Oct 23, 2015
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THEME: Workplace

Integrating Brand, Culture, and Place: Haworth’s LA Showroom

Perkins+Will has fostered a strong relationship with Haworth Inc., collaborating on projects with the office furniture leader over the last three decades. Haworth’s commitment to excellence, attention to detail, and design-centric ethos has enabled our teams to deliver numerous successful showrooms. Each one is unique and tells an authentic story of its city, cultural context, and location. The new Haworth LA showroom was no exception. In fact, we even turned up the volume a few notches.

SETTING THE STAGE

Our client was very strategic in the selection of the perfect space that would provide ample opportunity for the brand and its users. Located on the top floor of 444 South Flower St., in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the new showroom offers 360-degree panoramic views. The richness of the downtown neighborhoods hug the forefront, while the Pacific Ocean and Hollywood Hills offer an astonishing backdrop. Haworth wanted to commemorate their long history of doing business in LA by showcasing a genuine understanding of the city and its culture. As the conceptual process began, the team was immediately drawn to the simple design language of mid-century modern interior architecture found in various homes around Los Angeles. They were equally enamored with the expressive nature and potent messaging of graffiti and street art, prevalent on large walls and exterior surfaces. Both of these notions play a distinct role in characterizing life in the City of Angels. They are also indicative of Haworth’s design thinking, brand personality and aesthetic. The ultimate goal was to introduce an environment where the two respective voices could live in harmony, creating a memorable experience only found in LA, brought to you by Haworth.

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Located on the 48th floor of an office tower in downtown Los Angeles, the project afforded the Branded Environments team a lot of inspirational fodder

Los Angeles' streetlife and legacy of Midcentury Modern design helped inform the design of Haworth's showroom in the City of Angels.

Los Angeles’ streetlife and legacy of Midcentury Modern design helped inform the look of Haworth’s new showroom.

BUILDING ON THE BRAND

Haworth has had a distinct point-of-view from its inception—and their brand continues to evolve. While firm and grounded in their values and core essence to create beautiful effective, and adaptable workspaces, the company is dedicated to innovation and reinventing their presence within the market. The new LA showroom was a platform to do just that. Our Branded Environments group worked with the Haworth team to develop and implement a cohesive story that connects the interior environments of the showroom with the adjacent street culture of downtown LA. Utilizing primary elements of the brand’s graphic language, we reinterpreted the expression of the brand relative to its current context.

CONNECTING WITH THE CITY

The Haworth tangram— a graphic pattern composed of various basic shapes— was translated into a more artistic, less geometric vernacular. Perfect circles, triangles, squares, and rectangles morphed into bold, organic gestures. We produced a wide variety of sketches inspired by LA graffiti and various styles of street art. The differences in pattern, shape and form, were reflective of the diversity of cultures in the surrounding downtown neighborhoods. Working closely with the Haworth team, our Atlanta branded environments and New York interiors group narrowed the selection of concepts down to a few distinct statements that would become true brand “moments” integrated within the space. We identified several key areas throughout the showroom, mapped out very specific zones on the floor plan, and refined the individual artworks to complement the interior spaces.

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Color and scale were given close attention as we brought vibrancy and vitality to the interior with expressions typically seen outdoors. The main feature is a floor-to-ceiling, graffiti-inspired wall covering that wraps the elevator corridor leading up to the reception desk. Behind the reception, the Haworth logo rests above stacked layers of free-flowing line work. In the kitchen area, the backsplash is a back-painted glass wall that rises to the ceiling, with iconic graphic patterning applied to the front surface. The large conference room is activated with a bright, rhythmic mural along the back wall. Inspirational messaging— the phrase “Imagine Your Space”— was printed directly to Haworth’s wood product wall and three-dimensional letters were attached as a second layer. The common thread of these graphic gestures is an abstract interpretation of Haworth’s tangram, which spans the glass outside of meeting rooms and private offices throughout the space.

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A WIN-WIN

An immersive process of understanding the project context, honoring Haworth’s vision, and elevating the brand allowed our team to create a one-of-a-kind experience. Our design solutions were uninhibited yet intentional and relevant to the culture of Los Angeles. We challenged Haworth to move beyond conventional standards and visualize their personality growing into this exciting new environment, and they gladly accepted. Each of the graphic elements that were created are custom designs that they can take ownership of as uniquely Haworth. The new LA showroom is evocative of the city, true to the Haworth brand, and an original piece of artwork in itself.

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