LOTH Columbus revamped its office to make the working space double as a product showroom.
LOTH has reimagined its office. Its building, which juts up against Grandview avenue, has been LOTH’s Columbus home since 2008. Pre-renovation, the space included a traditional showroom and a separate space for LOTH employees. With its renovation, the office furniture supply and business support services company combined both uses, moving away from the traditional showroom model. “We [now] call it our Grandview work studio,” says LOTH’s Columbus president, Jason Lawler.
The renovation included a newly-designed interior with changes in wall placement for straighter lines of foot-traffic. Employees also were asked to work in a new way—they became organized differently (they used to sit within their various disciplines, now they sit in groups determined by vertical market). Perhaps the biggest change is the elimination of the showroom: Now employees use furniture that also is for sale, creating a living laboratory to show different pairings and uses of its offerings to customers. According to Lawler, “We wanted to take our associates through the process that we take our clients through. It was really great because it was intended [for them] to have a deeper understanding for what is it that we do.”
The natural walkway weaving throughout the space takes one by a smaller, more modern reception desk, past a room called the “den” that exemplifies a nontraditional conference space, to a kitchen/living room space with a sketch of the Columbus skyline done by a Cleveland art student. It also meanders back into shared office seating, next to an alternative to actual walls—a space enclosed with gauzy curtains, along a row of conference rooms with layouts ranging from traditional to nontraditional and a respite room with low lighting. In the back of the building are lined private pods for focused work, along with a sign asking for no noise. Following the path around a loop and back to the front will take you past the “patio”—actually an indoor space with plants and furniture that give it an outdoorsy vibe. Lawler says that, although they did want an outdoor space, the layout and position of the building won’t support one.
The space is highly intentional because of all the roles it needs to play. Kyla Burns, the creative lead at LOTH Columbus, says, “We had to look at the space with very different lenses—how are we going to use it and how are our customers going to see it and how are our salespeople going to sell it?”
LOTH leadership says that all the changes came as a result of sessions held with associates to discover their wants and needs. Burns says that the company sits down with every client to do the exact same thing. “We made sure we didn’t skip the steps [we take with clients] just because it was our own house,” she says. Those sessions led to three solvable problems—privacy, technology and using the space as a selling tool.
“As a designer we love that,” says Brittany Djoice, the director of workplace design and coordination. “We want to have a problem.”
Near the kitchen is a wall with scraps of fabric, photos and notes. It represents LOTH’s creative process for its new space. It is left on the wall to show clients that the company went through its own design process to create the space they are standing in.
“We’re really proud of how it all came together,” Lawler says.