86 interiors+sources may2016 interiorsandsources.com
By now, many of us know how to talk the talk about advocating for wellness in the workplace, but how many of us walk the walk? When architecture firm HKS moved to their new location in downtown Dallas, bringing a focus of wellness to their urban
office was a no-brainer.
The 140,000-square-foot office space on North Saint Paul Street occupies
six floors that are connected by a central staircase to dissuade elevator use,
and features plenty of natural sunlight and outdoor terraces.
But the building’s shell was just the beginning. Offering fresh fruit, midafternoon yoga classes, and financial advisor meetings, HKS aimed to embody
a holistic approach to health and wellness—and it’s evident in every piece
of carpet, furniture, and bulletin board. We sat down with Olga Acosta, the
company’s associate principal and senior interiors project manager, to discuss
how and why wellness became such a residing factor in their office space.
interiors + sources: Why was wellness such an important factor for
your Dallas office?
OLGA ACOSTA: It’s partially a generational thing, but it’s also the overall
healthcare system and the impact it has on employees and employers. There
are just so many things an employer can truly impact, and one of those is the
We are one of those firms that promotes people coming into the office
rather than work from home because we’re heavily team-oriented, and if
we’re encouraging you to come to the office, we need to create an environment
that is desirable, and doesn’t impact you in any negative way. So it was
important from the very beginning for us to identify how the next 75 years of
our existence was going to be monumental, and how we could create that
perfect environment—or as close to that as possible, because I don’t know if
there’s such a thing. But what is it that we could do to attract the best of the
best from around the world and retain them once we got them here?
i+s: What were some of your main concerns in sourcing wellness
OA: We did a lot of research and one of the biggest things that we were after
was to be as minimally invasive about how we approach design, and we
wanted to come out of this with LEED Platinum because as a firm we made
a commitment to be responsible stewards of natural resources.
An architect and design group has a responsibility to do research, to really
understand not only the products themselves and their quality, longevity, and
performance, but also where they originated and how they were manufactured.
We met with a lot of manufacturers, we reviewed them, and they told us their
story. Then we back-checked how they actually produce their products, and
By Kadie Yale | Photography by Daryl Shields/HKS, Inc.
WELLNESS ver how HKS is putting their money where their h is to create their wellness-oriented Dallas office.
VARIDESK: The sit/stand desks are made available to any employees who asks for one.
KNOLL FURNI TURE SYSTEM: Ergonomic design and healthy building product throughout the office.
FORBO’S BULLETIN BOARD CORKMENT: A healthy product to create tackable walls, which
are located along the building’s core walls.
INTERFACE FLOR’S GRAPHLAR MODULAR CARPET TILE: Its PVC-free backing promotes a
healthy work environment.
MERMET’S GREENSCREEN REVIVE: PVC-free window shades promote natural daylighting without VOCs.