Corner office: designing a work environment for the executive.

Author:Skertic, Alison
Position:Office Design

Executives in the "corner office" are concerned with aesthetics, says Larry Kuzemka, director of sales marketing for Jasper Desk in Jasper. "They want real wood furniture and the warmth and beauty of wood."

"Obviously, image is very important for this caliber of executive," says Lisa May, product manager for Kimball Office Furniture in Jasper. "They tend to order fine wood furniture for their offices. Occasionally they may ask for a 'mixed material' look of wood with glass or metal, but for the most part they are asking for all wood."

"CEOs want a clean, classic environment," says Lynn Hynes Foster of CSO Interiors in Indianapolis. "Their office follows what is happening in the business. They also want their own personality to come through. They're not afraid to show they have a family, for instance. Or sometimes they travel a lot and bring back artifacts. I work with them to find out their personalities and what will work best."

Maria Slager, owner of Office Interiors in Granger, says the CEO picks a style consistent with the image and mission of the company. For example, someone in a creative field, such as advertising or marketing, often wants a sleeker, more high-tech look, while bankers and lawyers usually go for a classic style.

"I just did an office for the CEO of an international business," Slager says. "He had custom cherry wood panels. It was very traditional."

In a competitive business environment, the office decor can be a selling point when trying to attract top executives. "One of the perks companies give an individual is letting them outfit the office themselves. Often we are custom-fitting furniture to fit the executive," Kuzemka explains, adding that Jasper Desk has a 126-year tradition of custom-made furniture, with customers ranging from Exxon Corp. to the White House.

At the centerpiece of the office is the desk. CEOs usually opt for an oversized desk--48 by 92 inches. Although executives may depend on laptops, they don't want electronic devices cluttering their desk. So many opt for pedestals with pocket doors that can conceal printers, and desks with an area to store laptops. Electrical outlets and data ports also must be easily accessed, but hidden.

"The wall units are comprised of storage pedestals and bookcases or cabinets," says May of Kimball. "Often they need to graceful[y support a TV unit and a PC or laptop computer."

The type of wood used is important for two reasons: appearance and longevity. Shari Doyle of...

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