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Project: CB Richard Ellis Dallas Office by HKS

HKS Commercial Interiors helps develop and execute a design plan that will serve as a prototype for future CBRE offices


Entering the Dallas office of CB Richard Ellis (CBRE), the company’s global mantra is clear. It begins at the entry, where the firm’s core values, RISE—an acronym for Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence—is integrated into the reception desk.

In 2010, the firm found its new 65,000-square-foot home for its Dallas-based business in a prime location in the Uptown District. The consolidation of three of its previous Dallas offices into one promoted the creation of a single culture.

CBRE recently employees celebrated the opening of their new office. Designed by HKS Commercial Interiors, the space is located on the seventh floor at 2100 McKinney.

Understanding the Brand
HKS Commercial Interiors was hired to not only design the interior space, but assist CB Richard Ellis internal resources in creating facility guidelines for domestic CB Richard Ellis offices.

“This process provided an intimate understanding of the messages, brand and values that CB Richard Ellis wanted to have expressed in their offices,” says Frank Effland, AIA, associate principal and senior interior designer with HKS. “We worked with CB Richard Ellis’ project management group and corporate real estate function to develop facilities guidelines, establishing metrics on sizing future real estate space, workstation sizes, design and branding messages. The Dallas project represents the prototype for future offices nationally.”

“The design has to directly speak to the company’s role of trusted partner while expressing a consistent quality of service,” Effland continues. “For employees, the space has to be an employee-centric, quality place to work that offers opportunities, promotes openness and transparency and speaks to the company’s wise stewardship of resources.”

In the new office, the elevator doors open to a map of the globe—with the CBRE logo in the center—created with etched and back-painted glass. The entry lobby, with 13-foot ceilings, features Texas shell stone and Italian marble that converge to signify the local and global partnership. “The geometry of the interlocking wall elements represent partnering and collaboration,” says Olga Acosta, RID, project manager with HKS Commercial Interiors.

As a leader in the real estate industry, CBRE is also committed to sustainability. The project, which is pursuing LEED gold certification, incorporates repurposed wood from the previous tenant. The wood ceiling in the entry is made from old baseboards, while the reception area’s wood mosaic is created from a dismantled trellis system. Wood veneer doors were also repurposed throughout the space.

"The space has to be an employee-centric, quality place to work that offers opportunities, promotes openness and transparency and speaks to the company’s wise stewardship of resources.”
Frank Effland, AIA, associate principal and senior interior designer with HKS
Navigating the Zones
The office is broken into three zones. “The client-focused zone (reception and primary conference rooms) has an international character,” says Effland. “The employee-based zone supports collaboration. And, the intermediate zone features the Café RISE, which is used for a variety of social and business gatherings.”

A collection of Dallas skyline photography, hosting images from 1929 to current day, is displayed in the client zone. Another signature public piece is the company timeline. Printed on a stainless steel plate, which is encased in acrylic, the piece features CB Richard Ellis’ history from 1906 paralleled by significant Dallas milestones over the same timeframe.

The Americas board room, one of the largest of the company’s conference rooms, features a white Vibia Ameba, an organic, free form fixture that reflects off the 22-seat, black granite conference table. The other conference rooms—which are equally as contemporary and welcoming—include the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) and Asian Pacific (APAC).

Since studies show that natural light boosts staff productivity and satisfaction, the building is designed to provide 90 percent of employees with direct views to the outdoors. In addition to natural daylighting, the space is designed with a crisp, white, clean appearance. Interior brick veneer facades also provide a warm, comfortable feel for employees. Knoll products are the furniture of choice throughout the space.

“Most of the office spaces are open workstations, with the exception of 10 interior offices,” says Effland. “To allow closed door meetings, more than 20 conferencing breakout rooms are offered. A warm but substantial color palette of soft colors, including blue, gold, brick and green tones, identify these spaces. Coffee bars are located throughout the floor to create informal areas for collaboration.”

Open collaboration is also promoted by adding more than 1,200-square-feet of lounge areas. Two outdoor patio spaces are available for outdoor meetings and after-hours events. These areas feature stunning views to Woodall Rodgers Park and the Arts District, as well as an array of Trammell Crow-developed buildings on the Dallas skyline.

The third zone hosts the Café RISE. The café is a multifunctional space that serves as a meeting or community spot by day, an eatery at lunch and a high-energy gathering spot after hours.

According to Michael Caffey, managing director of CB Richard Ellis, “We’ve found that employees really love coming to work. Many are even bringing family members to show off their new workspace. This says a lot about the office environment.”