Breaking the Waves with Green Furniture

Breaking the Waves with Green Furniture

The headquarters story is a familiar one. Consolidating a spread-out staff that had grown to almost 300 at the project’s start, Quiksilver sought a quirky space with enough potential to engage an enthusiastic workforce scarcely older than its clientele. Bauer and Wiley, hired during site selection, zeroed in on a tilt-up warehouse in the preliminary planning phase. The architects’ early involvement enabled them to upgrade a standard structure with a mezzanine (expanding the area from 80,000 to 110,000 sq. ft.), skylights and windows, and to plan all lighting, office space, mechanical and data systems.

Sought a quirky space upgrade standard structure
Sought a quirky space upgrade standard structure

Quiksilver’s design staff, organized into teams corresponding to the firm’s fashion labels, would work in self-contained design studios. Salespeople would show the lines in showrooms that open to the public area. This latter zone, according to principals Annette Wiley and Jay Bauer, was to incorporate “a killer lobby” as well as provide space for seasonal fashion shows and employee interaction. Executives would occupy private offices on the mezzanine.

The beach was an obvious choice for visual cues, and the designers initiated their metaphor with a polished concrete “boardwalk” that bisects the building and serves as the focal area for public and staff interaction. They continued the analogy with a treatment reminiscent of quaint beach shacks. Along one side of the boardwalk, slatted birch forms a curved wall articulating interconnected showrooms; these, in turn, are adjacent to roll-out bleachers for fashion show seating with comfortable seating chairs. The sun-soaked wood allusion continues throughout the installation. On the opposite side of the boardwalk, solid birch panels clad a partition separating public and administrative zones with large table, and also enclose the stairway to the mezzanine. Upstairs, slatted birch creates the bridge to the upper-level reception area. Slatted birch and birch panels, along with concrete, are used in various combinations to form four towers, reminiscent of lifeguard stands, which enclose service/support functions and signal adjacent break areas where the young and the restless can play.

Beyond this public/semi-private expanse lies the work center proper. Here, design studios, or “pits” as they’re called in Quiksilver parlance, consist of work stations clustered around a meeting room. In response to a right budget, most stations are recycled Ethospace units customized with rusted metal files and birch panels. Offices concentrated in the interior have Lumasite walls and doors for light penetration.

p2

The project was two years in design, ten months in construction. Collaborating with Bauer and Wiley’s partners were Ruth Hasell, project architect; Adrienne Cordrey, designer; and Sieglinde Pukke, technical architect.

p3

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