|There are a number of components that help create effective, productive workplaces, from natural lighting to a close-knit, hardworking team. However, for some reason, office decor often seems to be forgotten when companies try to focus and promote their brand. Fortunately, this seems to be changing: a number of prominent businesses have begun working to make their offices not only productive but enjoyable spaces. Google, for example, offers its employees gourmet food and creatively-designed game rooms, maintaining that staff happiness is better for the corporation as a whole. Now, a New England clothing retailer has become the latest to take up this challenge, creating a new office that is as on-brand as its products.Founded in Martha’s Vineyard, MA in 1998, Vineyard Vines has become known for promoting the preppy, nautical-inspired aesthetic that is now synonymous with New England culture. Their new Connecticut office is no exception: with a waterfront view and an open floor plan, the building itself was a natural fit for the company’s brand. However, the company’s CEO and co-founder, Ian Murray, says that Vineyard Vines was aiming for more than just a consistent image.
“One of our goals was to allow employees to truly experience the ‘Every Day Should Feel This Good’ way of life,” Murray said in an interview with Town and Country. “We’re so proud to offer Vineyard Vines employees a waterfront location, spacious new floor plan, creatively designed common areas, and a host of modern amenities with this new space.”
But the term “creatively designed spaces” doesn’t properly capture just how dedicated the office is to the company’s brand identity. Featuring furniture, art and wall coverings devised by the Vineyard Vines team, every floor in the building has a different island theme: the second floor was inspired by the Florida Keys, the third is designed after the Bahamas, and the fourth hearkens back to the company’s roots in Martha’s Vineyard. However, the theme is apparent as soon as you walk into the lobby: the floor is covered with thin slats of wood, reminiscent of the deck of a yacht, and the reception desk has been crafted to look like the back of one of these luxurious ships as well.
The rest of the office continues this nautical theme: against backgrounds of white beadboard, horizontal navy-and-white stripes, wallpaper covered with cartoon fish and natural woods, a number of carefully-chosen decorations bring the ocean indoors. Pastel-colored lobster traps, printed paddle boards, wooden boats adorn the walls, illuminated by worn metal lanterns and other lights that look like they were taken straight from a cargo ship. Meanwhile, hanging wicker hammock chairs and a cabana-inspired break room contribute to the building’s preppy, relaxed vibe. Indeed, the most normal feature of the office are its commercial window treatments, which are simple white shades. But even this choice adds to Vineyard Vines’ simple, clean aesthetic while adding an important benefit: window treatments help prevent heat loss and solar damage, making them especially helpful during the summer months for keeping air conditioning inside while simultaneously preventing heat or UV rays from entering the building.
Outside, the office is conveniently located near a boat slip, and Vineyard Vines says it plans to offer employees kayaks and paddle boards to use during the summer. Similar to Google’s use of video games, pool tables and green spaces, this approach is in line with a number of studies that show that access to natural influences and recreation can help improve productivity. But the carefully-designed office could be even more valuable over time: the beautiful space will likely help the company attract and retain employees, for example, while also inspiring the staff to create a consistent brand identity. There’s presently no way to tell how profitable this approach will be in the long run, but one question still remains: is Vineyard Vines hiring?
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