Just Push Play

Interior Architects designs a headquarters for Harmonic that turns up the volume on collaboration through transparency and a focus on serenity.

by AnnMarie Martin

As a global leader in high-definition hardware and software video delivery solutions for broadcast, cable, satellite, internet, mobile and telecom video service providers, Harmonic had to be sure its new 188,000-square-foot headquarters in San Jose, Calif. captured the company's forward-thinking nature. But equally as important to company leaders was showing their employees how integral they are to Harmonic's success, and the importance of taking time to recharge and reboot.

"They wanted to convey open, humble, lean and transparent—those were the objectives in general," says Don Lam, AIA, LEED AP, managing principal of Interior Architects.

One way to make employees feel special was to create a new entryway at the back of the building where parking is located. Right off that entrance is the cafeteria and fitness center, showing employees their well-being is Harmonic's top priority.

But collaboration was also a top priority for the company; with three stories, all on large, crescent-shaped floorplates measuring about 60,000 square feet each, it can be difficult for everyone to stay connected. "One of the ways to enhance the employee experience was to create a main corridor to link everything together, which we broke up with nodes so employees can gather," says Lam. Impromptu meetings in these nooks benefit from communication tools, whiteboards and lounge furniture.

From play to pause, the cafeteria reminds employees to take a break with the multi-colored pause buttons placed on the wall. Outside is a zen-like patio area, surrounded by bamboo shoots, to truly diversify it from work areas and allow employees to return to their projects invigorated.

And from pause to fast forward, the reception area exemplifies an honest intelligence that wants to welcome others along for the ride toward Harmonic's future endeavors. A two-story wall of multiple video screens features the company's quality products on a wooden backdrop, with the wood representing a "down-to-earth" mentality. The random placement of the monitors shows the company doesn't want to apply too much structure. "They wanted a little playfulness to it," says Lam, and it's that lighthearted spirit that IA created throughout the headquarters which fosters the innovative thinking the company prides itself on.