Woodinville, WA

Nortis is a biotech company with locations in Seattle and Woodinville, WA. Founded by former UW faculty and spun-out in 2011, Nortis has developed technologies for generating small segments of human tissues and organs in microfluidic chips for the in vitro study of human health and disease.  

The technology represents an important alternative to lab animals in pharmaceutical drug development, where more predictive preclinical test models are urgently needed to increase clinical trial success. This advance will overcome a large barrier to developing therapeutic drugs and vaccines for diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, infectious diseases, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.  

Nortis is dedicated to developing a new generation of in vitro systems that advance the discovery of novel therapies and reduce the timeline and costs associated with their translation into the clinic.  - Nortis, Inc 

As Nortis focuses on innovating a wide range of micro-environments, their rapidly expanding company is quickly out-growing their macro-environment in Woodinville, WA. At the same time, their brand identity and marketing strategies are evolving to align with their coporate core values and executive goals. Perfect timing to bring SZ on board to work closely with Nortis' leadership team in providing the following expertise.

Workplace Strategies - from risk assessment & mitigation planning to dynamic, forward-thinking programming
Brand Guardian & Storytelling - every space, place & person has a story; the telling of them, in words or design, is where the magic happens
Employee Experience Design - shaping end-to-end employee experiences that create measurable results & happy employees
Real Estate Due Diligence - develop tailored site selection scorecard to inform lease options and capital expenditure budgets

As part of our Programming efforts, SZ conducted in-depth interviews with all department leads to gain greater insights into the impressive work being done at Nortis. We wanted to better understand their inner-workings; what inspires them; how they tick. Our ultimate goal was to get into the mindset of the Nortis culture & brand. From there, we found our springboard into strategic and design solutions. 

Our Design Concept: Assembly vs Growth found its roots when watching Neri Oxman, Architect, speak about 'Design at the Intersection of Technology & Biology'. She eloquently pioneers a new age of symbiosis, which we felt directly aligned with the heart and soul of Nortis. Their Woodinville location houses an Environmentally Conditioned Area (ECA) which manufactures their 'chip'. This clean room embodies the engineered, mechanical, synthetic qualities of an assembly line. In poetic contrast is the organic growth of what occurs within these microfluidic chambers of the Nortis chip. We sought to create a built environment that not only facilitates their day-to-day efforts, but also inspires a symbiotic experience.