How COVID-19 Prompted Our Move Within Historic Downtown Birmingham
We are moving! Based in Birmingham, Alabama, we are relocating our office in Lakeview. Our sixteen-person design firm’s new address will be 3117 2nd Avenue South. The project, constructed by RaderMcCary Construction, is expected to be complete in mid-November of this year. This will be our fifth location in the company’s thirty-two-year history.
“Our current lease ends after the first of the year therefore this and recent remote working and a changing client landscape has allowed us to re-imagine our office experience coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic,” explains Principal, Craig Krawczyk. “Currently located in Pepper Place, we were looking for an existing building in the neighborhood with historical character, that would allow us to grow while providing a more flexible work environment.”
Having a local and national presence designing performance venues, church facilities, community centers, and facilities for non-profits such as The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army, LIVE Design Group is continuing to expand its work with office and research clients such as IPG Photonics and institutions of higher education such as The University of Alabama. The new office environment will allow the firm to continue growing with these expanding sectors of their work.
Describing the need to rethink the office responding to COVID-19, Principal, Jeff Quinn, states “While many companies are thinking about downsizing their space because of remote working due to fewer people in the office, we decided we needed to expand our square footage to allow for larger meeting rooms, more space between studio workstations, and increased places for social connectedness.”
While maintaining the historic character of the core & shell renovation, LIVE Design Group is building out the 6,000 square foot interior to be centered around the client and employee experience. Allowing for more distancing and privacy, the new build-out will incorporate “Zoom Rooms,” “Phone Booths,” and a collaborative “War Room,” with the open office plan of a typical design firm. The addition of a large employee & client lounge, indoor recreation space, and covered outdoor patio will create unique opportunities for employees and visitors to build relationships.
“In a time when many have been working from home, we want to find better ways to bring our employees and clients back together, not just to work, but to hang out and be around each other. With COVID-19, we have lost the social aspect of being in the office. We feel the chemistry that is built by spending time together in the same place is a large part of our success. We invite our clients into our studio for day long design sessions and want to provide a place that feels like home. More like a creative retreat than an office, inviting, un-intimidating, laid back, and comfortable, we hope this new space will welcome and engage our visitors in a way they were not expecting, “explains Krawczyk.
The centerpiece of the project will be an immersive, high-tech, Creative Suite to accommodate the firms’ well-known LIVE Design Sessions. Building upon emerging technologies, LIVE Design Group will use this room to expand its real time design process, incorporating immersive projection, augmented reality, and virtual reality experiences.
“COVID-19 has changed the way we think about how we want to work, with each other, and with our clients, engineers, and contractors,” says Principal Jonathan Perry. “We are excited about the possibilities this new location will bring to the quality of services and design experiences we can offer to our clients.”