How Lyndsay Clark helped design Gravitate to be the community’s center

(Guest post by Lyndsay Clark) In recent years, another buzzword has been added to our ever growing lexicon in the tech world: co-working. The idea of collaborative working was established in response to a frustration many experienced while working independently or remotely for an organization from their home or a coffee shop. These frustrations led

Photo from Welch AvenueEarlier this year, when it came time to decide what the Des Moines community needed after StartupCity Des Moines would shut its doors, a new venture was proposed to take its place. Last week, Gravitate officially opened to the public on the third floor of the Midland Building. We asked Lyndsay Clark, one of the key people in designing the space, to share some of the decisions that went into making the space what visitors see today.

About the author: Lyndsay Clark is the co-founder of Bloomsnap, a startup that makes ordering flowers online quick and easy. She also helped plan and design the space at Des Moines’ newest “entrepreneurial center of gravity,” Gravitate.


In recent years, another buzzword has been added to our ever-growing lexicon in the tech world: co-working.

The idea of collaborative working was established in response to a frustration many experienced while working independently or remotely for an organization from their home or a coffee shop. These frustrations led them to form a space shared by other organizations with amenities similar to an office and exploded after people came to realize the value of working with like-minded people, where spontaneous interactions could lead to new thoughts and ideas.

But how exactly do you explain the benefits of a co-working space to someone who has never heard of the term before? While working from home at first can have its advantages, overall many of those who choose to work in a co-working space will tell you the same thing—they missed the human interaction, collaboration and community that came with an office.

With that, we set out to create a beautiful, functional space fit for the Des Moines tech community that invited collaboration, innovation and serendipitous interactions. Interior design can make or break an office, affecting moods and attitudes of the individuals working there while creating opportunities for collaboration and conversation. It can define the energy and guide like-minded individuals the opportunity to work together and build amazing things.

After looking at a few other co-working spaces and also taking into account what was missing from the current options in Des Moines, we came up with a list of our musts for Des Moines’ newest co-working space and community center, Gravitate.Photo by Megan Bannister

Early on in the process, we recognized the necessity in bringing diversity to the types of areas the members could work in. Going with a more modern color palette that includes shades of gray and bright pops of primary colors as well as light, neutral hardwood floors, we were able to design a bright, open office that focuses each area while still feeling fun and collaborative throughout.

Our first focus was creating a dedicated workspace for individuals to work without any distractions. Filled with floating, standing and fixed desk options for whatever your working preference might be that day as well as glass dry erase boards to use for discussion, the open co-working Bullpen holds the perfect energy for a heads down, concentrated mentality.

It’s also important to recognize the need for a space focused on reflection, collaboration and discussion in a more casual environment. The Lounge (above), as opposed to the Bullpen, was designed with fun, eclectic furniture and is encouraged for you to do anything from answering a few emails to discussing a new feature with a co-worker.

Photo by Megan BannisterWith all types of people coming through, we wanted to design an area that nurtured spontaneous interaction. With that in mind, the Cafe located next to the Lounge inspires conversation with its bright color and decor (coming soon!) while people chat over a coffee or their lunch. After all, some of the best relationships are built over a coffee or lunch date.

Finally, with offices and conference rooms located around the perimeter of the space (left), members have the option to have their own space while still being exposed to fresh energy and ideas.

As with any startup, over the next few months Gravitate will learn from its members what they want out of the space and will adapt to those needs. Our hope is that we’ve laid the groundwork for anyone who comes into this space to succeed.

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