38 interiors+sources march2017 interiorsandsources.com
If there’s one thing the Maker Movement has solidified in recent years, it’s the notion that embracing authenticity and craft adds tremendous value to local communities. This truth is embodied perfectly in the design of Etsy’s new 200,000-square-foot headquarters in Brooklyn. In partnership with
Gensler, Etsy not only created a space that “reflects the vibrancy of our community, celebrates small and local artisans, and supports employees’ innovative
working styles and overall well-being,” according to Josh Wise, the company’s
global director of workplace ecology and design, but it is also on track to become
one of the largest Living Building Challenge Petal-Certified projects in the world.
In other words, by supporting the art of making and being faithful to the
company’s values, the new headquarters represents a space in which the
Etsy community can truly live out its mission. i+s recently spoke with Justine
Chibuk, capital projects manager, and Arianna Anthony, senior PR specialist
at Etsy, about the process of creating their new home in Brooklyn.
interiors+sources: What were the overall design objectives for the project?
JUSTINE CHIBUK: Early on, we spent a lot of time basically focusing on defining
what our goals and our aspirations were for an office space. This is the first
time Etsy had really invested so significantly in an office buildout—and with
ample time to think ahead and plan purposefully and meaningfully for the
long term. It was really quite interesting and unique in terms of the design
process of bringing together all of these local stakeholders from across the
board, whether that was sustainability or cultural engagements.
There were three pillars that I think are key, [one of which was] the sustainability
aspect—so in this case, targeting the LBC, the Living Building Challenge certification. And one of the requirements was the vetting of Red List-free materials.
That was for all our construction materials, our furniture, and that also informed
all of the art pieces that went in. Anything that came on site that was going to
be installed and re-used was adhering to the sustainability guidelines.
The second thing was scaling to work with local makers and artists, and
being able to scale them in a thoughtful, mindful way with the project. It’s a
very different platform for trying to work with an individual maker from, say,
finishing one conference table to, what does it look like to make 20 conference
tables? We guided them through that process, as well as them guiding us.
The other key thing was continuing to make sure that our mission and
our values were used to inform every decision that we made.
i+s: Why was it important to work with so many artists and
craftspeople? What did the process look like?
ARIANNA ANTHONY: The reason why we chose to do it this way is because
By Robert Nieminen | Photography by Emily Andrews, courtesy of Etsy
Etsy’s new Brooklyn headquarters celebrates
community, authenticity, and sustainability.
The Etsytorium is a public-speaking space within the
new headquarters (entrance
seen here) where the
company hosts larger
meetings and presentations
as well as internal and
external speaker series, such
as Code as Craft. Art installations are by New York-based
designers Michael Szivos
and Liz Kelsey of SOFTlab.