As an industry leader responsible for advocating for the advancement of the design profession and communicating the impact of design on the human experience, the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) had tall orders when relocating its headquarters in Washington, D.C., last year. It needed to send a clear message that design matters to its membership, the A&D industry, and the general public—and that it is most impactful when grounded in research.
“For the interior designers themselves, it’s a critical message that ASID is delivering on their behalf to say that design matters to their clients,” explained Randy Fiser, CEO of ASID. “So we are really pushing the conversation of why design matters and why their services as interior designers matter to the larger community, to their clients. From an organizational standpoint as a whole—and a detail that really demonstrates ASID’s leadership within the profession—is that we are pushing the boundaries of design; we are the place to come for research and knowledge and to look for the future of where design is going, and that we have that voice for all sectors of design and the industry as a whole.”
To that end, ASID tasked Perkins+Will with the dual goal of achieving Platinum Certification for the project under both the LEED CI and WELL Building Standard rating systems, aiming to create a living laboratory for the “Office of the Future” where collaboration, flexibility, sustainability, and occupant well-being are primary design drivers.
“The new ASID Headquarters is leading the way in creating a workplace that is both good for the environment and good for people,” said Ken Wilson, principal in Perkins+Will’s Washington, D.C., office. “Sustainability and health are intertwined, and the design of this space focuses on attaining the highest levels of both.”
Materials and furniture specified for the project were rigorously evaluated to eliminate substances that could potentially contribute to negative health effects, where possible, in compliance with ASID’s health and sustainability goals. Products with Health Product Declarations, Declare labels, or Cradle to Cradle certification make up most of the material specifications, and all furniture on the project has one of those designations or is certified under the BIFMA Level standard.
The headquarters houses 8,500 square feet of innovation supported by research that ties improvements in health and wellness with organizational metrics of engagement, retention, and productivity. Key design elements—such as the space’s real-time dashboard of environmental attributes, weave innovation, technology, and nature-based design—come together to create a space that conveys the core principles of LEED. The office includes biophilic design strategies that utilize natural elements to reduce stress and increase air quality, meet stringent water quality standards, and employ a lighting system developed to expand efficiency by helping to regulate the body’s physiological processes, or circadian rhythms.
Employees have no assigned seats, but rather select from a variety of workplace environments based on what best supports their specific tasks that day. Spaces range from highly collaborative teaming areas to more heads-down, focused sections. Employees can reserve spaces for a few hours, or a day, through a room reservation system that is integrated into ASID’s software.
According to Fiser, post-occupancy data collected since the headquarters’ opening last May revealed that the space is performing at “Best in Class” in terms of health factors including light levels, indoor air quality, and acoustical levels, as well as performance metrics for productivity, engagement, and retention. ASID plans to publish white papers and reports on its website (asid.org) detailing the goals and results of how the space continues to perform over time. The Association also invites the design community to come tour its new facility—including 1,000 square feet dedicated to an innovative materials library—to demonstrate to designers and their clients alike what’s possible when design and research are combined.
“We knew through research that sustainability and health, wellness, and well-being were critical ties to accomplishing through space design the outcomes of engagement, retention, and productivity,” Fiser said. “So we set a lofty goal for ourselves to ensure that our environment that we created for our employees would improve those elements, and that we’d measure and create those documents to see whether or not we were successful in doing that.”
Based on the evidence collected so far, it’s clear that ASID has succeeded in raising the bar for the industry and setting an example for its members to follow in the years ahead.
Conference rooms and private huddle rooms are outfitted with Interface carpet tiles in Atlantic blue.
Acoustical ceiling tiles from Armstrong provide noise abatement, feature generous recycled content, and are free of Red List materials to help meet both LEED and WELL requirements.
The Setu Chair from Herman Miller adorns focus rooms and private huddle rooms,
and is BIFMA level 3, C2C Bronze, and GREENGUARD certified.
Clear ½-inch-thick tempered glass throughout the space allows light penetration and sight lines.
A white ½-inch backpainted glass wall provides a clean canvas for ASID’s logo that greets guests in the entry vestibule.
The eye-catching, geometric Q5 bench from Davis greets guests in the entry vestibule (shown upholstered in Textus’ Chant fabric in Daffodil).
The elegant Ginko chair from Davis is shown in high back with an upholstered seat, and is BIFMA level 1 and SCS IAQ Gold certified.
The Eleven table by OFS features a polished aluminum base and a wood, rectangular top with contrasting infill between boards to highlight the live edge and provide a flush writing surface.
The collaboration area features a backpainted glass surface that doubles as a whiteboard.
All furnishings and finishes were rigorously evaluated, including this bookcase which is both BIFMA level 3 and GREENGUARD certified.
These 6-inch by 12-inch ceramic tiles are C2C Silver certified and contain 22 percent pre-consumer/post-industrial recycled content.
With a published HPD and multiple certifications from C2C, NSF, and CRI, Shaw’s Analog carpet tile was a natural fit for the project.
The design team selected a round Eames table for private huddle rooms, which is both BIFMA level 1 and GREENGUARD certified.
plastic laminates (cabinets)
The cabinets in the café bar area feature plastic laminate from Nevamar, which holds an HPD.
These bright tiles add a pop of color in the café area, and are third-party certified.
desk + storage system
The Elective Elements line from Steelcase in clear maple allows for flexibility without compromising environmental or human health.
HBF’s Carlyle wood barstool is upholstered in Berhardt textiles, and is BIFMA level 1and SCC IAQ Gold certified.
Laminate was specified for the café bar for its durability and use of an HPD.
The Tre barstool with upholstered seat pad adds an elegant touch to the casual café space.
The Gesture chair from Steelcase is inspired by human movement and boasts multiple third-party certifications.
Sherwin-Williams’ ProMar paint emits no VOCs and is GREENGUARD Gold certified for indoor air quality.
Carpet tiles by Shaw are constructed of 100-percent Eco Solution Q nylon, and are 100-percent recyclable.
Photography by Eric Laignel