After the design of their Boston headquarters, MullenLowe engaged TPG to design its new campus in Winston-Salem, NC: a 38,000 square foot space in the city’s newly developed Innovation Quarter. The office design was an opportunity to create a strong communications touchpoint expressing MullenLowe’s identity as “challenger” in the advertising industry, a scrappy do-everything ad firm with a global reach.
MullenLowe’s staff work in multiple disciplines for diverse clientele, so their space had to be flexible and inspirational. The program required an assortment of collaborative spaces including conference rooms, huddle booths, photo and recording studios, and a media screening room with stadium seating. The overall design concept was to celebrate the existing structure, a repurposed century-old tobacco processing plant, by using floating free forms to create a space within the space. Structural concrete walls, columns, and beams were left exposed, still coated with nearly a century of layered paint, which was minimally sandblasted to prevent peeling. Massive intersecting boxes brought focus and continuity to the plan, dividing the raw space into neighborhoods and myriad creative environments.
Finishes and furniture were inspired by the raw space; the free form boxes were clad in plywood and dark-gray painted sheet rock, while the chair colors were sampled from the peeling paint on the concrete walls.