A new page in design

Jenny Gabruch

It’s hard to miss the new headquarters of the Cayman Islands Yellow Pages.

And that’s the point.

The eye-catching office in the Woods Building on Dorcy Drive shines like a bold yellow beacon, with the company’s familiar “walking fingers” logo prominently featured.

“It really pops out,” says Philip Nadeau, senior interior designer with DDL Studio.

DDL spearheaded the project, transforming the former Woods Furniture & Design warehouse and showroom in Industrial Park into an edgy retro-modern office.

“It was a big, open space, and we kept that warehouse-industrial look – the open ceilings, ducts and concrete floors,” says Philip.

The 5,800-square-foot office has an open plan, which works well for the company’s workflow and communication, says Eileen Keens, marketing manager for Yellow Pages.

“It also generates a sense of camaraderie and teamwork,” she says. “We have noticed more interaction amongst company members as it is easier to turn to each other for assistance or collaboration.”

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Kitchen was retained from Woods Furniture & Design store.
 

Even the executives are out in the open, with their workspaces flanking each side of the main workstation area.

“We follow an open-door policy in the office whereby all staff members have direct access to senior executives without going through gatekeepers,” says Eileen.

But privacy hasn’t been overlooked. Incorporated in the design are various spaces for meetings and presentations as well as for times when staff members would like to make a call in private or just need some quiet time.

“We had an internal contest to add names to these rooms in order to give these private spaces a strong identity,” says Eileen. The spaces sport such monikers as “Entre Nous,” “Batcave,” “Idea Room,” and “The Bunker.”

Its main boardroom is called the “Shark Tank,” a sleek, modern space that’s highlighted by a semi-hexagonal sofa in funky bright greens. On the back of the sofa are desk bars for laptops or to use as a writing surface.

Glass walls, in the boardroom and other spaces, reflect the open-office concept. And, rather than drywall, the dividers between some of the rooms are removable, allowing the flexibility to re-configure the spaces or to move them to another location.
 

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CUC wire wheel serves as a table. 

This open design is not only visually appealing but cost-effective as well, says Philip.

“It makes efficient use of the space and creates a nicer environment for staff,” he says. “And it cut costs because building rooms costs more money.”

The industrial-style lighting fixtures have been lowered from the ceiling to give the space a bit more intimacy. Hexagon-shaped sound-absorbing acoustic panels help keep noise and echo to a minimum while adding a modern touch.

These ceiling elements tie in with the hexagon-shaped carpeting in the reception area that features two comfy retro-style chairs.

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Bright accent colors – green, fuchsia, blue, red, yellow and orange – add interest to the space’s dominant gray, black and neutral hues.

“We wanted to make it more fun,” says Philip. “The bright colors aren’t overpowering – there are just splashes of color here and there. It makes it more interesting.”

A number of unique touches also add interest to the space. Two discarded CUC wire wheels, for example, have been repurposed into small tables – the wooden wheels were simply painted white and topped with glass.

In the staff room area, the original showroom kitchen remains from the Woods Furniture days.

The spacious staff room is located next to the reception area and separated by a custom felt-strap divider. “It separates the reception area from the lunch area but still keeps it really open,” says Philip.

Outside, bright-yellow custom pavers sporting the company’s logo lead to the main entrance. Windows and extra lighting have been added to brighten the airy reception area.
While an open design isn’t for everyone it reflects the company culture at the Yellow Pages and its strides in reinventing itself for the mobile age.

Indeed, one of the reasons for making the move from its offices at Camana Bay to larger premises was to accommodate its growing digital team.

“Yellow Pages as a brand is evolving,” says Eileen. “We are complementing the print directory with a wide range of digital offerings and having a space which could showcase the innovation of our team was very important.

Due to our close relationship with Google, and having the opportunity to visit their offices every year, we decided to take a page straight out of their book and replicate, on a smaller scale, a fresh space that encourages interaction between its company members, communication, productivity and satisfaction.”

The revamped space also embodies the company’s motto: “Innovate, Activate and Inspire.”

“The office reflects that of a trendy boutique digital agency,” says Eileen.

“This is important as it sets a positive scene when clients visit. They see a modern, fresh, open environment which is brimming with technology in all of our meeting rooms that allow us to demonstrate our digital products in the live environment.” 
 

 

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