Photo Essay: Working Display

By Robert Nieminen

Charged with renovating the corporate headquarters for Dannon Co., the design firm of Perkins Eastman created a more effective office that fosters collaboration while showcasing the client's product line in a dynamic new environment.


With a household brand as well-recognized as Dannon, one would expect that the home for the consumer goods giant would be as inviting and refreshing as the products it sells, and would live up to the company's current slogan, "Better Every Day." However-until recently-that was not the case for the Greenburgh, NY-based company.

Dannon realized that its existing 60,900-square-foot corporate office failed to meet the particular, dynamic needs of the company and discouraged collaboration. In short, the 280-person headquarters simply did not reflect the success of the company's products. Additionally, the organization sought to promote a superior work environment that fostered an open, non-hierarchical collaboration for its four product divisions.

To achieve the desired goals for its new headquarters, Dannon sought the assistance of Stamford, CT-based Perkins Eastman to completely renovate the outdated space. The challenge of this project was to design a marketing and sales headquarters that promoted the company experience and to "work with the very demanding and extraordinary CEO to translate his company's vision and brand into architecture at a reasonable budget," explains Elisabeth Post-Marner, AIA, principal/design director for Perkins Eastman.

Since the office also functions as a marketing tool for Dannon's products, it not only needed to serve as an efficient workplace but also as a display area that would showcase the company's product line. The concept of the company experience unfolding as a series of public spaces began the design process.

The existing grid-like, office-based work environment was re-engineered into an open plan with curved walls that break up the monotony of the space. These walls create pockets in the floor plan that serve as display areas, creating a museum-like experience that seamlessly coexists amidst the everyday functions of an office.

European furnishings in conjunction with elegant interior treatments that include a muted color palette, maple-wood veneers, white Italian terrazzo tiles, sculptured carpet, sliding glass partitions, and stainless steel and absolute black granite surfaces establish a modern, forward-thinking office that complements Dannon's corporate identity.

Upon entrance into the reception area, curvilinear architecture and a pastel finished palette is enhanced by the placement of a choice selection of framed advertisements dating back 50 years or more to complete the success of the project. In the "tasting room" the senses of sight, taste and smell are brought into play as the final part of a marketing presentation.

The plan's core revolves around the centralized tasting room, mimicking the shape of the company's logo swirl; circular conference rooms radiate from the tasting room and help to define four neighborhoods for the various business divisions. Each quadrant is identified by a circular conference room or hub. Offices are inboard with glass walls, while the majority of the employees, housed in low-height workstations, are benefited by rural views.

The company's signature "blue" label was replicated in accent light fixtures and as a wall accent, creating a "ribbon-like" element throughout the space. In the end, the design team was able to successfully introduce a refreshing twist of color and curvilinear architecture to help align the company's image with a more progressive and productive office space.



The Dannon Company
100 Hillside Ave., 3rd Fl.
White Plains, NY 10603
(877) 326-6668


Perkins Eastman
422 Summer St.
Stamford, CT  06901
(203) 251-7400


Lorenzo Vascotto, VVA


Elisabeth Post-Marner, principal-in-charge &  design director

Ruxandra Panaitescu, senior project manager

Jeannette Kim, project architect

Dana Munro Winters, designer

Beth Genova, workplace specialist

Jose DeSucre, designer


Bovis Lend Lease


Woodruff & Brown