See Inside Dwell’s New Office

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By Amanda Dameron / Published by Dwell
We're exploring a new way to work in Manhattan.

The modern office has changed, and so have we.  We've become leaner, more flexible. We use and store less paper. We often work remotely, and though our team operates from many different locations, we've never been more connected. 

When our lease in Manhattan came up for renewal, we decided to look into a co-working space—a central hub with office infrastructure supplied by a parent company, where smaller companies can rent space according to their needs. 

There are certainly many options in the marketplace. In New York, we toured a total of 17 companies offering co-working facilities, from the posh (Neuehouse) to the yoga-inspired (Primary). We saw grim, over-crowded spaces (too many to name) and vibrant locations devoted to the power of community (WeWork). We toured raw spaces that were just about to open (Industrious) and we visited august operations that have been in the biz since the 1990s (TechSpace). 

In the end, we found the best solution for our needs today: Bond Collective, a young and growing operation with four current locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We settled on the location in the Financial District, because it was the most convenient to the most people on the team. Other locations include Flatiron, Gowanus, and soon, a new location in Bushwick. 

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We liked Bond Collective's philosophy about branding—and we appreciated the laid-back, professional vibe of the interiors. There aren't a bunch of slogans screaming on the walls. The backdrop is more subdued, but still comfortable and considered: lots of comfy places to perch, tons of natural light, many spots to plug in or take a meeting. Meticulously clean, well-kept shared spaces like the kitchen, dining, and meeting areas offer plenty of room to spread out. 

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Another reason a co-working spot was so attractive to us had to do with infrastructure. It's wonderful to have fresh, good coffee and fruit-infused, filtered water on tap. But it's not as wonderful to be responsible for making sure it flows—now, we don't have to worry about maintenance and upkeep. We would also be remiss if we didn't mention the free, cold beer on tap—especially during the hot summer months. 

Infrastructure is about much more than coffee, of course. Printing, mailing, storage, and connectivity issues are all handled by Bond Collective. This is nice not to have to worry about on a day-to-day basis. It's like working in a boutique hotel—in the best way possible. 

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Another big plus was the myriad locations for working. There's no need to stay inside our own office space, we can unplug our laptops and work from one of many break-away spots, including a series of visually graphic, comfortable booths set up around the perimeter. 

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Our own spaces include a 10-person corner office (below) as well as a smaller room steps away that houses our printer, server, and our calibrated screen for proofing layouts. We are on the 24th floor, so we have a great view of the surrounding architecture found in the Financial District, and a good amount of natural light for working (our team usually eschews the overhead lighting, preferring to work in more ambient conditions). We are pleased to report that our plants are also very happy about our new space. 

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A floor-to-ceiling frosted-glass wall offers ample space to display the magazine issue in progress. We also keep a small library here, with essential reference books and a complete set of Dwell issues dating back to October 2000. 

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When a team shares one room, it's imperative to consider coworkers' sensory needs. When we moved in, we decided to only take phone calls in one of the many "call box" spaces that are just steps from our door. Thoughtfully swathed in a heavy mohair textile, these spaces absorb sound while providing enough transparency by way of the floor-to-ceiling glass doors. We often spy people taking naps in here—we do not blame them, these spaces are surprisingly cozy. 

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Obviously thoughtful interior design isn't accidental. The design of Bond Collective is the work of a team led by Elide Grabowski, who oversees every object and all material finishes for all of the locations. "We were trying to create an exclusive environment that still felt accessible," says Grabowski, who alongside her colleague Thomas Gibbons, has over the last two years spearheaded a visual and creative redirection for the company. "Going to work doesn't have to be a drag—when you're surrounded by good design, you have a dynamic backdrop that encourages good work."

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As is often the case with a move, some of our favorite furniture didn't quite work in the new space. While we have dearly loved our set of Alcove Highback Sofas by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Vitra, we knew that we were going to have to part ways. In our old space, they functioned as our "waiting area" furnishings. In the new space, there's an entire lobby comprised of many seating areas for meeting and waiting. Luckily, we partnered with our buddies at Chairish to list our collection of Vitra pieces, which included two love seats, two armchairs and three NesTables by Jasper Morrison. 

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We loved putting the collection on Chairish, their platform is easy to use and well designed. We even learned through the interface that some fine folks over at Juxtapose are making use of our trio of tables. We still have a couple Vitra pieces, for interested parties. 

Live on and prosper, Jasper Morrison NesTables. We hardly knew ye. Sniff. 

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We've been in our new spot for three months, and I have to say—this is a smart way to work. Not only were we able to find an office situation that met our needs and our budget, we also discovered the creative freedom and flexibility that comes with a co-working environment. Even in the short amount of time we've been in this location, we've watched the design evolve, and noted that the available spots fill up quickly. We can't wait to see the Bushwick location, set to open soon.