April 28, 2020 – HEI Hotels & Resorts recently engaged our services to assist them in creating a new look and culture with a corporate interior renovation project at their existing offices at Merritt 7 in Norwalk. As a company that manages hotel assets, HEI had a goal to create an office with an aesthetic similar in look and feel to their hotel environments. Along with transforming the existing office space to make it more efficient, they also had a goal to provide their employees with additional meeting and collaboration areas as well as a place to relax and have fun.

Our solution was to activate the office by centrally locating a getaway they labeled as the “Hive” to provide a place for all staff to relax, dine, and play games while adding vibrancy to the office. A combination of seating types provides options to the staff, including a counter with bar height stools, soft seating for break-out meetings, and recreation areas. The “Hive” provides employees with additional spaces for meetings, collaboration, and perhaps a game of chess or a ping-pong match. A polished concrete floor with open ceilings, specialty lighting, and painted infrastructure enhance this experience.

First impressions are a priority in the hospitality industry and so the HEI experience begins the moment you exit the elevator and enter their offices. To enhance the existing entry, we wrapped the painted tapered columns with a linear fluted vinyl wall covering and also wrapped the wood veneer soffit with a textured vinyl wall covering. The addition of an all-glass entry that opens into the lobby provides a view that stretches through the reception area all the way into the “Hive.” A soft seating area featuring a new focal wall was added as part of the rebranding of this new entrance experience.

To accommodate guests or conduct interviews, a meeting room was added adjacent to the reception area, preventing the need for guests to traverse through the suite. We continued the glass façade across the front of the meeting room to add to the welcoming component and added a frosted film applique to the glass sidelight for privacy from the multi-tenanted elevator lobby.

HEI also aimed to increase density while enlivening the open office space. To accomplish this goal we reorganized the open office, reduced the workstations from 7’x8’ to 6’x6’, and consequently added 19 workstations. All furniture panels were lowered for more visibility, to increase natural light, and to promote collaboration while creating a much more vibrant open office. To further energize the open office, the existing carpet was removed in its entirety and replaced with luxury vinyl tile plank flooring to simulate wood – flooring that matches the specification used in their hotel rooms.

Shortly after HEI’s major office renovations were complete, they retained our services again to assist with the design of an additional 4,500 SF off the northeast corner of the “Hive.” Openings were added to each side of the “Hive” for direct access into the expansion space, which featured the same level of finishes to match the recently completed interior renovations and maintain a cohesive office. Acquiring this space and creating these multiple access points further contributed to the “Hive” becoming the central hub of the entire office space, simulating a beehive of activity.

HEI maintained full operations through construction resulting in a multi-phased construction project. We worked closely with the contractor and HEI to determine the extent of the five construction phases and duration of displacement. During all design phases for both projects that totaled over 20,000 SF, we worked in conjunction with HEI’s in-house hotel decorator to create a level of materials, lighting, and finishes to meet HEI’s brand standards.