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Open for Innovation

Global product innovator 3M opens its doors to a new Customer Technical Center in Bogota, Colombia, where it will share its technology portfolio with the public.

By Robert Nieminen

Global product innovator 3M opens its doors to a new Customer Technical Center in Bogota, Colombia, where it will share its technology portfolio with the public.


When a multinational corporation that employs nearly 80,000 employees across 65 countries wants to connect with the public to share its vast technology portfolio and engage in customer-inspired innovation, what does it do? In the case of 3M, it opens another one of its innovative (and sustainable) Customer Technical Centers (CTC)—this time, in the growing market of Bogota, Colombia.

The new Customer Technical Center features 17 showrooms that will showcase 3M technologies, capabilities and products for the Latin American market. Customers will be able to touch and test multiple 3M products and learn about their various applications in the on-site teaching rooms. In addition, the center will serve as a central ideas hub for accelerating the development of new products and services locally.

"3M needed the building to work as a showroom and at the same time as a training space for each of the divisions, so we designed open areas for each of the divisions with movable tables designed for specific uses, floor power outlets as well as compressed air ceiling outlets in order to provide a flexible space that can be arranged according to specific needs for each type of training," explains Juan P. Campos, design director for Arquitectura e Interiores (AI), the lead firm for the project.

"The new building was designed next to an existing building which belongs to the architectural heritage of the city," Campos adds. "It created a relationship with the existing building without ignoring the value of this, building a set of elements designed in different times. They are part of the representation of the spirit of the times that each was built."

The pergola access features a glass tunnel entrance at both ends. The front double-height curtain wall on one side acts as a filter between the outside and inside of the building, where visitors can appreciate the pure forms that define the adjacent building's architectural heritage.

The two-story, daylit atrium features a green wall on one side and a series of finished modules in an adhesive film that resembles aluminum on the other, which mimics the pattern of the metal stairs that connect the two floors. "The entry lobby is conceived as an itinerant place for events, as well as for exposure of portfolios for specific markets from the elements available to each of the different divisions of the company," says Campos.

The new center's modern design includes a vertical garden representing Colombian biodiversity while demonstrating to visitors how technology and nature can work together. The project is currently under review for LEED certification. "The priority of doing the project under the sustainability approach was a guideline from 3M headquarters, as well as the environmental and social conscience towards the planet," he adds.

Sustainable features in the new building include:

  • Water efficiency strategies that reduce water consumption through dry urinals, dual flush toilets and water-saving faucets, as well as harvested rain water reused for landscape irrigation.
  • Energy-efficient lighting fixtures, window management and highly-efficient mechanical equipment for ventilation designed under the ASHRAE 62.1 standard.
  • Locally-sourced materials containing a high percentage of recycled content; extensive use of FSC-certified wood; classification of debris and recycling of materials during construction; and development of a recycling plan for the building's operation.

More than 70 3M products were used in the facility including fire barrier products, graphic materials, touch screens, tapes, electrical systems, volition systems, Scotchgard protector and floor tech systems. Customer Technical Centers are unique to 3M, which now has over 30 such CTC's located all across the world.


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Avenida El Dorado No. 75-93
Bogota, Columbia
+(1) 4161666 /4161655

project team
Arquitectura e Interiores
Carrera 14 # 98 -51
Bogota, Colombia
(800) 504-7018 (U.S.)


Andrés Valbuena