Wunderman Unplugged

OC Monthly Meeting & Wunderman Design Tour, Irvine, CA

On February 5th in downtown Irvine, IIDA Orange County hosted a tour of Wunderman’s California office designed by HOK. Led by Bryan Ickes, VP of Operations for Wunderman, the tour focused on the artistic details that energize and inspire the employees to create. Bryan explained, “When you come off the elevators, we wanted to make sure you didn’t know you were in [a corporate office]”.  The dimly lit dramatic elevator lobby opens into a reception area featuring objects from previous ventures such as a vintage London phone booth utilized in the popular “London Calling” campaign for Jaguar. While the phone booth is merely decorative, Bryan admits he still uses the line inside to refill the postage meter.

Wunderman wanted a dramatic piece of art for their reception area and after careful consideration of a real moose head, they landed on a paper mache wolf head instead. To make the decor stand out even more they asked each employee bring in a picture frame they no longer used to place on the wall around the wolf. Images of this installation serve as a background to their “how we do it” section of their website and is a constant reminder of their synergistic spirit.

Walking through the space you notice the strong focus on team areas and a lack of traditional work stations. Even at 6:30pm the office was nearly full with several employees (canine and human) working at their desk, in the kitchen, even on the outside patio. Drew Lewis, New Media Director for Wunderman, explained that the environment created by HOK and Knoll is so engaging that you never want to leave. Open benching systems by Knoll and comfortable lounge furniture provided by Systems Source encourage employees and clients alike to linger.

Creativity is evident in every tiny detail including naming collaboration rooms after popular music festivals and printers after mustache styles. Sending your important document to the “Handlebar” printer can’t help but add an extra spring in your step when retrieving it.

After touring an installation that felt more like a friend’s home than an office, it was apparent that HOK created a space as successful as the work Wunderman produces.

Emily Iwanicki
Andreu World America

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