Barbara Carlyle Has the Front Row Seat

Creating natural environments for workplace of the future


[dropcap]B[/dropcap]arbara Carlyle founded her contract office furniture dealership in her Sunnyvale kitchen in 1987. The company grew and in 1999 reinvented itself through a merger with a local competitor to form what is today Pivot Interiors. It now has seven locations throughout California, including San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Irvine. Barbara heads the sales and marketing divisions of Pivot. Her long-term clients include such Bay Area giants as Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, HP, Juniper, Oracle and Symantec.

In 2010, Carlyle was named Corporate Real Estate Service Provider of the Year by the Northern California Chapter of CoreNet Global, an association for corporate real estate and workplace professionals. Her involvement with CoreNet spans the history of the organization. She participates in its mentoring program, working with young professionals to uncover growth opportunities and paths for career development. Pivot also has become a signature sponsor of CoreNet with many employees serving on committees such as Young Leaders and Membership. The company is also actively involved in the International Facility Management Association, the International Interior Design Association and Commercial Real Estate Women.

IMG_7818Q: As the economy continues to improve, how are your clients’ attitudes toward interiors changing?

BC: Pivot’s clients are very savvy businesspeople. They understand that the workplace is a strategic financial investment, one that is paramount to attracting and retaining the best talent. Furthermore, our clients recognize that to retain that talent they need to create offices that will delight their staff with a compelling selection of work settings.

Q: There was a push into less space per employee over the last few years. Are you still seeing that or is the pendulum swinging in the other direction?

BC: Pivot is actually coaching our clients to think beyond “square foot per employee” formulas. Our tagline for the past three years has been: Your Space. Your Story. We believe that it’s critical for each company to create a workplace that’s right for their people and their work. Employees still need individual spaces in which to work, but more effort is being focused on giving them a choice in how they work throughout the day.

Pivot believes that if we fundamentally understand what individuals are trying to achieve, and how they go about achieving it, we can co-create more purposeful spaces that optimize many different individual and team activities.

Q: Are you seeing through your network a new age of office space design throughout the country? Is there a spillover effect from the Bay Area into other regions?

BC: Yes! Our research indicates that by 2015, the majority of the U.S. workforce will be in their 20s. That generation has their own unique perspective and expectations of what the office environment should be. They are looking for a place where a personal connection to work and colleagues increases their productivity and effectiveness through a natural experience of interaction, creativity and fun.

Q: How are companies like Herman Miller responding to these changes and attitudes of what an office looks like or how it functions?

BC: New trends continue to emphasize that workplaces must feel like a community worth belonging to. People want to work in a natural environment that connects them to their work and to each other. Herman Miller sees Living Office as a new kind of workplace founded on the total experience of work.

Q: Are you optimistic about 2014? Why?

BC: Pivot is optimistic about 2014. The San Francisco Bay Area is at the forefront of opportunities for the development of startups and also continued growth for existing companies. We live in an area where there are no boundaries to the continuing emergence and development of technology…. and it’s exciting!

Photography by Laura Kudritzki

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