“Eight Inc. took on DonorsChoose.org as a passion project, and they’ve had a transformative impact on our organization.” Charles Best, Chief Executive Officer
Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. At this nonprofit website, teachers at half of all the public schools in America have created project requests, and more than a million people have donated $237 million to projects that inspire them. All told, 11 million students—most from low-income communities, and many in disaster-stricken areas—have received books, art supplies, field trips, technology, and other resources that they need to learn.
A rapidly growing organization, DonorsChoose.org enlisted Eight Inc. to transition them from a traditional office space to a floor of a beautiful open loft building in the Garment District. In the move to a larger space, they sought additional conference rooms, better light quality, less clutter, and the ability to accommodate future growth in an effortless and uniform way. All while upgrading the design to a more modern and sophisticated aesthetic.
134 West 37th Street
“Over the last year, the Eight Inc. team has poured themselves into the creation of our space, working as artists on every detail. The result is an office that has made our team even happier, even more inspired and even more energized to help great teachers do great things for their students.” Charles Best, Chief Executive Officer
The design concept focused on utilizing a natural color palette with pops of color and education-based graphics that mimic an iconic schoolhouse aesthetic. A custom oak and steel gallery wall highlighting hand-written thank you notes and digitally represented statistics greets the visitor upon arrival. This visually leads the eye to the true essence of the organization: Donor Appreciation Land – a space where teacher and student volunteers congregate to organize and ship out the hundreds of handwritten thank you notes from students received to the office daily. This aesthetic of natural wood and steel wraps onto the conference room block as wall cladding to lead the eye into the heart of the space: the “playground.” It is here that the relaxed and collaborative working environment of the company shines. A variety of furniture arrangements sits in this open space flanked to one side by the conference room block and to the other by the open kitchen. At any time during the day, one can find someone working on their laptop or a team of three having a breakout session around a table. Once a week the space transforms to hold all hands meetings, or even afternoon yoga sessions.
The remainder of the space along the north and south perimeter of the building is the workspace for the quickly multiplying staff. To allow for quick and seamless growth, Eight Inc. designed custom plywood and steel tables. With little visual clutter and no horizontal barrier – these tables are true collaborative work surfaces. Lux Populi designed these work spaces with indirect lighting that throws light up onto the ceiling above illuminating the space evenly without creating any visual glare on computer screens. Notable details such as chalkboard are in the playground, stenciled playground games on the painted floor of the hallways, “focus” and “zen” nooks for private conversations, and a quiet room that functions dually as a maternity room help to unify the concept of the space. From large scale to small, the design evokes a positive yet nostalgic nod towards education.