Boston, MA Underlining the design firm’s expanding commitment to sustainable design, national architecture and interior leader Dyer Brown has unveiled a new 18,000 s/f center for repeat client Sappi North America, one of the leading manufacturers of eco-conscious wood fiber products.
Sappi, a subsidiary of the global company known for its innovations with raw and processed wood fiber, reached out to Dyer Brown to redesign the workplace at 255 State St., which Dyer Brown designed more than a decade ago. With ideas to reduce the office footprint and combine staff spaces with a flexible schedule on a single, highly functional floor, Sappi saw an opportunity to use both Dyer Brown’s workplace design skill and the firm’s commitment to sustainable design.
The timing couldn’t be better: Dyer Brown had just completed a visionary exercise to renew and strengthen its commitment to sustainable design – part of a trio of lenses that guide all decision-making: design first, diversity and sustainability.
Sappi asked Dyer Brown to refresh and update the HQ aesthetic to best represent the company’s culture, mission and brand image. The client also highlighted their shared interests with the design team in achieving a healthy, environmentally sustainable and fair result.
“We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Sappi a second time,” said Laurel Christensen, Dyer Brown’s sustainable design leader, AIA, WELL AP. “Their perspectives on the importance of green design and the importance of environmental responsibility align perfectly with ours – we actually learned a lot by working with each other.”
With Dyer Brown project manager Schuyler Pratt coordinating the effort, the design team followed cost-effective and low-waste strategies that also maximized the visual impact on visiting customers. Focusing on areas near the entrance and reception area, including meeting rooms and an employee pantry and breakout area, Dyer Brown combined folding and retractable walls with a predominantly neutral palette with bursts of brand-inspired color to divide rooms into co-working spaces.
At the entrance, a living moss-walled waiting room creates an unforgettable image for Sappi’s headquarters, reinforcing its mission and culture for staff and visitors, while the less visible design streamlines workflow and reduces material and energy needs.
The design team also reused and refurbished architectural elements and furniture as much as possible and prioritized eco-friendly finishes, materials and fixtures from previously evaluated manufacturers and product lines, a growing area of expertise for Dyer Brown, according to Christensen. “Our team is leading a far-reaching effort to completely overhaul our library of materials by eliminating products that contain known human health hazards and introducing new and greener, healthier alternatives,” he said.
This firm-wide effort reflects Dyer Brown’s renewed, empowered commitment to sustainable design and practice. According to Christensen, the firm’s leaders have reassessed not only their mission but also all of the core principles. The process led to the emergence of a new trio of lenses that serve as the cornerstone of all decision-making processes for the firm, which was founded more than fifty years ago.
“We have always seen sustainability as a core value, and today we see that passion with more focus and a broader set of tools,” Christensen said. “We like to work with clients who are similarly focused on green building, efficiency and occupant health goals. Now we want to aim even higher: that means following more customers like Sappi, who put people and the planet first in their organizational results.”