The Role of Thoughtful Design in Meeting Consumer Needs

The pioneer proverb 1
The Pioneer’s “Great Room” is home base for Everett’s modern settlers.

In the real estate industry, the phrase “live, work, play” is tossed around like a mantra, telling consumers that they can unlock the perfect work/life balance if they simply choose the right apartment, the best workspace, or the most innovative community. Although these words are beginning to lose their meaning, industry trends suggest a revolution in what it actually means to live, work, and play. Million-dollar ideas once clutched close to the chest are being shared in their early stages. Apartment dwellers actually want to meet each other. Workspaces are less about desk arrangements and more about collaboration, connection, and all things on-trend and on-tap. 

The line between life and work is starting to blur—companies are offering perks like yoga breaks, flex time, summer Fridays, and happy hours, while residential communities are putting increased emphasis on co-working and communal spaces. Simply put, people are starting to expect more out of the built environment. There’s a tangible push to achieve more, in less time, and with greater flexibility. As place-makers continue to shape the future of development, they can meet these evolving needs by collaborating early, implementing strategic storytelling, and crafting active spaces that facilitate human interaction. When this is done well, the result is a thoughtful urban landscape of inventive communities that lease quickly and command higher rents. 

The Pioneer, a new apartment community in Everett, is a prime example of the value of a powerful brand narrative. Proverb—the place-branding agency that partnered with Post Road Residential to develop the project—was inspired by the history of Ralph Sprague, the early explorer who put the Mystic Side on the map. Post Road Residential’s Andy Montelli still remembers the meeting where the trajectory of the project was defined in one poignant statement: You Can’t Discover What You Don’t Explore. “I think about those words all the time — that is our essence. That is our story. Everything we’ve done since that meeting carries the meaning of those words,” explained Andy.

the pioneer proverb 2Some of the best stories are found in the small details.

Because Post Road and Proverb partnered so early in the development process, the entire project was shaped by this story of exploration. It’s the brain-child of five award-winning design and development firms, and it was designed to be a journey. As tenants navigate the building, hidden touches and secret spaces reveal themselves—often in the form of dazzling amenity spaces. From high-level architectural planning down to the shape of the door handles, every aspect of The Pioneer is meant to tell a story of discovery—and that story is making a huge impact in a wildly competitive market. 

Through its recent rebrand, One Broadway is using strategic collaboration to meet consumer needs. It’s one of the most desirable addresses in Kendall Square—the most innovative square mile on the planet—and it has no trouble attracting tenants. Access to smart money, together with the spirit and network of MIT and Harvard, means that Kendall Square has the energy and creativity to solve the world’s greatest challenges. And over the years, more than 1400 companies (including Google and Facebook!) have called One Broadway home. MITIMCo, the developer on the project, saw an opportunity to celebrate all that has happened in the building and create a space that not only meets consumer needs, but is ahead of the market.

One broadway proverbAt One Broadway, the future starts now.

By reimagining its private lobby as a public amenity, One Broadway stands to become the new living room of Kendall Square. This groundbreaking ground floor will allow the best minds to brush shoulders, and sparks of inspiration will have the space they need to turn into brilliant ideas. This change alone is bringing new promise to the building, and to the neighborhood as a whole. “We think there will be a bunch of people in the lobby who have no business in the building, and, in our eyes, that’s a huge success. We’re using thoughtful design to create spaces that facilitate collision—that’s how the best ideas get off the ground,” remarked Ken Williams, Director at MITIMCo. 

In an industry where everyone is trying to deliver exceptional value and mitigate risk, it can seem radical to go the extra mile — especially early on. But when a brand is built on a compelling story, and that story is strategically woven into the very fabric of a place, something amazing happens. “Most of us swim in a sea of creativity every day, and finding people to help you build often feels like the hardest part. But when the right minds get together, it’s magic,” said Daren Bascome, founder of Proverb. “It’s our job to build spaces that encourage connection and allow people to do—and be—more.”

Even if something is working, it can be made better. Developers and place-makers have the opportunity to design workspaces and residential communities marked by hospitality and defined by the pursuit of positive change. After all, as the definition of “live, work, play” continues to evolve, staying ahead of the curve will be the only way to attract the right talent and the right tenants—and when the right people have access to innovative communities, the outcome is limitless progress.

Contributor Bio

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Proverb partners with innovative real estate developers, cities, hotels, museums, architects, hospitals and other organizations that seek to transform the built environment. Their work connects with smart, sophisticated audiences, stands out from competitors and creates lasting value for our clients.

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