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[Case Study] How functional space increased employee well-being

Step into the Continental Gin Building in Dallas, and you'll experience the power of biophilic design firsthand. This exceptional workspace is a collaborative masterpiece, brought to life by the dynamic partnership between Common Desk and Natura. Read our customer success story that takes you behind the scenes of this inspiring project, revealing the secrets behind its success.

The global climate crisis is changing the way we live and work, impacting businesses in all industries. In February 2021, Texas experienced the coldest winter storm since the 1980s. But despite facing these adverse circumstances, including the detrimental effects on our plants and setbacks in the construction process, Natura exhibited remarkable resilience and resourcefulness. Their unwavering commitment enabled them to navigate these obstacles and deliver an interior space for Common Desk that exceeded all expectations.

In today’s post-COVID era, where remote and hybrid work models have become the norm, the significance of the physical workplace has never been more crucial. Did you know that a staggering 10% of workplace absences can be attributed to a lack of connection with nature in the built environment? With businesses striving to entice employees back to the office, a fresh approach is needed to create environments that foster productivity, well-being, and a sense of belonging.

In the pursuit of redefining their workspace, Common Desk, a pioneering coworking provider, partnered with Natura. Recognizing the benefits of biophilic design in the workplace, Common Desk sought to infuse its office spaces with warmth, vitality, and a deep connection to nature.

Read the below customer success story, as we explore the impressive outcomes that emerged from this collaboration. From increased productivity and creativity to heightened overall happiness and well-being, the Common Desk office in Dallas serves as a tangible testament to the power of biophilic design in shaping the future of work.

About Common Desk

Common Desk is a WeWork company that provides flexible workspaces of all shapes and sizes–from shared desks to single-person offices, all the way up to midsize offices and larger team suites. 

They have reimagined the traditional workweek by combining all the essential ‘workplace’ elements into one cohesive space. From vibrant office spaces and delicious coffee to recording rooms and fitness facilities, they have it all. 

At Common Desk, customers can choose from a variety of packages tailored to their specific needs. Whether it's a membership for long-term access, a day pass for occasional use, or a one-time rental, all packages come with a range of amenities designed to help individuals and teams perform at their best. From shared desks and private offices to conference rooms, team suites, and event spaces, Common Desk is dedicated to empowering people to work efficiently and effectively.

office reception with earth colors and 2 brown couches

(Image Source: Supplied by Common Desk)

Project Overview

Natura and Common Desk have seen successful collaborations in the past, but this project was particularly special as it unfolded within the iconic Continental Gin Building, nestled in the Deep Ellum district in Dallas.

Originally built in 1888, the Continental Gin Building carries with it a storied past, boasting a long history. Today, this architectural gem has been thoughtfully renovated into a multifaceted destination, housing offices, restaurants, and retail spaces, with Common Desk occupying the second floor. 

It is within this renowned building that Natura and Common Desk joined forces to create stunning workspaces, strategically incorporating approximately 118-120 plants throughout the offices. Natura's meticulous approach involved the thoughtful integration of an array of plant varieties, including large floor plants, smaller shelf plants, cascading wall-hanging plants, and verdant accents adorning their bookshelves.

The primary objective was to cultivate an environment that not only enticed individuals to the office but also embraced them with a sense of warmth, welcome, and comfort. 

By integrating biophilic elements into the corporate environment, Common Desk also aimed to reap a multitude of benefits, including increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, improved air quality and humidity, and reduced stress levels.

Through its partnership with Natura, Common Desk successfully achieved these goals, delivering a workplace experience that fosters optimal performance and well-being. (Skip to the results section below to gain deeper insight into this). 

Interested in introducing biophilic design to your office space? Connect with us and one of our experts will be in touch.

The Challenge

Natura encountered two significant challenges that were beyond their control: the first was construction delays, which slowed down the project's progress. The second challenge was what the media dubbed “the Great Texas Freeze”, which complicated plant delivery and maintenance with icy roads and sub-freezing temperatures. 

Challenge 1: Plant health and an incomplete building

The original timeline was not met due to the involvement of a new construction company. The general contractors failed to complete their assigned tasks within the designated timeframe. This delay had a direct impact on Natura's plans, as the plants had already been ordered based on the installation date provided.

The installation date had to be postponed by approximately one month. As a result, there were 120 plants stored in a warehouse. To ensure the plants received some natural light, they had to be transferred to a temporary holding area. However, this arrangement was far from ideal because the plants couldn’t acclimate properly. 

Solution: Ongoing care and maintenance

To overcome the challenge of delayed installation and the plants being unable to acclimate, a few solutions were implemented.

  1. Natura made sure that the plants in the temporary holding area were well taken care of. To achieve this, a team of Natura technicians visited the temporary location on a weekly basis. These technicians were specifically trained in plant care and maintenance. Their role was to provide ongoing attention to the plants, ensuring they received appropriate care, watering, and monitoring of their overall condition.
  2. The plants that failed to acclimate were identified, and new orders were submitted to replace those plants. Despite the additional cost and effort, the team was more than willing to reorder the plants to ensure their successful integration.
  3. Natura also worked closely with the new construction company to ensure that any potential delays in the future were minimized. This involved regular communication and collaboration with the construction company to ensure that the installation process was on track.

Challenge 2: The Great Texas Freeze

In the same year as this project, Texas experienced a devastating ice storm, resulting in the unfortunate death of several plants, causing substantial financial losses with thousands of dollars worth of stock rendered unusable.

Solution: Re-ordering plants

To overcome this challenge, the team swiftly devised a solution by reordering all the plants that had perished. Natura was happy to reorder the plants, even with the additional expenses involved. Their dedication to delivering a successful project superseded the obstacles faced.

By promptly reordering the plants, Natura ensured that the original vision of the projects could be fully fulfilled according to their plan. This solution showcased the team's commitment to providing a high-quality outcome, even in the face of unexpected circumstances.

Natura successfully resolved both of the above challenges without incurring any additional costs to Common Desk.

The Results

In addition to the aesthetic appeal of Common Desk's environment, this project generated numerous other outcomes that differentiated the company and played a pivotal role in its growth and success.

  • The plants in Common Desk's office spaces deliver a multitude of benefits to members, including a boost in productivity, reduced stress levels, and improved overall well-being. By surrounding members with natural elements, Common Desk creates an environment that fosters a positive and productive mindset. This results-driven approach translates into a thriving community of happy and successful members at Common Desk.
  • Common Desk's exceptional growth is directly linked to its steadfast dedication to delivering a top-tier experience, and one crucial factor in this success is the implementation of biophilic design. Through the integration of natural elements into their workspaces, Common Desk establishes a deep connection between individuals and their environment, cultivating a vibrant and flourishing community.
  • Natura's commitment to excellence prevailed throughout the project, defying the challenges and ultimately delivering a truly unique and striking environment for Common Desk. Despite the obstacles the team encountered, Natura remained unwavering in their determination, ensuring that nothing stood in the way of achieving Common Desk’s goals. 
  • The presence of plants in Common Desk's office spaces taps into humans' inherent connection to nature, instilling a profound sense of comfort among members. The abundance of greenery creates an environment that's inviting and pleasant to work in, making Common Desk stand out from competitors. Without the inclusion of plants, Common Desk risks a decline in membership, highlighting the vital role they play in attracting and retaining members. 
  • Common Desk's biophilic features offer a powerful competitive advantage by providing guests with a premium experience. Unlike competitors who may have incorporated greenery into their office space, Natura went above and beyond by strategically placing plants to create a non-sterile office environment. This attention to detail sets Common Desk apart and contributes to its continued success.

Still not convinced about the power of biophilic design in the workplace? Read our blog: Plants and corporate well-being: the perfect pairing. 

What the customer had to say

“One of the main things that I love about Natura is that I can call up any of the account executives, primarily Donna, who I've worked with for many years, and just ask her questions, check-in, say, ‘Hey, here's a problem, we need to fix it.’ And she's going to own it and make sure it's corrected. So I think it's about the relationship more than anything for me and what Natura offers. They have a large network and they’re able to help us expand across the country. We've been scaling our locations and so Natura has been able to scale with us or find partners across their network to continue providing plants within our spaces, even if they aren't in Dallas or Texas. So that's been super impactful. We haven't had to like wonder if Natura will be able to scale with us. It just happened naturally, which has been great.” - Austin Gauley, Head of Design at Common Desk.


“As far as choosing Natura, I think it was about just realizing I was going to have a personal connection with Donna and be able to continue scaling. I think going back to the other vendor which we had in mind, they had a smaller budget and they didn't have the network that Natura had to grow with us. Regardless of which city we were moving to, Natura was able to accommodate our needs, and meet our budgets and timelines, even when we were going into a new city that we haven't been in before. I can count on being able to call anyone at Natura, get some answers and things will be quickly adjusted. So their problem-solving skills for me is important.” Austin Gauley, Head of Design at Common Desk.


The challenges encountered by Natura during this project were truly extraordinary. The severe impact of the great Texas freeze and unforeseen construction delays presented formidable challenges, both in terms of timelines and financial implications. Nevertheless, Natura rose to the occasion, implementing ingenious solutions and putting in a relentless effort to ensure that Common Desk's vision was not compromised. 

By incorporating living elements and embracing biophilic design, we can eliminate the sterile quality that plagues our workplaces and instead cultivate vibrant, dynamic environments that harmonize with nature, fostering a profound sense of connection among us all. The collaboration between Common Desk, Natura, and the principles of biophilic design serves as an inspiring example.

Through this project, Natura has reaffirmed its position as a leader in creating exceptional spaces that not only meet the unique needs of our clients but also exceed their expectations. Natura remains dedicated to delivering outstanding results and continues to push boundaries in the pursuit of transforming workspaces into beautiful havens that foster a deep connection with nature. At Natura, we embrace obstacles as opportunities to innovate and excel, ensuring that every project reflects our dedication to going above and beyond.

Experience the transformative power of greenery in your workspace and harness the numerous benefits of biophilic design by reaching out to our experts today. Let us help your business create an environment that fosters well-being, productivity, and connection with nature.