By Quincy Preston and Bella Pinera
Jason McCann and his team at Vari pioneered the vitality of wellness in the workplace with the introduction of their sit-stand desk in 2013. Fast forward through years of innovation, a name change, and industry expansions, and the Coppell company formerly known as Varidesk is ready to move into a new space that befits just how far it’s come—and where it’s going.
Earlier this week, Vari broke ground on the 180,000-square-foot VariSpace Coppell, the site that will serve as its new global headquarters. The company’s third ‘VariSpace’ in DFW is the “perfect location” for the team to propel future growth—and keeps Vari in its home since founding, Coppell, McCann says.
VariSpace is Vari’s first-of-its-kind commercial real estate concept that brings amenities and flex-space solutions together in a multi-tenant campus.
The space-as-a-service offering is a flexible option for Fortune 50 enterprises and fast-growing local companies looking for a convenient suburban location, the company says. The new location is the first to be built from the ground up; VariSpace Las Colinas and VariSpace Southlake were purchased and completely renovated.
VariSpace Coppell sits in Archway’s Westgate, a master-planned development that includes Class A office space, retail, restaurants, and a full-service hotel. Corgan is the architecture firm in charge of designing the interior of the space, and BOKA Powell is tasked with designing the exterior.
The evolution of “workplace-as-a-service”
To Corgan, the project represents the true evolution of “workplace-as-a-service.” The firm turns the physical space into an amenity itself, making flexibility the heart of the building weaving fluid spaces and adaptable furniture throughout.
Corgan President Lindsay Wilson sees VariSpace Coppell as a destination for collaboration, focused work, socialization, and learning. At the same time, she says, tenants will be able to enjoy curated amenities and services that create an ecosystem ushering in the future of how we work.
It’s a timely project, arriving just at a moment when the adaptability of the workplace is being redefined.
The project uses insights from Corgan’s recent research to create a hospitality-driven backdrop that’s to support companies as they grow and evolve, Wilson says. Describing it as a true partnership with everyone aligned on the mission to find a better way, she says “it’s hard to describe the environment the Vari team creates for collaboration and curiosity on their projects.”
Exterior project leader BOKA Powell echoes the sentiment.
BOKA Powell has been on a four-year journey with Vari to transform its “proof of concept” for the idea of “building-as-a service.” The two teams collaborated to design simple, yet identifiable, purpose-built elements throughout the building to truly embody Vari’s mission as a company with a purpose.
The first disruption of the traditional building mass, according to BOKA Powell Design Principal Andrew Bennett, is a lateral sliding of the middle floor. This creates large integrated usable outdoor terraces on each floor of the three-story building.
Second is pulling “the long mass of the building apart,” making for a dramatic entry with a branded lantern element and playful facades. To Bennett, they emphasize the disruption of standard exterior elements by being unexpected.
“The meteoric growth of Vari is due to their unique vision of simplifying the furniture industry protocols and their desire to make smart workplace furniture solutions more accessible to everyone,” he says. “The architecture of the new building represents that ‘disruptor’ attitude by taking a simple efficient building box and stretching in two directions.”
A flexible future
Adolfson & Peterson Construction is general contractor for the space, and sees the future potential.
“With the state of traditional office space in limbo, more and more North Texas companies are realizing the value of flexible workspace concepts like VariSpace Coppell,” Granger Hassmann, VP of Preconstruction and Estimating for Adolfson, says. “Vari’s bold vision is just the type of innovative spirit AP embraces, and we’re excited to partner with BOKA Powell and Corgan to help Vari execute on its mission in DFW.”
In February 2020, Co-founder and CEO McCann made the executive decision to expand his company’s reach and perspective with a brand overhaul and new name that encompassed the mission of creating workspaces that elevate people.
Vari now sells more than 200 products, including moveable walls, conference tables, and storage and space plans. At a VariSpace, buildings can showcase exclusive Vari products, and tenants can lease space with highly flexible terms.
Since the transition, Vari has shipped products to more than 120 countries. Its roughly 350 employees work to design, create, manufacture, sell, distribute, and install flexible workspace products and services.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic and coinciding “work-from-home” phenomenon, Vari has seen significant demand for its products. The company installed some 1,000 workspaces last year—but McCann still believes there will be a growing demand for alternatives to traditional office spaces, like VariSpace.
“With this groundbreaking, we’re thrilled to be moving forward with the development of our new global headquarters,” he says. “This will be one of the most innovative buildings in North Texas that showcases our flexible workspace design and the future of workspace.”
Construction is expected to be complete in summer 2022 for VariSpace Coppell.