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The Design Exchange

Located at the epicenter of the Exchange Street Historic District, the four-story brick building on Exchange Street was part of the Rhode Island Cardboard Company complex constructed in 1880. The project represents one of the last pieces of the puzzle in rehabilitating this neighborhood, paying homage to the city’s industrial past yet embodying its future as an arts hub. The building, dubbed The Design Exchange for its focus on attracting creative enterprises, was the perfect opportunity to practice what the firm preaches – sustainability and commitment to the renewal of the urban fabric.

With 5,000 square foot floor plates and 8-foot column grids, the building is a natural fit for an open, collaborative studio environment. The strategy was to stack the elevator, central stair, and restrooms vertically in the center of the building, leaving the entire perimeter open and flexible. Frameless glass walls define the conference room and private offices, but the remaining desk spaces are modular and moveable.

The cantilevered steel canopy passes through the glass entrance and folds into the lobby stair, one of the only exterior gestures in this otherwise restrained restoration that signals the building’s modern transformation as state-of-the-art professional office space.

LLB Architects acted as owner/developer and architect for the building, which received state and federal historic tax credits. We controlled and generated proforma/cash flow/operating budgets, obtained financing, submitted for tax credits, arranged for brokering of tax credits, and managed the contracting of construction.

Learn more about the Design Exchange and this new thriving design community on its website

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