Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bathroom Blogfest '08 - Art of Living

Today's installment of Bathroom Blogfest '08 reading material comes to you from downtown St. Louis. No, we're not discussing Busch Stadium again; we're talking about the Art of Living building, just a few blocks south. You may remember it from A Foot's Perspective: Episode 5. My company, Hughes, moved to this space about a year and a half ago from a very corporate office location. We now share the building with a variety of other businesses, some big, some small, and we all have the same common spaces - kitchens, conference rooms, couches, media rooms, etc.

The Art of Living building was quite a change for us when we moved here. It's all exposed brick and wooden beams, cool and rustic and hip - very Hollywood ad agency. When you walk in the front door, you're introduced to a massive two-story lobby, complete with a two-sided fireplace, various seating areas, and a seven foot fish tank - it's all very cool but a little intimidating.

Initially, the lobby wasn't very welcoming. Without carefully planned details, such a large space can seem cold and empty, especially with the reception desk all the way across the room from the front door - that's a long way to walk as your footsteps hollowly echo around the room. Sure, the design was interesting and modern, but it seemed... forgotten. There weren't even fish in the fish tank for a full year after we moved in.

But recently, Anthony, Allen & Quinn, the owner of the Art of Living, made a few improvements to the lobby that really impact the way visitors view the building. They're not big changes, but they're big enough, making a once slightly chilly experience much more warm and cozy.
  • Guests can help themselves to hot coffee after they check in at reception.

  • A broad selection of magazines and reading materials (Rolling Stone, anyone?) wait for perusal.

  • Actual fish now populate the fish tank. They're colorful, fascinating and fun - a great conversation starter or point of interest.

  • Classical music softly soothes visitors as they wait for meetings and appointments.

And then of course, there's the ladies room. Inside, there's enough room to do a little soft shoe dance routine. Each stall is its own room with its own wooden door - no awkward stall doors to contend with. The floor is a dark slate, and the counter tops are a very modern concrete. It's a good bathroom experience. Maybe even a great one. The bathroom downstairs even has a shower and lockers - just in case you feel like using the gym across the hall before work.

You can read more about the Art of Living Building here at [I found the bathroom image there along with a myriad other good shots] or in this article from the St. Louis Business Journal.

What about you? What's the bathroom experience like where you work? And does it detract from the work environment? Keep us posted - we'll be here all week!

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