Boston, MA Underscoring the design firm’s expanding commitment to sustainable design, national architecture and interiors leader Dyer Brown has unveiled a new 18,000 s/f headquarters for repeat client Sappi North America, one of the leading producers of eco-friendly wood fiber products.
A subsidiary of the global company known for innovations with raw and processed wood fibers, Sappi reached out to Dyer Brown to redefine its workspace at 255 State St. – which Dyer Brown had previously designed over a decade ago. With ideas to slim down office space and consolidate staff areas into a single, highly functional floor with a flexible schedule, Sappi saw an opportunity to leverage both Dyer Brown’s workplace design prowess and the company’s commitment to sustainable design.
The timing couldn’t be better: Dyer Brown had just completed a visioning exercise to renew and strengthen its commitment to sustainable design – part of a trio of lenses that guide all its decisions: design first, diversity and sustainability.
Sappi asked Dyer Brown to refresh and update the HQ aesthetic to better represent its corporate culture, mission and brand image. The client also highlighted their shared interest with the design team in pursuing a healthy, environmentally sustainable and equitable outcome.
“We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Sappi for a second time,” said Dyer Brown’s Chief Sustainable Design, Laurel Christensen, AIA, WELL AP. “Their view of the importance of green design and environmental responsibility aligns perfectly with ours – in fact, we’ve learned so much working with each other.”
With Dyer Brown Project Manager Schuyler Pratt coordinating efforts, the design team pursued cost-effective and low-cost strategies that also maximize visual impact on visiting clients. Focused on areas near the entrance and reception area, including meeting rooms and an employee locker and break area, Dyer Brown introduced folding and folding walls to subdivide the rooms into collaborative spaces, combined with a predominantly neutral color palette inspired by from the brand.
At the entrance, a waiting room lined with living moss walls creates an unforgettable image of Sappi’s headquarters, reinforcing its mission and culture to staff and visitors, while the less visible design optimizes workflow and reduces material needs and energy.
The design team reused and refurbished architectural elements and furniture as much as possible, and prioritized environmentally friendly finishes, materials and components from pre-vetted manufacturers and product lines – a growing area of expertise for Dyer Brown, according to Christensen . “Our team is leading a broad effort to completely overhaul our materials library, eliminating any products that contain known risks to human health and introducing new and greener, healthier alternatives,” he said.
This consistent effort reflects Dyer Brown’s renewed, strengthened commitment to sustainable design and practice. According to Christensen, the company’s leaders have re-evaluated not only their mission but every core principle. The process led to the new trio of lenses for the company that was founded five decades ago and serve as today’s touchstone for all decision-making.
“We’ve always held sustainability as a core value, and today we see that ambition with greater focus and a broader set of tools,” said Christensen. “We love working with customers who are equally focused on green manufacturing, efficiency and passenger health goals. Now we want to aim even higher: That means pursuing more customers like Sappi who prioritize people and planet in their organizational results.”