When the team at Kaufman Lynn first began laying the groundwork for the company’s new headquarters, they knew the space had to be more than just noticeable. Amid the sun-soaked vibes of South Florida, where designers have a reputation for flash and whimsy, it had to be memorable.
From playful mesh steel façade to the grand and gleaming windows, Kaufman Lynn’s Delray Beach digs look more like a modern art museum than a turnkey construction firm.
But passersby aren’t the only heads the company aims to turn.
“We wanted it to be warm and inviting—something that drew you in,” says Chris Long, the company’s chief operating officer, about partners who visit the space and potential clients who can see the variety of construction materials incorporated in the building. “There’s a combination of aesthetics and functionality we think are really unique. In a lot of ways, it embodies what we do.”
With services encompassing everything from pre-construction to design-builds and sustainable construction, Kaufman Lynn’s industry expertise had long made it a strong player in the South Florida market. But after decades of leasing space and experiencing a growing workforce, CEO and founder Mike Kaufman decided it was time for the firm to build a home of its own.
Now, less than a year after its completion, the space serves the dual purpose of housing the firm and being its primary showcase.
If you happen to be an employee of Kaufman Lynn, you recognized the first perk of the building right away: ground-level covered parking, designed to spare vehicles from the baking South Florida heat.
The space was divided into quadrants, one for each company division: accounting and support services, operations, estimating, and business development. Long explains that while most of the office is on a single level, a smaller third floor houses Kaufman Lynn’s training facility and large conference room.
Large-format tiles—porcelain, but made to look like concrete—line the way through the lobby and into the main offices. White cedar beams are suspended from the ceiling, and the wood pattern continues behind a Venetian plaster reception desk with a large interactive monitor mounted behind.
And not just for the viewing pleasure of employees. “Our aim was to wow our clients,” says Long. “This is not what they were expecting. So you’ve already set the benchmark that Kaufman Lynn does things a bit differently.”
There are plenty of nods to Kaufman Lynn’s construction DNA, including unfinished steel columns, exposed ductwork and masonry walls free of paint—and free of restrictions.
Modern art lines the walls as you make your way down the hall, where gradient gray carpet seems to whisk you along like a moving walkway. Office spaces and conference rooms send sunlight flooding in, with the exterior steel façade—seemingly inspired by famed Spanish architect Antonin Gaudi—never far from sight. In the main boardroom, a wooden chandelier makes certain everyone’s eyes are up and focused.
Even the restrooms command attention. Open and bright, the “country club-style” spaces feature opaque glass doors, frameless mirrors and large, concrete washbasins. Below, light gray tiles harken to a beach where the water has retreated from the sand.
A bit farther down the hall, just off the main floor, sits Kaufman Lynn’s café. A finished wooden arch frames a long white bar, along which stand a series of white chairs. Used for everything from midday breaks to company birthday parties, the enclave has come to epitomize the building’s gestalt look and feel.
Long explains, “It’s become a kind of default gathering space. We have three monitors showing breaking news along with company highlights.”
After decades of pursuing projects in its own backyard, the past two years have seen Kaufman Lynn widen its geographical footprint. Not just to Florida’s Gulf Coast, but to the Carolinas, Texas and points beyond, with satellite offices in Fort Myers, Raleigh and Austin.
That, in turn, has involved a redoubled effort to improve communication and collaboration across the company. Throughout the offices, monitors allow Kaufman Lynn’s headquarters to easily connect, via Skype, to remote employees and clients.
“As Kaufman Lynn has grown, we’re utilizing technology more to connect, not just with one another, but with our partners and clients at remote sites,” says Long.
For Long and his colleagues, Kaufman Lynn’s industry reputation has always been ironclad. What the company needed, more than anything, was an all-encompassing statement—a place to give clients a best-in-class experience from start to finish.
“We’re a construction company, so we want the building to be indicative of what we do,” Long says. “There’s a wow factor to the look and feel of the building. But this new space enables our clients to also see our vibrant working atmosphere.”