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The (Design) Force Is Strong With This One: Carbonite in Boston

IA’s Boston-based design team wins IIDA New England’s People’s Choice Award at the 2015 Interior Design Awards.
Carbonite in Boston. Photo by Robert Benson.
Carbonite in Boston. Photo by Robert Benson.

A not-so-long time ago in Earth’s galaxy, IA Interior Architects’ Boston office was recognized with IIDA New England’s People’s Choice Award for its renovation of 50,000 square feet of office space for client Carbonite. As a provider of digital data recovery and cloud storage, the company’s name was gleaned from George Lucas’s cult classic The Empire Strikes Back; carbonite is the material in which Harrison Ford’s character, Hans Solo, is frozen and preserved in time. While Carbonite’s product helps keep assets in one place over an extended period, its new workplace design is the polar opposite.

Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.

“The client was reimaging who they are as a company and they needed a space that reflected the next chapter of their company,” says Katelyn Cantelli, Boston-based IA designer who worked on the project. “We designed for flexibility in the space to accommodate Carbonite as it continues to grow into its new brand, and in size.”

Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.

Prior to the move, Carbonite’s 400 employees were located across multiple floors that lacked connection. The new location brought staff together on one floor, but natural light was at a premium. The design team, which included Reetika Vijay, Paul Comeau, Sarah Brophy, and Cantelli, camouflaged the windowless northern wall with a graphic mural featuring key characters and scenes from The Empire Strikes Back. Open office spaces are located along the window line and “pods” that house conference and meeting space are configured around living rooms that feature kitchenettes and lounge space. Each living room is delineated by custom cold-rolled steel header and corner guard detailing. The final product is no moon, and it’s no space station; it’s a place Carbonite can call home.

Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.
Photo by Robert Benson.

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