. We looked at the things that were going well for them and tried to develop a program for this new building that would be complementary to that.”

Ben de Rubertis
Design Director
Flad Architecture

Situation


Juno Therapeutics is on an audacious mission to radically change the course of medicine by aligning investments in scientific research, manufacturing and people to change the way cancer and other serious diseases are treated.

The company turned to Flad Architects for the project. Flad solicited bids from several potential furniture providers and commissioned workstation mockups as part of the evaluation and selection process. The choice of Tangram was based on the firm’s capability to provide not just workstations, but the range of other requirements from kanban tables and conference room tables to complete A/V design and integration.

Juno Therapeutics embarked on a project to combine their multiple locations into one headquarter location.  Housing lab space as well as work space and collaborative meeting rooms. A fundamental goal of the overall project was to create a unique environment that supports collaboration, expresses the company brand and makes a positive impression on visitors. The design approach was intended to capture a feeling of grace and authenticity to design as well as materials. It was also driven by the inspirational character of the work Juno does.<

The end all for us is spaces that fulfill all their functional needs and at the same time deliver a sense of thrill, beauty, appropriateness and cost effectiveness,” said Ben de Rubertis, Design Director for Flad.

For their new offices, the company sought to combine smaller offices spread across Seattle to create a single environment to house all their employees. That environment also needed to be adaptable for growth and any future evolution of the culture. Moreover, since their previous collaboration was usually over a Skype call, they wanted to create a space that would allow employees to meet spontaneously throughout the office at any time and support them with current technology.

In addition to various ad hoc meeting and conversation areas, a community staircase running throughout space was included as a place where employees could easily encounter each other to encourage an open, collaborative culture. Another feature intended to encourage collaboration is expanded hallway zones outside the meeting areas for which customized furnishing were developed.

Co:Design Process


“We’re a team of industrial designers and engineers with a mission to co-create a solution with the client or architect. And we do that through understanding their needs, then sketching and ideating through to solutions,” said Charlotte Wiederholt, Creative Director for Tangram Studio. “The driving force throughout our entire design process was based on Juno’s commitment to authenticity, truthfulness, honesty and transparency.”

Highlights of the design outcomes included muted colors and finishes. The idea was to create solutions that are unique and different, with a character the embodies Juno’s culture. A high priority was also to create an environment in which employees feel at home and comfortable, while delivering on key functional requirements.

The process included the iterative design and testing of several prototypes, including workstations and conference room tables. First came input from Juno and Flad on aspects such as materials and functionality. Then Tangram Studio engineers produced CAD concepts for review to determine solutions viable for prototyping. Juno and Flad then visited Tangram headquarters to experience and refine the prototypes to a final design. Visits were also scheduled to see the operations of Tangram’s suppliers to build a level of top-to-bottom trust.

Custom Furniture


Juno and Flad evaluated custom furniture versus pre-manufactured furniture. To their pleasant surprise, the custom approach was less expensive. And it enabled them to get exactly what they wanted by collaborating closely with Tangram throughout the project.

Highlights of the custom furnishings include:

Workstations

One of Juno’s main priorities is the health and wellness of employees. Each employee received a height-adjustable workstation. In addition, to support an open and collaborative culture, all workstations have low end panels. The end panels are hot-rolled steel with Zintra bolted into them, a choice reflecting Juno’s drive for authenticity as one of its core values. Surfaces are 1” thick, multi-ply, wood-grain laminate. Each desk also includes a powdered-coated, magnetic white board as well as a personal pedestal.

Conference Tables

Because employees at Juno often spend long hours in meetings, the surface was an important consideration. The solution was a multi-ply surface with Fenix soft-touch laminate. The contemporary, triangular base of the tables is raw, hot-rolled steel. In addition to aesthetics, the approach of bending a single, flat piece of steel creates a strong base for the table. The concept is also a nod to the strength of the DNA helix. The tables also include an elegant, single slot running down the length of the surface for cable access, with the main cable hidden in a box underneath the tabletop.

Kanban Tables

These collaborative meeting tables were designed and produced in a variety of sizes, drawer configurations and angles based on the space in which they would reside. An iterative design process was used to address options such as 4” tall drawers and an angled edge of 45 degrees in line with the architecture of the building. Tall drawers are included to hold post-its and markers, ideal for spontaneous meetings reflecting the workstyle of Juno’s teams of scientists.

Executive Conference Room

An elegant 20-ft.-long table was designed with an arched base. A highlight of the design is an impressive top made of back-painted glass that displays a layered-effect graphic showing T-cells (ghosted-looking under glass) that also matched other graphics throughout the building.

Storage Units

The materials and construction include powdered-coated steel with multi-ply laminate fronts.

Juno preferred not to use glue or paints on the furniture for a raw and exposed look that, again, ties back to the concept of authenticity.

Technology Integration


“One of the more challenging contractors to find was an A/V integrator. There are a lot of good companies out there, and there are a lot that are difficult to work with,” observed Quinn. “We had visited the Tangram Studio folks several times and learned that Tangram also had a technology team. Our experience with Tangram had been fantastic throughout this whole experience, so we were interested in learning more about the Tangram Technology side.”

According to de Rubertis, the team was “obsessed” with the idea of making technology not necessarily seem like technology by not having it dominate the space. He recalled that, in architectural design or design for an environment, technology is often added as a layer on top of what could be a very nicely conceived space, but the technology serves a disruptive function.

“We want technology to disappear. We don’t want the users to be thinking about technology and how to use technology,” said Eric Lockwood, Business Development Executive for Tangram Interiors. “We want it to just be there as a resource to help them do what they do. It has to be intuitive and blend into the space and the environment. And it needs to be reliable, flexible, expandable and secure.”

The large-scale technology integration for the Juno project included more than 120 displays, multiple conference rooms on nine levels, remote room scheduling devices, a conference center, a video wall and additional signage displays. Behind the scenes is a sophisticated, networked system of 18 equipment racks that were built and thoroughly tested at Tangram’s facilities prior to on-site deployment.

As with the custom furniture design, working very closely from the start of the project helped ensure the harmonizing of technology in terms of a consistent approach to the user experience as well as integrating the technology into furniture and the architecture of the building. An important part of this process was including technology in the furniture mockups for testing.

This carefully orchestrated process is intended to ensure a seamless flow from design and construction through commissioning, handover and operation. Key aspects of the project included integration of Juno’s videoconferencing platform with the Tangram-designed control system; design and user testing of graphical interfaces, down to details of screen layouts and color coding of icons; and integration of wireless and wired systems. Ultimately, the system was vetted and tested for some three months prior to actual implementation.

“Everyone is very comfortable in the space. The technology interfaces are intuitive. People know what to do and how to do it without ever having seen it before,” said Quinn. “It ended up being a great experience to have the same company designing the A/V systems as well as the conference room tables, etc., and integrating all that together.”

Final Outcome


“Juno was an ideal customer because they wanted to engage to design something. They really wanted to be part of the process. And what made it a unique experience for us and I think for Juno is that we got to co-create something together. We got to create something that was specific to them and their users,” said Wiederholt.

Working with Juno Therapeutics was exciting in terms of collaborating with a client whose business is also in cutting edge technology and recognizes that the space matters to them to attract, retain and engage with their employees by holistically addressing architectural design, custom furniture and technology integration.

“It was really fun to work with Juno because they had a vision of how they wanted their space to look, how they wanted it to function, and how the furniture and technology played into that,” remarked Tangram Interiors President Joe Lozowski. “We felt very strongly, as a part of that team, that we were helping them meet that vision.”

“This was a really, really good experience. We felt well supported the entire way through. And I’m really impressed with what Juno was able to achieve with Tangram’s help,” de Rubertis noted. “It’s been a symbiotic relationship, with expertise from Tangram on fabrication, lead times, finishing constraints for various materials and technology integration.”

According to Quinn, Juno has been pleasantly surprised to see how much fun people are having with the building and in the space. It allows them to come together as a company and celebrate successes together. They have been able to collaborate and work together quickly and spontaneously. “I would honestly say that working with Tangram has been great for us, and this is a partnership we hope to continue.”