RICHMOND, Va. -- The 1717 Innovation Center is a contemporary reflection of its industrial neighborhood near the James River in Richmond.

The former tobacco warehouse features lofty ceilings and an open plan, resulting in a space that benefits the local community.

The 1717 Innovation Center is a multi-purpose space housing more than 50 startup companies and an office for Capital One. As a new venture for the firm, Capital One sought to build a co-working space to support and encourage innovation. In addition to a consumer testing lab, the design brief stipulated open workshop space, as Capital One teams from the West Creek campus, near Richmond, would co-locate here to focus on specific projects.

The building’s other occupant is Startup Virginia, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and growing startup companies in the Richmond area.

The building’s six floors are planned and programmed according to occupancy requirements. The first three floors, occupied by SVA, are built to accommodate participating start-ups as they develop and grow. The ground floor is made up of unassigned, open co-working space, and features a large amphitheater for SVA’s frequent presentations and programs.

The second floor allows for open, assigned team spaces, and the third floor consists of leased offices for larger companies on the verge of expanding past the accommodations of the incubator.

The sixth floor incorporates a large meeting and training room with a bar for catering and events, as well as a rooftop deck. This space is available by reservation to outside community groups, and serves as a tool to integrate the greater Richmond area with occupants of the Innovation Center.

To realize this shared vision, Capital One chose local architecture and design firm SMBW, which suggested a strategic partnership between Capital One, the project principals and Knoll. Given the need for the space to adapt to constant change without compromising performance, it was clear that the planning requirements would be best served with an Immersive workplace, a highly flexible and fluid space.

Leveraging Knoll research on co-working and incubator spaces, which reveals that employees are not only spending more time in group work, but that the time is largely impromptu, the 1717 Innovation Center provides opportunities for casual collaboration, fosters creativity, and supports employee engagement. The Innovation Center implements these forward-thinking concepts, paying particular attention to wellbeing, flexibility, hospitality, and a balance between individuals and teams.

To support the goals and creative vision of the space, the project used all elements of the Rockwell Unscripted collection from Knoll: tables, seating, lounge, borders, storage, and accessories. Writeable surfaces support brainstorming and process mapping, and are included throughout the building in both fixed and mobile applications. See http://www.knoll.com.

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