Steelcase WorkLife DC by BLDGS Architecture: 2020 Best of Year Winner for Domestic Showroom

Photography by Bruce Damonte.

The line between office and hospitality is particularly blurred at the 10,600-square-foot showroom, which occupies two floors of a Penn Quarter high-rise. The client, a giant in workplace interiors, furniture, and systems, aimed to present its commitment to holistic environments through a mix of reception, lounge, and desk areas. To delineate between those spaces, BLDGS spliced up the open floor plan with diagonal walls of steel plate or tempered clear glass—all a 1/2-inch thick—then built immersive passageways through them. Wrapped in deep red or warm orange Designtex felt, the soft thresholds juxtapose the hard walls—a play in contrasts of opacity, materials, and acoustics. A central staircase takes the form of a vertical threshold: Blue felt covers the underside of the steps on the lower floor, leading to a rectangular steel-plate guardrail on the upper. The shifting spaces seem to fold into one another, creating a dynamic setting showcasing the wide product range.

Photography by Bruce Damonte.
Photography by Bruce Damonte.

Project team: David Yocum; Brian Bell; Leeland McPhail

> See the full list of winners and honorees from Best of Year 2020