20|20 Research: New Headquarters Renovation
A Hip New Office in a Historic Locale
The breakroom promotes interaction and team building, and is an enjoyable amenity for employees. Moving into the Frost Building has brought new life to a nearly abandoned corridor, attracting new clients and top-tier talent to 20|20 Research.-Photo by Nicholas McGinn
Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, with additional offices in Miami, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, 20|20 Research is a worldwide leader in traditional and online qualitative research. Founded in 1986, the company is now considered one of the most innovative and technologically advanced firms in their industry. Spurred by continual growth, the firm made plans to relocate its home office to a larger building in a more centralized, urban setting. 20|20’s search led them to the historic Frost Building, located in the heart of downtown Nashville.
“Once the client outgrew their existing headquarters, they looked to downtown Nashville for a place where they could stretch out and accommodate further growth,” says Jack Weber, senior interior designer and principal-in-charge on the project. “Being in an urban setting and part of downtown activities infuses renewed vitality into the company environment, which they were missing in their old setting.”
20|20’s previous facility lacked adequate space, aesthetic appeal, and sufficient accommodations and amenities for employees, clients and on-site focus groups. The client desired a more organized and efficient workspace with a more vibrant environment to attract and retain top-tier talent.
“At the client’s old office, the front lobby was too small and enclosed to accommodate all the people who filtered in for focus groups,” explains project designer Mary Raccuglia. “The back side of the office, including the focus-group space, was very dark with no access to daylight, and the workspace was cramped with little wayfinding or efficient organization. They were really bursting at the seams.”
Room to Breathe & Focus
The new 20|20 Research headquarters at the Frost Building comprises five stories and approximately 38,000 rentable square feet. The company took occupancy of the upper four floors and subleased the first floor. A key area of 20|20’s business is the facilities floor—the main attraction for clients and on-site focus groups.
“20|20 hosts clients and focus groups for extended periods of time, so the environment has a big impact on client satisfaction,” says Raccuglia. “When they sought us out to renovate the new space, they expressed that the aesthetic needed to match their standing in the industry.”
Located on the second floor, the facilities area has an elongated reception desk that provides ample space to greet and process arriving and departing focus-group participants. Participants wait in a spacious lounge equipped with bench seating for flexible capacity. Once focus groups are stationed in one of a variety of meeting rooms, clients observe and collect data in adjoining viewing rooms that were outfitted for comfort during long research sessions.
“The facilities floor is all about flow and function,” explains Raccuglia. “We paid a lot of attention to the space’s intended use to allow ample room for reception and easy flow in and out. Clients don’t want to interact with the participants for privacy reasons, which is hard to avoid if your space is too cramped and unorganized.”
Floors three through five house 20|20’s open office space for executives, IT, recruiting, administration, sales and online focus groups. Collaborative spaces interspersed throughout each floor create points of impromptu conversation, and privacy enclaves in the open circulation space provide small havens for clients or focus-group participants.
“The new office is more integrated with workstations and intermittent openings for collaboration,” says Raccuglia. “Through the wide, central corridor and circulation areas, we carved out spaces to give staff members reasons to get up and move, and provided alternative ways for people to work together.”
Open, Spacious & Modern
Beyond its improved utility, the upgraded space has a much more appealing ambiance for employees, clients and visitors. While 20|20 Research’s previous office had no access to daylight, the new open office space streams with natural light.
GS&P focused all open workspace and offices in areas along exterior windows on the front and sides of the building so that all employees would have access to optimal daylight right at their desks. Some collaborative spaces are also in the peak daylight zone, while others are centrally located in the main circulation area. Breakrooms and storage closets fill the areas that have less access to daylight.
“They came from such a dark space that the natural light throughout the new space is the first thing that staff and visitors comment on,” notes Weber. “While they do have more space in the new office, the daylight makes it feel even more open.”
Because of the historic nature of the building’s architecture, floors are shaped in long rectangles and feature “marching” columns that run the length of the space. Rather than seeing these supports as a hindrance, the design team accentuated them with bold accent colors and allowed the columns to delineate between open offices and collaborative spaces.
“We used the electric green of their logo throughout the interior design to create consistency with their brand,” says Raccuglia. “We also offered a graphic package with bright colors and clean, straightforward design, including motifs that pulled in details from the Corinthian columns outside. The graphics offer clear wayfinding and tie together the historic exterior with the modern interior. Some of those details have been incorporated, and others will be implemented in the future.”
To keep within budget, GS&P used simple materials and bright accent colors to make a big impact on the space without incurring excess expense.
“We used reclaimed wood for the accent walls, low-VOC paint on the interior surfaces, and efficient mechanical and electrical systems to adhere to regulations on energy consumption,” says Raccuglia. “The natural daylight also helps for daytime energy. The material selections, such as paint and simple wood accents, also helped steward their budget intentions wisely.”
At the previous headquarters, panels, desks and chairs were mismatched and pieced together. Thanks to smart fiscal decisions, the design team was able to choose all new furniture, which greatly added to the office’s aesthetic appeal.
“The transformation has had a profound impact on employee well-being since it’s such a stark change from where they were before,” says Raccuglia. “The client has reported that new spaces like the breakroom have also promoted a lot of team building and positive social interaction among staff members.”
For the breakroom, the design team selected stool-height tables and chairs, dining tables, booth-style lounge seating, and a built-in desk surface in front of windows facing the city, providing a variety of seating choices.
“The breakroom has been a big hit,” says Raccuglia. “It invites people to stop in and have lunch or grab coffee. Every time I’m over there I see people meeting over lunch or casually hanging out, talking about business or just taking a break. The client holds company meetings in that area, too, so it’s very well utilized.”
A Growing Company in a Burgeoning City
Juxtaposing a historic façade and first-floor lobby with a modern, vibrant interior, the new 20|20 Research headquarters serves to better accommodate not only existing staff and clientele, but also planned expansion. The firm plans to create 96 new jobs over the next four years, which will be a boon to the local economy.
“The Frost Building is on a street that was all but abandoned for some time,” notes Weber. “Moving into this historic structure is bringing life to the business district and helping to perk up that corridor.”
“A local coffee shop reported that their sales had doubled in the last six months, with a good portion of that increase coming from regulars who work at 20|20 nearby,” adds Raccuglia.
Successfully adhering to an aggressive design schedule, the entire interior renovation was planned and executed in approximately eight months. 20|20 Research’s headquarters now has a modern, eclectic interior that captures the company’s unique strengths as well as the vibe of a city very much on the move.
“Nashville definitely has a buzz about it that has attracted a lot of investment, and this project is a prime example,” says Raccuglia.
With its ample work and meeting space, and a fresh, contemporary décor that captures the company’s spirit and prestige, the new company headquarters will better serve to attract the best and the brightest from Nashville’s ever-growing talent pool. The renovation has already helped the client attract high-level hires and new business—crucial components of long-term success.
“Our new location has been very beneficial in attracting new clients—it’s more fun than our previous location,” says Robert Lunny, chief operating officer of 20|20 Research. “The positive investment in such a nice, new facility lets employees know we are in this for the long run and are building for success.”
GS&P takes pride in realizing its clients’ visions through thoughtful, intentional design.
“We listened to the client’s needs and delivered something that not only works well for them, but that they are very enthusiastic about,” says Raccuglia. “Their employees have been inviting friends and family to come see the space. It’s very gratifying to see a design come to life and be so enjoyed.”
“The 20|20 Research office is a cheery space that not only holds up to the competition but exceeds it,” concludes Weber. “Our recommendations have resulted in a tremendously different space from what they had been using. We surprised them by how well our design worked.”