Designing Healthier Office Spaces

On this Earth Day, we’re sharing a case study blog post by Vivian White at SpaceLab’s architects Centric Design Studio from their blog, Inside the Studio

Sustainable design also means healthier design – and healthier processes. Most of us spend over one-third of our lives inside office buildings. This makes the design of buildings and office space very important to our environment and our health. Creating healthier workplaces is a central part of Centric Design Studio’s sustainable design strategy. The ways in which we use energy, and our choices of materials and processes, are the most effective way to reduce fossil fuel emissions and contaminants released from materials and processes.

Take a look inside one of our (recent) design projects. SpaceLab Detroit opened their doors for their first public grand opening June 8th, 2017. SpaceLab Detroit is a co-working office space in downtown Detroit area, conceived by husband and wife team, Bobby and Karen Burton. It is a state of the art, efficiently designed work space for today’s entrepreneurs, architects, engineers, and construction service providers.


Natural Lighting

On this project, the south facing windows maximize the benefits of daylight from both the morning and evening sun. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D and is critical for facilitating vision and our bodies’ ability to regulate hormones, which in turn keeps processes related to alertness, digestion, and sleep functioning properly.

LED Lighting

Prioritizing around  natural light minimizes electricity usage, the largest source of carbon emissions. In addition, most of the lighting used in the space is LED, which uses energy more efficiently than traditional lighting and emits less heat. Motion sensors cause the lights to turn off when there is no movement in the room. Using less electricity helps us keep our environment healthier and adds up to big financial savings for the owner and tenant.


Adding to the comfort level and energy efficiency of this space was a switch from steam heat to gas, allowing the occupants more control over temperature. The radiators were kept to maintain the character of the space, however, the duct work was reconfigured to facilitate the new system.

Use of Materials

Acoustical ceiling tiles are used in the offices for noise reduction. Environmentally-friendly materials were used for the carpeting, which also utilizes processes to maintain clean indoor air quality. Designer roller shades will give occupants maximum control over the amount of natural light to allow in, while also providing protection from UV light.

Located in the heart of Detroit, SpaceLab is a model for the future of design and economic growth. Design challenges within the city’s 2030 District consist of a delicate balance between maintaining buildings historical intellect while deploying healthy, sustainable, aesthetically pleasing key elements. All of this adds up to a reduction in fossil fuel energy use and costs. LED lighting also qualified the business owners for a sizable rebate from DTE Energy.  What is not to like about implementing sustainable design?

Photos by Centric Design Studio

Bobby Burton on Opening and Owning a Coworking Space

SpaceLab’s Grow Detroit’s Young Talent 2018 summer intern Micah Womack spoke with our co-founder and COO Bobby Burton about owning a business and his vision for the company. 

Can you tell me about your company?

My company is SpaceLab Detroit, and we are a coworking space in downtown Detroit. We opened a little over a year ago. I’m blessed to say that we’ve leased all of our private office space, and we have a number of members in our shared office space. We focus on the construction and design industries – the majority of our members are in those fields.spacelab-17-bobby2.jpg

Walk us through your management strategy?

To build relationships with our customers. One of the hardest things to do is customer retention, yet it is most valuable things to do as a business. There’s nothing better than having long term customers, particularly customers who speak well of you. Customer relationships are very important. You want to make sure those are strong, and you meet your customer needs.

What’s the best feedback you’ve received from a client?

How much they enjoy the sense of community. The quality of the work environment at SpaceLab.

What’s your growth plan? What areas are you targeting?

Well, what I want to do is expand beyond coworking and to get more involved in the actual construction and development fields themselves. Coworking is a nice start, it’s a way to bring people together. Particularly, I want to help grow African-American construction contracting firms. There’s a huge opportunity in Detroit, and there’s a big demand that’s not being met.

What’s the biggest item on your to do list now?

We want to develop more relationships in the contractor arena.

What technology are you using?

A lot of web-based and cloud-based tools – that’s kind of where the industry going. Automation is huge in any businesses. It’s an easy way for a small business to look large and for a small business to increase their profits and to provide services that they couldn’t provide otherwise. We have a software package called Nexudus specifically tailored for coworking spaces. It allows us to manage our billing and our space, particularly our conference room space, and it allows our customers to manage the space for themselves. They can make their own bookings and pay their bills without having to interact with us.

What was your “breakthrough” project?

Completing SpaceLab’s build out in June of 2017. Opening the doors was the biggest.

What was your favorite project to do?

Wow, I mean going back into my days in I.T. (information technology), it was delivering new applications with new functionally to our customers. That was always fun and exciting.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting their own business?

Patience. Patience, and one of the things you have to have is a cushion. When you start a business, you’re going to struggle at first, so you need to have a good, solid financial plan and a financial cushion so you can make sure you can carry yourself through until time your money starts to come in and your business starts to become profitable.

Architect Louis Fisher Brings His Firm to Downtown Detroit

SpaceLab Detroit is pleased to welcome Louis Fisher and his firm Architecture & Urban Design, PC  to our shared office environment. Louis believes that architecture is art that makes a difference in people’s lives – art that must be useful and make good use of the limited resources of the Earth. A&UD has been a part of Detroit’s evolution and reconstruction for nearly two decades, and continues to provide architecture with the assistance of creative and culturally diverse staff that reflect the strength of our community. Read more about Architecture & Urban Design, PC on their website.


Davis Corporate Solutions Opens Office at SpaceLab


Adam Davis and Natalie Davis are partnering with organizations to create productive corporate, healthcare and education environments. Davis Corporate Solutions is the Michigan territory representative for OFS Brands, Carvart, and Visual Magnetics, and represented the furniture brands specified at SpaceLab Detroit.