MJ Insurance is a national insurance firm headquartered in Carmel, Indiana. The company opened in 1964 with four employees and, upon moving into their new headquarters, had grown into a national firm with over 150 employees at their Indiana location alone. The design team led MJ Insurance through an involved visioning process, culminating in a series of principles to guide the project. These principles had a central theme: capitalize on and enhance an already positive company culture.
While many companies in the insurance industry build offices with high walls, MJ Insurance set out to buck norms. They moved to a highly collaborative open office environment unique to their industry. In order to support this culture-promoting design decision, the team included conference rooms, enclaves, and focus rooms of many shapes and sizes to ensure that both morale and productivity would increase in the new space. Designers worked to provide the right furniture solutions to support an open work environment with a strong need for both collaboration and privacy. Company leadership showed their commitment to the design by joining the employees in open office workstations.
The culture at MJ Insurance centers around six core values: Passion, Leadership, Personal Development, Incremental Growth, Innovation, and Fun. These values drove the entire design – from the open office configuration to the centrally located social areas – but they are most evident in a consistent branding concept. MJ’s boardroom connects to the lobby with a glass storefront, which allows a branded art installation to span the two spaces. At the far end of the conference room is a white grid with vibrant yellow plus signs at many of the intersections. That grid becomes a series of extruded white-and-yellow plus signs of various heights and sizes, suspended from the ceiling and streaming into the lobby until they end over the monumental stair. The grid represents the discipline required for leadership, personal development, and incremental growth while the shape and color of the plus signs connect to MJ’s values of passion and fun. The company instantly connected with the installation and used the concept to relaunch their national brand.
MJ Insurance asked for an infusion of fun in their space. Sliding felt panels, a carpet pattern developed, and a unique series of branding elements did just that for this hard-working group.
The Olivia on Main Luxury Residence & Shoppes is a five-story, mixed use development that includes 204, 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, 17,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space on the ground floor, 57 covered parking spaces, an indoor amenities center, and an elevated second floor pool and deck with an indoor aqua lounge.
Upon arrival to the amenity center and leasing offices, visitors and residents are welcomed by an open concept with views to multiple engagement spaces. The design team planned the amenity center to allow residents and visitors to choose their level of social interaction within the space. On axis with the entry is a beautiful stone island and hospitality center. Intentionally located as the heart of the space, much like today’s residential kitchens, it serves as an informal gathering space, a hospitality space, and meeting location. From this central location residents and visitors may choose to further explore the space. Upon exploration, they will find a private movie room, fitness center, conference space, business center, gaming lounge, and finally a private library lounge.
The interior design of the apartment and amenity center sought to balance a luxury feel with a budget that was consistent with area development. Throughout the space touches of casual luxury are noted in unique lighting elements, natural stone materials, and a clever mix of metal finishes. The neutral foundation for the palette elevates these features allowing them to make a lasting impact on visitors and residents alike.
The design of the Palladium is based upon the traditional ‘shoe box’ shape concert hall with high ceilings and massive, sound-reflecting walls. This cornerstone of the Carmel City Center is designed to accommodate a myriad of music types.
The performance hall is designed as a multi-purpose space, yet its principal use is for live symphonic music. Through the design process it was decided that a truly multi-purpose room would not meet the highest standards for music production, however a room built for symphonic music can support many other types of events. In true concert hall fashion, the hall was developed as a single room, meaning there is no separation between the audience and the performers. This allows the initial sound to radiate freely without the constriction of a proscenium wall.
Within the hall, acoustics are further refined with the utilization of variable acoustic devices including automated curtains and a one-of-a-kind glass and steel acoustic canopy. The facility also includes state-of-the-art production lighting and sound systems with the capability to handle almost any production.
The space is designed to accommodate all patrons with visually excellent sight lines. The seating mix includes distinct locations including main floor, choral balcony, balcony, and box seats with private anterooms.
CSO was commissioned by the City of Carmel and the Carmel Redevelopment Commission to serve as the Architect of Record on The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts. The firm worked with David M. Schwarz Architects and Artec Consultants, Inc. to design the only true concert hall in the region.
CSO designers conducted extensive visioning sessions with focus groups from Allied Solutions to guide and inspire the design for their new headquarters. The Allied Solutions team had the following to say about the visioning process: “When you ask employees what they want in a new space, they are limited to envisioning only the environments in which they have personally experienced. The Visioning exercise developed by CSO draws out attitudes and ideas that employees otherwise would not be able to voice when asked, ‘what do you want in your space?’ This was a key part in the overall design strategy for Allied Solutions’ new headquarters, allowing our employees to voice their unique input for the company’s new space.”
The holistic interior design, and seamlessly incorporated branding elements are apparent immediately upon arrival to Allied’s second floor lobby. There, employees and visitors are enveloped by Allied Solutions’ “Blue Culture” with views to an atrium with a grand staircase, an informal mid-level conference room, social gathering spaces, and a 3rd level conference room. By design, the activity of the office is put on display in response to feedback provided by the user groups during their visioning sessions. Research and careful dissection of information from the visioning sessions gave designers the opportunity to carefully parallel Allied Solution’s unique culture in its interior environment. The result is a unique space that embodies the company’s cultural and business aspirations.
The Mezz is a luxury apartment development that consists of 2 buildings located adjacent to the Center for the Performing Arts. The project is a public private partnership with the City of Carmel and provides an upscale urban living opportunity in the heart of Carmel’s new downtown.
The Mezz on the Monon is a 5-story building that includes 20 one and two bedroom residential units. The 8,000 sf main floor consists of common amenity spaces including a lounge and fitness area.
The Mezz on 3rd, also a 5-story building, provides space for the developer’s corporate headquarters on the main floor in addition to 24 studio, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom apartments.
A particularly narrow site resulted in one end of the east building’s foundation only being 22 feet wide. In order to maximize space designers relied on solutions such as spiral staircases in two-story apartments.
Dedicated to premium local ingredients within proven menu options, Café Patachou is recognized for exceptional casual dining for breakfast and lunch. The challenge initially was to find design solutions for the new downtown location in Simon Headquarters that did not lose the familiar neighborhood corner “Student Union” character of the beloved 49th Street original café yet speak to the downtown business and visitor patrons. The new image included a chalkboard wall with changing artist murals instead of the hanging works for sale of 49th street, finished ceilings with upscale lighting vs. exposed structure and minimal lighting, booth seating, large windows on the prominent street corner and separate area for special meetings. This collaboration continued for the Indianapolis International Airport location in Civic Plaza, a unique venue, still going strong more than 10 years later. As the locations and operations continued to explore new sites, the brand grew to add the Petite Chou concept, offering full day service including a dinner menu with a unique French Bistro focus in an outdoor mall location.
One of the most unique and fun sites was the new concept for the original 49th street café, which moved to a vacant corner suite and integrated a new Pizza concept evening venue, Napolese. The two restaurants share the kitchen, negotiating a grade change between the two tenant spaces. Napolese introduced a wood oven pizza brand with extensive wine and expanded beverage services. Significant operational efficiency was achieved by the shared kitchen solution.
CSO reviewed and enhanced layouts for the kitchens, storage, and front and back counter spaces, resulting in better workflow, faster delivery of finished dishes, and enhanced dining options.
- Café Patachou, River Crossing
- Café Patachou, 49th St. and Pennsylvania
- Café Patachou, Simon Headquarters
- Napolese, 49th St. and Pennsylvania
- Petite Chou, Clay Terrace
- On the Fly, Indianapolis Airport