ID Studios designs Lytx's new San Diego Headquarters: Designer Forum - Jun 2016
By Deborah Elliott
As an innovator in analytics tracking and safety programs for truck fleets, Lytx endeavors to save lives on the road through the use of technology. ID Studios was approached by the Lytx facilities manager in 2014 when the building lease came up for renewal, and the business’ substantial success and growth had the company looking onward and upward.
Working as a team, the designers and Lytx leadership navigated the building selection process with a series of test fits, successfully selecting the location for the new campus in San Diego, California. The team hit the ground running with design development, and within a year, Lytx moved into the new 71,000-square-foot headquarters.
Through visioning sessions, Lytx leadership shared the desire to reflect the evolving identity of its expanding market and employee workforce—diverse in generation, lifestyle and experience. The culture was found to be a forward-thinking, creative mindset balanced with a sense of history, professionalism and stability.
The driving mission of the corporate headquarters design was to provide a physical connection to Lytx’s unique culture and, in turn, remind employees daily that through the technology they develop, they are part of something bigger, something special. Lytx wanted to show employees their value and how they fit into, and ultimately create, the overall company culture. The professional identity of the company, while important, is not the bottom line; it is backed by unique individuals with personalities as vivid and active as their new office space.
In addressing the public aspect of the office, Lytx leadership wanted to keep the design and visual identity of the company relatable and down to earth as a reflection of its end users. Although Lytx is a tech company, the basis of the design was centered on the human experience rather than a “gadget gallery” with trendy technology. The design represents the company, and in a way, overall modern culture, with technological innovation tempered by an enduring connection to the human spirit. Technology can be seen in nearly every aspect of modern life, but people are ultimately the creators and drivers of that technology.
Inspiration was taken from this futuristic, yet grounded identity, and these contrasting elements were combined throughout the building.
The first impression when stepping into the lobby is of dynamic yet refined lines, incorporated into the faceted front of the reception desk and in stepped breaks in the surrounding walls. The Silk porcelain tile by Marazzi serves as a timeless foundation and support for the active architecture. Subtly slanted, the installation draws you in from the entry to a Masland area rug, a statement piece that anchors guest seating within the fresh, open area. Ceiling elements were also introduced to create an exaggerated perspective that draws visitors into the conference center and employee areas, hinting at the fun, forward-thinking employees beyond the double doors.
In contrast to the geometry in the space, copper and wood finishes evoke a sense of welcoming warmth and stability, echoing more of the respected history of Lytx as a professional, trustworthy and relatable company. Engineered wood flooring found a creative new home on the walls, making innovative use of a traditional product. The pairing of these warm natural materials and graphic angles created the visual language that communicates the important layers of the identity that Lytx sought to showcase.
Journeying farther into the space, down to the internal and public training rooms, additional elements of surprise include the unique architecture of the training room facade and the collaborative booth spaces built into the wall. Upbeat, fresh colors and elements like linear pendants and patterned fabrics provide inspiring nooks for both meetings and individual work.
Within the adjacent open workspace, where the majority of the individual and team work occurs, several design features highlight Lytx’s focus on its employees. Connection to the outdoors was achieved by adding skylights and moving enclosed offices to the interior of the building to maximize natural light and open the sight line to the exterior views for all employees.
In such an open area with few walls, the flooring finishes and layout in the workspace were largely utilized to energize the open floor plate, provide wayfinding across the expansive space, and continue the visual link to the vibrant culture. The artistic patterns and fresh colors of Mohawk’s Street Thread modular carpet tile collection provide the perfect palette. The collection includes a variety of patterns with coordinating colors that encourage a high level of flexibility for a team motivated to create a custom look.
The design team created different zones and landmarks with the flooring, while incorporating another layer of the angular aesthetic, banding brightly colored carpet tiles along and around architectural elements for a surprising and impactful detail. From a functional standpoint, productivity is increased by clear differences between energized central meeting areas and more quiet, heads-down areas such as blocks of workstations and offices.
Differentiating between focused work areas with yellow accents and meeting areas with the bolder orange allows employees to easily navigate and use a variety of types of meeting spaces spread throughout the building for increased collaboration.
Achieving the look of a bright, outward glow around the architectural destinations was particularly challenging, and took an especially high level of participation from all parties. It was accomplished with the ombre pattern from neutral to the bright colors of Mohawk’s Pop Icon carpet tile. By design, the location of the color gradation isn’t always consistent from tile to tile, so boxes were hand-sorted to create a constant color edge around the perimeter. To complete the tailored look, the installation team meticulously cut mitered corners, which also required matching gradients.
Central circulation paths and break areas between the workspaces encourage social interactions for spontaneous teamwork. Oblique ceiling elements and aligned gradient carpet patterns lead around the centralized pathways and into the employee support areas. Here the angles and colorful accents continue to provide employees with a positive, upbeat work area.
A HOSPITALITY SPACE
Within the coffee break areas, warm woods and textural materials are featured to draw people in to relax and recharge. The main cafe is designed to be a departure from the rest of the building, so that employees can decompress by feeling like they are in a restaurant or coffee shop during breaks. With an invigorating green and purple color palette, organic shaped cabinetry, and floating open wood ceiling elements, the Lytx cafe does not feel like a typical office cafeteria.
To enhance the non-corporate, hospitality feel of the cafe, a wood-look flooring with a more traditional aesthetic was introduced. Mohawk Select Step vinyl plank was chosen for its modern colors and detailed grain pattern, combined with the inherent wear resistance and cleanability of LVT. The wood tones of Select Step also reinforce the sought after relationship to an outdoor space off the cafe, where the property owner, the Irvine Company, provided rejuvenated landscaping connected to a second building on the site.
The buildings were originally intended to act as a campus, with their placement on the site welcoming people in and providing a sense of arrival. Within a year of moving in to this well positioned site, growth has prompted Lytx to take on the second building as well, and the team is undertaking an expansion into a true campus during Phase Two. The materials and layout concept of the flooring will be carried over as a strong design element to unite the two buildings and to continue the expression of Lytx’s culture.
Ultimately, Lytx headquarters is a place tailored to the technology-focused individuals who inhabit the space, working toward cutting-edge advancements that save lives. The employees leave their mark on the company culture as it continues to grow in space that supports their dynamic work day.
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