There’s No Place Like The Office: Infusing Hospitality Design into the Workplace

Gensler Design Exchange Podcast
3 min readJul 14, 2022

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The office has always been at the heart of the workplace ecosystem, but it has been forever changed by Covid-19. After more than two years of working remotely and in hybrid settings, the million-dollar question for both business leaders and designers is: what does the future of the physical office look like?

In this episode of the Gensler Design Exchange podcast, we’re discussing the importance of infusing hospitality design into workplaces to turn offices into a destination, rather than an obligation.

The new hybrid workplace design for Morning Consult in Washington, DC employs hospitality to prioritize accessibility, intuitive technology, convenience, and comfort.

Bob Pinkard, founder of principal of The Pinkard Group, and Liz Stern, managing partner of the Mayer Brown DC office, join Gensler Design Director and Principal Mariela Buendia-Corrochano to discuss how their respective projects incorporate hospitality design to inspire and motivate their employees in the office.

Liz shares how a hospitality approach was used in the redesign of the downtown DC office of global law firm Mayer Brown. In collaborating on the redesign, Mayer Brown and Gensler defined the project’s design principle as “a place where you want to be,” and set out to infuse the space with a dramatic hospitality ambiance. The team paid special attention to the project’s everyday experience, embedded technology, and climate resilience properties.

“We know that we must compete for our talent to keep them, to engage them, and to motivate them. And the office being just a place where you do your work isn’t enough. It has to send a statement that we value you, and we want to connect with you.” — Liz Stern

Space as a study of modern, living art with a sophisticated progression was a universal theme in working on Mayer Brown’s downtown DC office renovation

Bob discusses his perspective on deciding to invest in hospitality design in the repositioning of 4300 Wilson, a reimagined Class A office building in the bustling Ballston neighborhood of Virginia. The Gensler team renovated the lobby, incorporating hospitality-inspired design elements, and added a conference room space, fitness center, and other amenities to create a unique workplace experience, enticing both visitors and tenants.

“Let’s face it, 15 years ago the office building was a box — a work factory. And when you move from that kind of feel to something which is curated and collaborative with a hospitality feel, it’s a big change for everyone…my advice to others would be to take some risks and go for it, because you will differentiate yourself.” — Bob Pinkard

A semi-organic, sculptural feature overhead in the lobby of 4300 Wilson invites visitors into the space through the entryway and extends inside, touching down within the reception area as a bench for guests.

Tune in to hear the full conversation. As always, thanks for listening!

(L-R): Mariela Buendia-Corrochano, Bob Pinkard, Elizabeth Espín Stern

Mariela Buendia-Corrochano, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, NCIDQ
Design Director, Principal

Robert (Bob) Pinkard
Founder and Principal
The Pinkard Group

Elizabeth (Liz) Espín Stern
Managing Partner DC office
Mayer Brown LLP



Gensler Design Exchange Podcast

The Gensler Design Exchange creates a dialogue between design experts, creative trendsetters & thought leaders to discuss how we can shape the future of cities.