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Workplace

Acquia’s new HQ ditches offices

Collaboration and comfort take priority at Acquia’s new headquarters on State Street in Boston, where   padded nooks allow  employees to put their feet up on the job.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Collaboration and comfort take priority at Acquia’s new headquarters on State Street in Boston, where padded nooks allow employees to put their feet up on the job.

When the Web software company Acquia moved to downtown Boston from its former home in Burlington, chief executive Tom Erickson’s interest in the look and feel of the new headquarters didn’t stop at his own office.

In fact, Erickson doesn’t even have an office. Like just about everyone else, he’s got a desk out in the open, along the banks of windows at Acquia’s two-floor headquarters in the Exchange Place building on State Street.

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“That’s despite many attempts by people who said I need an office because I deal with blah blah blah,” Erickson noted with a smile.

Acquia’s new space makes room for lots of collaboration. That means plenty of touches that might seem more at home in a trendy apartment or a corner coffee shop: couches and chairs covered with bright fabrics, executive meeting rooms with low tables and relaxed seats, and cushioned nooks cut into the walls where workers can plop down with their laptops.

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Erickson said that ideas from Japanese and European office design helped influence Acquia’s new space. That includes the focus on collaborative workspaces and the emphasis on desks near windows, increasing employees’ exposure to natural light.

There are some high-tech touches too, befitting Acquia’s role as a provider of website software for publishers, e-commerce companies, and government agencies.

The office’s lobby is dominated by a two-floor wall of video monitors that can be configured to show an abstract design or a series of individual images. Lighting in the elevator foyer has a nightclub feel and constantly changes colors. It might be orange one moment, and blue the next.

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A conference room tucked just behind that video wall has one of the most startling features: Its “smart glass” walls, which look a bit foggy at first, become completely opaque, white-frosted barriers with the flick of a switch.

“We wanted to create a wow factor,” Erickson said. “You should come in and say, ‘This is not a normal company.’”

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