Cambridge Consultants is an innovative product development and technology consulting company. Across many industries, they work with their clients to understand their business needs and apply technology to find them a solution. As both designers and engineers, Cambridge Consultants' previous office did not allow them to convey the breadth of their services and areas of expertise to potential clients. The design team was engaged to help them create a new space that reflects the firm's philosophy towards product development and showcases the range and scope of their work. The space needed to communicate to their clients that they would not simply advise them but also deliver a working product.
A major goal of the project was bringing the firm's engineering and prototyping work more to the forefront to better engage employees and visitors in the process of making. The design concept of "hard/soft" is manifested in the architectural design through the integration of engineering/technology spaces and open, creative, and collaborative environments. By balancing the use of transparent and opaque materials, deep views are created into and throughout the variety spaces while preserving client confidentiality. In plan, the space is accordingly "half open/half closed" – closed in the technical environments and open throughout the workspace and conference areas.
Sasaki's design team engaged Cambridge Consultants in an inclusive design process—which is similar to how they work with their clients—to address the needs for the space. At the beginning of the process the design team kicked off with a workshop to help define the cultural values of the company. This allowed the team to realize the values and key drivers for the project which were then translated into planning and design solutions. The rigorous and efficient process resulted in a space that is truly representative of Cambridge Consultants.
The ambitious design goals were contrasted by an aggressive budget and tight schedule. In order to accomplish the total project schedule of seven months (three months for design and documentation) the design team needed to reimagine the design process. For four weeks the design team met in the client's office twice a week for four-to-six-hour design sessions with the client. This commitment by both designers and Cambridge Consultants enabled all parties to reach quick consensus in the design.