A couple of weeks ago, while at the Influx Ideas Conference in San Francisco, we sat in on a great presentation by Scott Wyatt, an architect with NBBJ in Seattle. His presentation was about branding from the inside out – how architecture can play a powerful role in shaping both how a brand is perceived by it’s consumers and represented by it’s employees. He talked about how NBBJ’s buildings typically reflect months and months of research examining each brand’s unique personalities. They try and find a brand’s inner integrity and then build it into the core of the building.
Our favorite example was the Reebok World Headquarters located just outside of Boston. NBBJ also designed Nike’s headquarters, but where Nike’s brand is all about winning, Reebok is about playing. Once identified, that single aspect was worked into the entire layout of the building. A running track seamlessly weaves through the compound, little league fields surround the building, the sound of sneakers squeaking from an indoor basketball court can be heard in the lobby. The building exudes playfulness. Employees cannot escape it – they are forced to engage with it – think about – participate in it. Likewise, the kids playing baseball on fields cannot distinguish their favorite past time from the brand that provides it.
NBBJ’s describes their vision:
It provides a work environment interwoven with sports and fitness that unites its people with the activities that inspire their products. The campus consists of four office buildings distributed along a circulation spine and spaced by support functions that are essential to the development, presentation, and sale of Reebok products.
The headquarters represent a new type of work environment for the people of Reebok – a place that connects work and workplace with life and lifestyle.