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PKWARE: An Open-Concept Office Designed to Connect

Posted on Jul 13, 2016, by Mollie Williams

At PKWARE in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, software engineers are uniquely positioned to experience the best of what their industry has to offer – and in turn create the best solutions in their industry. When the company moved offices, they partnered with Chemistry In Place and Milliken to create a flexible and collaborative environment that blends work and play.

From the beginning, PKWARE President and CEO Miller Newton had a clear understanding of today’s workplace: culture is extremely valuable to talent acquisition and employee collaboration – and it is inevitably conveyed in office design. When the opportunity arose to create a new space, Miller was determined to provide a contemporary, collaborative environment to incubate thought and evoke organic industry-leading client solutions.  



A converted paint and varnish factory with expansive open space was selected to create a factory for their industry, a ‘mind factory.’ Floor-to-ceiling windows offered panoramic views of the east end of downtown Milwaukee, bordering Lake Michigan, and a long rectangular floor plane provided the ground for an open-concept workspace.

With no walls, floor covering played a major role in achieving design goals, which were to:

  • Visually connect the expansive open office from one end to the other
  • Feature a large-scale pattern with movement in energetic, yet not overwhelming colors that complement concrete columns original to the space
  • Facilitate flexible, fluid workspaces that allow teams to merge for deeper communication
  • Absorb overhead lighting to provide more low light, a critical element when designing software for long periods of time

When reviewing floor covering options, Patricia S. Algiers, principal designer and owner of Chemistry In Place, noted that “Milliken was the only manufacturer in the market with designs remotely close to PKWARE’s needs.”


After considerable research, it became clear Milliken’s vibrant Color Wash modular carpet collection was the ideal flooring solution. Large, nuanced patterning in two designs – Matter and Medium - offered subtle movement and intrigue while connecting the expansive space, and a 1-meter x 1-meter carpet tile size minimized seams for the aesthetic of broadloom.

Newton was also impressed with the visuals of the collection. “Color Wash gives energy and diction to the new office space. It’s hip and modern while remaining timeless,” he shared.


Perhaps the most culturally relevant design aspect, the watercolor stripes of Medium were installed vertically, which might appear counter intuitive but has deep purpose. The layout physically connects the CEO’s office to the entire space, creating physical channels for the flow of information and ideas between all employees.

Additionally, Milliken carpet comes standard with built-in PVC-free cushion backing. The cushion significantly reduces noise, which is a common issue in large, open spaces, such as PKWARE’s converted factory, and also extends the life of the carpet by up to 40 percent. 



With the lease on the former office space quickly ending, PKWARE was faced with a tight deadline – 60 days from design to occupancy. Although at first skeptical, PKWARE was pleasantly surprised when the floor covering arrive two weeks earlier than expected without being offered as a Milliken Quick Ship collection.

Miller attributes the success of the project to quick timing, quality materials and a layout that supports the collaborative culture at PKWARE. The new space is sparking incredible responses from employees to potential hires – achieving its intended goal and more.

“The new space has changed the way people feel coming to work every day – and the way people work,” Newton said. “Communication and collaboration are phenomenal. We are more interconnected as a company than ever before.”

Click here to download the full case study.


Topics: Design

Mollie Williams

Written by Mollie Williams