Biogen – Cambridge, MA


Red Thread, a Biogen partner for more than a decade, worked with all levels at the corporation to introduce fresh ideas for an inspiring new workplace. Working together with Steelcase Applications Research Consultants (ARC) and Nelson Architects, the Red Thread team helped to articulate a new workplace strategy, facilitate change management and develop appropriate applications.

Throughout the process Biogen employees were included, through needs assessment surveys, pilot programs and in the selection of their individual work tools through a Furniture Standards Program. In order to remain highly agile, Biogen utilized Architectural Systems such as raised flooring and demountable walls, along with a highly flexible furniture solution, to ensure that future space reconfiguration is possible without costly planning and additional investment.

Managing change

In 2010 Biogen decided to reunite its’ Weston-based employees with teams in Cambridge, MA thus fully returning to the organization’s roots in the center of the Biotech industry. The change was driven by the desire to affect a cultural shift that encouraged a more cohesive and collaborative culture, one that fosters innovative thinking, attracts/ retains the very best talent and amplifies business results. This approach began with an integrated planning process; a structured methodology that helps to determine organizational needs and understand what change was needed to support Biogen’s culture and brand. Key learnings were synthesized to establish the critical requirements for design and provide a foundation for workplace planning. To promote a spirit of openness, flatten the organization’s structures and encourage transparency, private offices were eliminated, panel heights were lowered or became glass walls and more group and team spaces were incorporated into the floor plan.

Flexible infrastructure

In addition to the unique and comprehensive integrated planning process, Biogen also utilized flexible infrastructure solutions and streamlined furniture solutions to benefit their employees, teams and enterprise. One goal was to enhance overall office efficiencies. In effect, Biogen was able to achieve a 12% improvement over its previous standard. Individual footprints were reduced but a range of formal and informal collaborative spaces, a work café, open plan workstations and private huddle rooms were added into the floor plan. A “flex zone” was created with the use of raised flooring, demountable walls and a unique ceiling cloud design to provide employees the agility to transform these spaces from open areas to project team rooms overnight.

Project Partners

  • Nelson Architects
  • Fox RPM
  • Lee Kennedy Co.
  • Boston Properties
  • Consigli Construction
  • Alexandria Real Estate


  • Furniture
  • Architectural Products