Integrity Lab is a small office fit-out for a data-driven company developing technology for corporate integrity and organizational ethics. There is perhaps an inadvertent irony in its location inside a nineteenth century factory building constructed for the Reversible Collar Company, a manufacturer of disposable paper shirt collars. While – like Integrity Lab – the company’s products were made for business, they were far from integral – to the ensemble or carrying out a job. In their flip-flopping flimsiness, in fact, they may even connote the very opposite of Integrity Lab’s focus upon eliminating organizational ethics violations like fraud and bribery.
If there is a lesson from the collar to be applied here, though, it may be in the principles of variety and flexibility that guided the design. Several different types of work are accommodated: informal small group huddle and a large collaborative conference space occur within two diagonally-opposed rooms. These spaces, not unlike a collar, create a pinch point in the middle of the plan, separating two distinct-but-flexible zones of office: a quiet heads-down work space at the rear and a more social one towards the entry. In the latter, a floating counter peels away from a kitchenette to provide an informal node for gathering and collaboration.
The building’s brick walls are exposed where possible while new, gently rounded partitions are wrapped in a pleated acoustic material to lend color, texture, and sonic separation to the space. Somewhere between fabric softness and starched rigidity – but far from paper-thin – it might also contrast the building’s historic output with an
attire attitude of integrity.