S. LEE WRIGHT
HOLISTIC INNER DESIGNS
Inspired by an amazing sustainably focused Brooklyn based furniture maker, In. Sek Designs , I was invited to tour the recently completed Headquarters renovation for Etsy in DUMBO  New York.  The head of the Interior Design Department, Jeremy, walked us through the building while sharing the story of the renovation project. Having over a decade of experience as a project manager on multi-million dollar projects myself early on in my career, I could relate. I found Jeremy’s story both compelling as well as inspiring.  How many things have changed in the world of office interiors and workspace since the mid-1990’s!!!

nyc-view-from-roof-deck

ETSY, a business focused on community, craft and sustainability, the renovation of their new headquarters was based on the Living Building Challenge LBC and aimed for their Petal Certification which is the most advanced sustainability certification in the world to date for the built environment. This focuses on not only space itself but on the well-being of its inhabitants and the local community. Its core belief is that everything is interconnected in a very holistic manner. This makes sense since Esty is a peer-to-peer e-commerce website focused on handmade, vintage or unique items that beautify or enhance everyday life.
Their core principals are in total alignment with the same things that sustainable design includes:  connecting with the community, inspiring and supporting local artists and craftspeople, and creating an environment that enhances and does not harm the world surrounding it.
plants-on-columns
Today there seems to often be a disconnect with the core values of businesses and their spaces.  It is an interesting problem I have often faced as an Interior Architect.  If there is a disconnect, – i.e. our spaces do not honor what our intentions and core beliefs are, – we will live in non-alignment and can’t possibly live or work at our best.  I have spent my career to help people get their spaces into alignment with who they really are and to have their spaces properly function for them in that moment, versus making spaces that simply pretty.  Somehow, I have always known that it is much more than just a pretty space. I intuitively knew that being “pretty” is only skin deep, so a pretty but dysfunction space will ultimately fail in its purpose. Many businesses do suffer, and some even fail, because of this disconnect. My clients have benefited from my holistic design methodology.  http://www.sleewright.com/
I congratulate ESTY on its alignment with its core principals and it’s newly renovated space that is both beautiful, as well as sustainable.
Part of this holistic approach to design includes the well-being of its occupants, a deep connection with the community, a healthy design that includes function and beauty.  Here are a few of my favorite elements in the Etsy HQ space:
  • A living wall. Plants growing all over the place! Greenscaping is what they call it. I call it fabulous.
a living wall

a living wall

  • There is a piano in a break area to inspire music, creation, singing. All good for the soul. I simply love this idea and it is a great connector during a party. Everyone loves a sing-a-long!
A piano!

A piano!

  • Acoustical considerations in conference rooms with cool felt curtains. Both pretty and functional. We all like to have our peace and quiet and to be heard when we are speaking.
Beautiful acoustical curtains

Beautiful acoustical curtains

  • A quiet zone in a library. Love this and miss my childhood trips to the library where everyone honored the quiet space rules. In the hectic noisy world, it is important to have a Zen escape.

     

A quiet zone with greenery

A quiet zone with greenery

  • A meditation and yoga room where they have classes every week! Building a regular practice of yoga or meditation can make you more sustainable against the stress of modern living. I want one!
a yoga room

a yoga room

  • Outdoor space and connections with the outdoors. This walkway allows the staff to relate to outside even when they are inside. This makes a natural balance in our lives which is especially essential in urban environments.
Green spaces

Green spaces

  • A recycling policy that is serious. Esty has taken the health of their staff quite seriously and offers healthy meals twice a week and making sure to aim HIGH for a no waste policy.  They even give away reusable coffee cups! Simply awesome.
healthy eating options and recycling zones

healthy eating options and recycling zones

  • Creativity space. Since they are a creative company they also promote their own staff to come create in this room. Do you want to try your hand at macrame again? You can do it here!

    An art-n-crafts room

    An art-n-crafts room

  • Healthy materials and finishes. Low VOC paints, non-toxic materials, use of reclaimed materials, healthy adhesives, non-flammable upholsteries, etc. this is always a challenge as a designer, but essential for our goal of making sustainable environments the norm. Pretty spaces need to be healthy too.

    work-areas-with-standing-desks

  • LED lights throughout the design which is flexible, beautiful and they have managed to reduce their lighting costs by over 40% apparently with the use of their solar panels. That is simply amazing! Save money, make a space healthier and pretty to boot. Well done!

    Cafe with LED lights

    Cafe with LED lights

  • Locally sourced furniture. Like the wonderful company of In.Sek Design that introduced me to the Esty team. Ashira Israel shared with me that her inspiration for the future of her company was born during this project. Working with other like-minded people that care about and believe that good design and healthy design can be combined with local sources in a sustainable and fun manner was an experience she will continue to seek and aspire to.
Awesome handmade lights by In. Sek Designs!

Awesome handmade lights by In. Sek Designs!

Like Ashira and Jeremy, I believe that together we can make sustainability the NORM again. It simply takes some mindful choices and some creative thinking to make a space both pretty, function and sustainable.
 Now maybe it is time to go and check out ESTY and see what home crafts you can start now!http://www.etsy.com/
Or if you decide you need some ideas on how to align your own space with who you really are, let us know.
http://www.sleewright.com/
 #EtsyHQ #HolisticLee #ChangeYourSpace #BeTheChange #HolisticDesign #SLeeWright #FengShuiDesign