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When a client's mission statement reads like a page out of a marketing textbook, it's a safe assumption that branding will play a significant role in the programming phase of the project—and any proposed designs should have impact and make a lasting impression. Such was the case with Millward Brown, part of media giant WPP, a firm that recently enlisted the help of HOK for its corporate relocation to the Chicago suburb of Lisle, IL.
As a company that aims "to provide research-based consultancy to help marketers successfully manage their brands, optimize the return on their media and communications investments, and create value for their businesses, employees and shareholders," it's understandable that the firm would seek for its own offices an image that is both distinct and memorable—which the project team at HOK Chicago executed with both precision and purpose.
HOK's first priority was to engage in the pre-design and real estate search process through producing test "fit plans" and evaluations of alternative buildings under consideration to determine which would best accommodate the client's objectives in terms of design opportunities and infrastructure. After a property was selected, the primary project goal was to create a 71,000-square-foot workplace that reflected the firm's culture, and would attract and retain the creative talent on which the company's reputation is based. HOK's scope of work also included the design of Millward Brown's new Midwest Data Center.
"Our goal was to design a space for Millward Brown that was youthful, with bright color and bold graphics and also to create a connection to their downtown Chicago location," says Tom Polucci, group vice president and director of interior design at HOK Chicago. "The building is along the expressway, the conduit between the two offices. We created a concept celebrating automotive movement, as seen in the graphics and finishes used throughout the space."
HOK designed a dynamic, forward looking environment that seamlessly integrates formal work areas with casual and collaborative spaces. An open floor plan that locates workstations at the perimeter and private offices at the core provides deep penetration of natural light and exterior views for all staff. The color palette is basically black-and-white with colorful accents introduced through the art program, carpeting and furniture forms. Bold graphics, including oversized treatments of the Millward Brown logo, enliven the predominantly monochromatic space and reinforce the corporate brand. Amenities such as a conference center, community gathering space and employee living room cater to the company's close-knit and interactive culture.
The business case for HOK's design of the Millward Brown space involved some impressive cost-savings moves: the new offices feature reuse of 90 percent of existing plumbing, 80 percent of the existing heat pumps and 75 percent of the existing ceiling system and grid. Through careful placement of full-height elements, the design solution avoided the costs associated with rework of existing systems and allowed these dollars to be allocated toward design elements of visual interest and functional improvement.
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3333 Warrenville Rd, Ste 400
Lisle, IL 60532
60 East Van Buren Street, 14th Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
Tom Polucci, Director of Interior Design
Craig Pierson, Project Manager
Kate Joyce © HedrichBlessing