In recent years, we have witnessed the emergence of a new category of Office Space. Called “Creative Loft” space, this category of Office Space features expansive floor plans with large amounts of open space, often incorporating exposed duct work and sprinkler systems. These spaces are specifically designed to facilitate creative interaction—the primary value driver of a new breed of Office User. The highly-valued TAMI subset of office users—Tech, Advertising, Media, and Information tenants—prefer these spaces because these spaces enhance the TAMI business model. TAMI companies’ high profit margins and strong growth models, coupled with their strong preference for these spaces drives significant demand for these spaces.
Creative Loft Office has exploded in popularity, and despite high initial construction costs, these spaces command a significant rent premium. This paper begins by defining creative loft office space and then examines its conceptual origins. The paper concludes by asking whether these spaces and tenants are here to stay, or if this new breed of space will disappear like many of the dot-com bubble tenants after the 1990s.
Creative Loft Office – What is it?
This new wave of Creative Loft Office space is designed to achieve two goals – first, due to its visually striking nature, it is designed to attract the talented workforce that TAMI companies compete over, and secondly, it is designed to enhance the creative productivity upon which those companies depend.
These spaces are characterized by large floor plates, high, open ceilings, shared collaborative spaces, and large windows. These features are designed to utilize natural light and provide a spacious feel for office users. These spaces eschew Fluorescent lights and cubicle farms in favor of low partitions and shared, “collaboration” areas. Although much more expensive to build and finish, these spaces attract premium rates from office users who value their effect on employee satisfaction and productivity. These spaces facilitate work product visibility. Workers can see how their work contributes to the company – and this characteristic drives both effort and satisfaction, which in turn drives worker retention.