M1DTW Architects

M1DTW Architects

Detroit, MI


Bloomscape HQ

Bloomscape HQ The building that ultimately became home to Bloomscape was well on its way to its second act when our client first walked through the space. At that time, the former grocery store was being transformed into a mixed-use development with three open-air courtyards that were going to connect 8 apartments and 3 office spaces. After Bloomscape rejected several smaller spaces, the building’s developer walked us through the raw shell and simply said: ‘why don’t you take it all?” Cue the third act…

Bloomscape is a Detroit-based company whose mission is to transform people’s relationship with plants. They make it easy to buy plants online and have them shipped directly to your home in specially designed boxes. They commissioned us to transform the interior of the modified structure into a workspace that could deliver a dynamic range of work and meeting spaces while providing a strong connection to the outdoors.

The design of the 12,000 SF building provides Bloomscape a workspace that complements the company’s values and provides employees with a range of spaces and environments that foster productivity, engagement, and well-being.

Within the high-bay spaces of the building, the design and placement of two interior volumes create meeting rooms, focus rooms, and phone booths while simultaneously creating service spaces as well as a breakout nomad lounge that overlooks the north courtyard. This economic deployment of material creates or defines a wide range of spaces within a limited footprint. The placement of these volumes also ensures the courtyards are highly visible and accessible to everyone while providing multiple circulation pathways throughout the interior.

These enclosed spaces are complemented by other zones conceived of as ‘soft’ lounges. Defined by tall ripstop nylon curtains, these spaces can be reconfigured and redefined depending on the needs of Bloomscape’s employees. When the curtains are closed, they provide employees with informal lounge and meeting spaces with some degree of visual and acoustic privacy. Alternatively, the curtains can be opened and the furniture relocated to free up floor space for special events and gatherings.

The careful positioning of these fixed and flexible areas brings natural light to every space and operable windows and sliding doors, originally intended for the apartments, provide the added benefit of natural breezes during temperate months. Given the thermal dynamics within the high-bay spaces, destratification fans were specified in order to recirculate conditioned air thereby reducing energy use while maintaining comfort, with the added benefit of ambient white noise.

The south facing perimeter windows are covered with a lightweight aluminum mesh fabric intended for use in greenhouses. The thermal shade cloth reflects the sun’s radiation while reducing solar heat gain and moderating day/night temperature. The end result is a workspace full of soft, diffuse light that exists somewhere between the industrial scale of a greenhouse and the domestic scale of the home.

Programmatic elements such as private offices, a wellness room, and meeting spaces were inserted beneath the mezzanine and provide the workspace with a contrasting density and scale that serves as a counterpoint to the lofty spaces of the high-bay zones. This richness and variety of spaces allow employees to find work zones that complement their individual work styles and needs.

The mezzanine level primarily consists of a large board room that overlooks one of the interior courtyards as well as an “all-hands” space that abuts a raised wood speaker platform that can be used for special events or company-wide meetings. Much of this level also provides Bloomscape with future flexibility as the company grows and its needs inevitably change.

We also designed a custom ‘Bloomscape work desk’ inspired by the sturdy base and cantilevered arms of trees and plants — a single, lightweight metal frame provides the support for birch plywood tops on either side, divided by piece of felt draped for both privacy and sound absorption. Additionally, these felt dividers are easily removed in order to create more collaborative configurations as needed.

Recognizing that how we work has changed — even prior to COVID19 — the various spaces allow for a diverse choreography of working modes, with the spaces providing three chairs for each employee.

A high percentage of the furniture specified was sourced from manufacturers around the Great Lakes, while other components were designed and fabricated locally. These components include the desks, the powder-coated steel plant holders mounted to unistrut dividers, custom millwork (the reception desk, banquette, whiteboards, and other wood dividers) as well as the locally sewn felt dividers and ripstop nylon curtains.

Location: Detroit, Michigan
Site characteristics: Existing former grocery store
Area: 12,000 sq.ft.
Construction cost: withheld at owner's request
Completion date: March 2021

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Status: Built
Location: Detroit, MI, US
Firm Role: Designer
Additional Credits: PROJECT PARTNERS
MEP Engineering: MA Engineering
Landscape Architect: D.I.R.T. Studio / Julie Bargmann
Building Shell Designer: Undecorated
Building Shell Architect-of-Record: Ianuzzi Studio
General Contractor: Jim Saad, CCM
Developer: Prince Concepts
Custom Metal Fabrication: Bloomscape Desks / Plant Holders: Universal Fabricators
Architectural Millwork: BJ Construction / Bourne Building
Specialty Metalwork: Installed by SCHMOE
Soft Lounge Curtain Sewing: Sarah Lapinski