Customer highlight: Lighthouse Group

Will Payne
Feb 27, 2020

Lighthouse Group embarked on a full office transformation with the help of TRELLIS.


Lighthouse Group brought in the TRELLIS team to work with Via Design to help build their new downtown Grand Rapids office. We worked through the Living Office framework to understand what was important to Lighthouse and how they wanted to shift their culture to grow as an organization.

Lighthouse was growing and growing fast. They were quickly running out of space at their current facility They knew they had to make a change. But building a new headquarters was more than an opportunity to add workstations. It was a chance to assess their culture and make changes that would push their company forward. 

"Lighthouse Group’s partnership with TRELLIS has been an incredible experience. The TRELLIS team has invested in learning about our culture, people and goals in order to make customized recommendations ensured our workspace moved us forward in each area. From meeting areas that are designed to support effective information sharing, landing spaces that support natural flow before and after meetings, to intentional space for focused projects, every setting has a purpose that was well thought out and designed to meet our needs."

- Sarah Hudson, VP of Operations

We worked through our living office discovery process to assess their culture's current state and dream about where they wanted to go. With these goals defined, we built them into a furniture plan that would help them achieve them. Starting with 110 workstations and plans to add up to 40 more (which they already have!), Lighthouse loves their new space.

"I have seen actual improvements in our bottom line from this transformation. I cannot imagine going with our first iteration of private offices around the edge and a bullpen in the middle. We are collaborating more, learning from other departments, and having more fun. TRELLIS has been an exceptional partner." 

- Tom Helmstetter, CEO

Scroll through the photos below to see their space and some of our living office concepts in action.  For example, this "clubhouse" for their sales team to host weekly meetings in a casual setting sharing different types of content. 


Or this "warm up-cool down" space for employees to chat before and after meetings and let the current meeting know you are on deck.


Throughout the space, we designed conference rooms - mixing in both seated and standing height positions for employees to feel comfortable. Believe it or not, there's a lot of thought that goes into meeting space posture with research to back it up.

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All employees received adjustable height desks. We brought in an ergonomic expert to train users on setting up their desks for maximum comfort and productivity.

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One of the keys to this project's success was the leadership team's openness to think differently about how they work. They knew their transformation needed to start from the top. You can see Tom Helmstetter, CEO, working in his new office, set up out in the open in the picture below. We went through several design iterations that ultimately led us to an open plan (with plenty of spaces for privacy on demand) that allowed teams to collaborate freely and share knowledge across departments.

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If you walk through their space, you will see meetings happening everywhere throughout the open plan. 

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Furniture alone can't change the culture. We used the office move and design process as a catalyst to think through several policies and behaviors that Lighthouse wanted to change. For example, they built this beautiful plaza right off the kitchen area for team members to eat lunch, strongly encouraging them to forgo lunch at their desks. This is a great way to build camaraderie among employees and fuel serendipitous collaboration. It also avoids the unwanted smells in the office!


Lighthouse was an absolute joy to work with, and we are continuing to transform their offices across the state - just completing their new Muskegon location.

If you would like to learn more about Lighthouse and the transformation journey, be sure to check out full Lighthouse Group Story here.

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