SCO Genovese Family Life Center Market Public Sector Location Jamaica, NY Product Solutions Furniture Services Installation + Labor, Procurement, Product Specification, Project Management, Standards Program The Genovese Family Life Center is a part of SCO Family of Services, one of the largest human services providers in the New York metro area. The agency’s mission is to deliver vital human services to children, families, adults, and the community to provide them with the necessary tools to achieve success. The existing four-floor, 30,000-square-foot facility in Queens was made up of underutilized spaces and outdated furnishings. “Our building was a big maze with lots of twists and turns and old furniture,” said Hayden Blades, Vice President, Facilities and Property Management, SCO Family of Services. For the initial project, SCO hired the architectural firm, Spacesmith, to turn an underutilized basement space into a Center for Professional Development. Determining the project to be a success, SCO then launched a complete building renovation to better meet the needs of staff and clients of The Center. One of the challenges SCO faced with this total renovation was that they had no existing furniture standards. They would buy from different brands and items of various sizes, styles, and quality. According to Blades, they wanted to change this and create standards to improve space utilization and increase overall occupancy. “Spacesmith began designing new space standards, and we knew furniture would play a key role in that effort,” said Ambar Margarida, Principal, Spacesmith. “For the offices and workstations, we needed a high quality, durable and well-designed furniture system.” The initial systems furniture layout needed to accommodate current occupancy levels, but The Center needed to plan for the organization’s expected growth (day two occupancy). Spacesmith invited Simone Espinet, Business Development Manager for Henricksen, to bid on the project. Espinet and her team responded to the furniture bid with components from multiple manufacturers to best suit what was designed by Spacesmith. They presented the mock-up with an installation partner to demonstrate how to retrofit the components in real time. The Henricksen designer also joined the meeting via zoom and performed layout work using CET Designer to showcase how the workstation configurations could be changed, and occupancy could be expanded when necessary. “One of the concepts we saw in the live presentation by Henricksen was the ease of reconfiguration. It was helpful to see how changes could manifest quickly without redesigning the architecture of the space. It was paramount in our decision to choose Henricksen.” Hayden Blades, Vice President, Facilities and Property Management, SCO Family of Services When COVID social distancing protocols began, the project was in the design phase. The Henricksen team showed how the furniture solution had the innate flexibility to pivot and adapt to new layouts. “We had the flexibility to adjust for social distancing,” said Blades. “Down the road, when things relaxed, we could change the space and increase occupancy as we originally planned.” The flexibility of The Center’s furniture directly correlates to the overall success of its real estate portfolio. Blades continues, “We can expand within this location and add savings to our bottom line.” For example, SCO has closed a smaller office and brought that staff into the newly renovated building. “We were able to add staff without fully reconfiguring the workspace to the day-2 occupancy,” said Blades. “The public space at the center is used for foster care and families affected by domestic violence. It needed to be a safe zone; uplifting,” shares Espinet. To support this, furnishings of various heights, postures, and group sizes were selected for areas where children, youth, and adults could meet and build relationships. “For ancillary furniture, we looked for pieces with high backs and curvilinear designs that could be upholstered in non-woven durable fabrics and incorporate wood elements.” shared Margarida. All items were chosen for durability, comfort, aesthetics, and practical reasons, like flexibility and ease of reconfiguration by visitors. Margarida continues, “We wanted the furniture to feel residential and create a welcoming impression, yet it had to withstand constant use by many diverse age groups.” The new Genovese Family Life Center is a warm, welcoming environment that will accommodate the organization’s future growth. The renovated space will genuinely help the SCO Family of Services complete its mission of delivering vital human services to children, families, adults, and the community.