Morgan Hill, CA
Case Study: Paramit Corporation
Transparency with Confidentiality
Creating a new office for Paramit Corporation presented a paradox that is emblematic of contemporary office design: the desire for a working environment with attractive, open, collaborative space, and the need for confidentiality and privacy. They resolved this seeming conflict by creating flexible, changeable spaces using an opening glass wall with enhanced privacy features from NanaWall Systems.
Paramit performs engineering and design services for medical device manufacturers. After the staff size tripled in five years, they needed more space. They embraced relocation as an opportunity to redefine the company culture and enhance the collaborative atmosphere.
At the same time, they needed to maintain confidentiality while working for diverse clients. A visiting client must not be able to glimpse work being done for other clients, or even know who the other clients are. They were also finding that, in parallel with the benefits of collaboration, their working environments needed the option of privacy and freedom from distraction.
“Maximizing the space was something we could only have done with a NanaWall system,” says Habitec design director Karolina Glinka.
Paramit’s new office design, a tenant improvement in an existing L-shaped space, was created by Habitec Architecture and Design of San Jose, CA. Lab spaces are located on one leg of the L, offices on the other. Common spaces such as the reception area, coffee bar, boardroom, cluster around the crux of the L. Habitec design director Karolina Glinka relates that the overall goal was “to make it feel open and inviting, fresh and contemporary.” There was a strong focus on presenting a high level of design in the common areas – the Lobby and Boardroom – which she describes as “the core of the space.”
The boardroom is a central feature. “As clients and prospects come in,” explains Habitec Vice President, Project Manager Jorge Romero, “the most important space for making an impression is the lobby and boardroom. Only after that do they get walked through labs, then the design area.” Paramit’s Vice President of Engineering for Product Development, Joe Carter, describes it as “our premiere meeting room.”
“For the boardroom to be used as not just as a boardroom,” explains Glinka, “we needed something to open up the space, to be used as an all-hands space for the entire company.”
“Figuring out implementation using the NanaWall system,” continues Romero, “was crucial to giving them that flexibility.”
The boardroom is walled on two sides by a NanaWall HSW75 opening glass wall. At 52 feet long, it is the longest NanaWall system Habitec has ever specified. The single-track sliding system allows panels to glide easily around the corner, providing a smooth transformation from closed room to open space. It incorporates a swing-door panel in the middle of the long side.
When closed, the room can seat 18 around the table, and host a meeting with privacy. The frameless glass walls feature a frosted privacy band from knee height to shoulder level, providing visual screening of anyone seated inside, yet maintaining a strong sense of transparency. “That really allows us to have the confidentiality or the privacy needed,” confirms Paramit Design president Rob Lathop. “When people are walking by, they know a meeting’s going on, but they can’t see any of the detailed information. And yet we can still get all the light in. We feel like it’s still an open space.” The closed configuration also provides good acoustical privacy.
When fully opened, the boardroom blends seamlessly into a much larger area, capable of hosting all-hands-on meetings and social events. Karolina Glinka also points out that in its open condition, it can be used for small drop-in meetings. The designers strove to bring daylight into the office, not only in the glass-walled boardroom, but throughout. Individual offices all have an interior glass window, so light penetrates the space.
The new office has been successful in its goals, creating the openness the company sought yet still allowing better, less distracting workspaces and a strong “first impression” area anchored by the boardroom. That space has proved popular for small company meetings when it is not pre-empted by meetings with prospects and clients. Karolina Glinka believes that, “Maximizing the space was something we could only have done with a NanaWall system.”