The Magnet: DLR Group’s Office Interior of the Future

December 09, 2014


Dubbed “the Magnet,” DLR Group envisions a workplace that will actively draw people together in a hub of social energy, where employees and visitors encounter a high-activity zone staffed by a concierge and an “IT barista” who will help them use the facility.

  • Within the Magnet, space is organized intentionally, with high-activity areas toward the center of the floor plan and individual and small-team spaces at each end.
  • Reservations for space — from formal meeting rooms to an individual work bench — will be managed through a company app.
  • “Team Hives” can be reserved for special projects and for long-term use by departments, and “Privacy Hives” feature ergonomic furniture with noise-cancelling technologies for focused work.
  • Glass partitions controlled by a handheld device can display personalized images or work programs.

Undulating outer walls around each Team and Privacy Hive area connect them visually, while also minimizing disruption by workers walking to appointed the “Quiet Zones.” To optimize daylighting opportunities, regularly occupied spaces are located around the building perimeter. The main productivity zone gives seated employees the greatest connectivity to outside views.

Artificial lighting throughout the Magnet tracks available daylight, using sensors and automatic dimming to provide high levels of visual comfort and reduce energy use. All desks are equipped with Philips Hue “smart bulb” task lighting. Overhead, CoeLux light panels mimic skylights and emulate natural sunlight.

A dedicated outside air system that supplies ventilation to the interior workspace while satisfying any additional heating and cooling loads with strategically placed biowalls and fan cooling units is employed, with philodendrons are planted directly into air filters in the biowalls and automatically watered by a hydroponic loop. Air is drawn in through the filter to the return plenum and also directed back out to the occupied space. These so-called “O2 factories” are intended to improve indoor air quality, save energy and provide a calming ambiance by bringing nature into the office.

Three winners of NAIOP’s 2014 Interior Design/Build-Out of the Future competition – Dekker/Perich/Sabatini in Albuquerque, New Mexico; DLR Group in Chicago; and Ware Malcomb in Irvine, California – presented their concepts during a special session at NAIOP’s Development ’14 conference in Denver.

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About NAIOP: NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial, retail and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP comprises 20,000 members in North America. NAIOP advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy. For more information, visit

Kathryn Hamilton