Thursday, February 14, 2013

More Than Just Cool Space

What were you doing the Friday before Mardi Gras weekend?  Well, if you were me, you were touring office space.  Don't ask, but yes, that what I was workers were running from office buildings with drinks in hand.  Hey, I serve my clients and friends well. I'm dedicated.  yeah, let's go with that.

However, I was fortunate to catch an architectural throw of sorts.  While it didn't come from a float, this little treat was actually inside of another, larger architectural package.  The Maritime Building, located at Carondelet and Common is part of the growing trend of transformations from office buildings to residential uses.  This trend was started a while back, however, it continues to be strong and growing, a sign of predictions made long ago.

As part of the spin off from this resurgence is ancillary uses such as restaurants, coffee shops, retail, parking garages, etc.  However, the office need has not totally disappeared.  People still work, that's how they pay for those new residential units.  But the average office has certainly changed, it has evolved, and what it now looks like is beta.

Beta New Orleans is a collaborative work space environment for the professional, start-up or part-time space user.  While it has the basics; fax, copy, mail, it also has the high tech, wireless, google TV, broadband.  And of course the amenities, pool, gym, Merchant Coffee, are a great escape and a must see. 

The online capabilities are something you don't find in similar spaces.  The iPhone interface, which allows you to reserve the conference room, make request, and most importantly: pay rent,  really defines the essence of this space. 

We operate differently in an office environment today.  We need those intangibles that make life easier and help us operate smoothly.  And the binding element for all of these components comes down to "design". 

Design is always overlooked, its just considered a finishing touch, something that makes a space "pop".  That may be true for a make over show, but when you are in a space everyday, working, creating, moving and shaking, you are affected by design. It is that intangible that can inspire and motivate you, creates a feeling inside of you that pushes you to think harder, dream bigger.  And that is what beta did for me. 

When you walk in, the bright colors and natural light wake the senses.  The high end cappuccino doesn't hurt either.  The lounge area rivals any boutique hotel or slick modern lobby.  The modern translucent corrugated office wall panels allow the muted light to softly cover the interior of the office spaces, while the work stations have views through the curved original windows of this historic and iconic New Orleans building. 

This space represents the old and the new.  It's truly like looking through a window into the past.  As we were there, looking down through those windows, a marching club of men in suits led by a brass band, pass by headed to the quarter, as they have done for decades.  Some things never change.

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