Designer Forum: KGA Architecture’s design of UFC’s headquarters - July 2019

By Chelsea Lavell

The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Performance Institute and corporate headquarters, located in Las Vegas, is designed to support the worldwide sports organization in growing its media operations, enhancing the health and skill of its fighters, and further developing its strong corporate culture.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
KGA Architecture’s design team immersed itself in the UFC’s purpose, brand and operations in order to provide a facility design that reflects the function and identity of the UFC. The design team chose concrete as the primary building material to echo the toughness that is key to the UFC brand values.

The main visitor entrance showcases a series of weathered steel elements that frame the corporate headquarters, punctuated by a mirrored architectural feature containing one of the conference rooms. KGA wanted the mirrored feature to reflect upon the approaching visitor and their surroundings, first outdoors and then inside the double-height lobby, which upon entry immerses them in the UFC’s organizational identity.

KGA’s design team created an entirely separate entrance for access to the UFC Performance Institute. This part of the campus is focused on athlete training and media relations. It features a two-level gymnasium with nutrition bars, therapy pools, a hyperbaric chamber and workout areas with an indoor-outdoor connection to the central courtyard. Controlled media access leads to an auditorium for press conferences with a glazed rear wall providing a view of a full-size fighting octagon within the workout area, placing a strong focus on a core element of the sport’s identity.

UFC’S INTERIOR SPACES PACK A PUNCH
The lobby space features static and multimedia design elements steeped in UFC brand imagery and history, while providing controlled access to general and executive office areas, the café, the central courtyard and the conference room. To reinforce the brand identity, KGA selected polished concrete as the primary floor material for the main lobby. It provided the desired look with its clean, natural grey, creating a floor that is mostly seamless with a bit of a textured appearance. KGA balanced the masculinity of the concrete surface with a Contract Braided Charcoal Felt rug by Modern Rugs as well as natural wood textures, soft seating, decorative lighting and live plants that add warmth to the space.

Just down the hall from the lobby lives the core of the building’s social life: the UFC café. The design focus was just that-a single place where all employees would want to gather during their breaks. The café is situated in the center of the building to emphasize assembly of all departments, and it features a sweeping Artego terrazzo floor-designed by Arcon Global-to connect each side of the building together. Patcraft’s Wood Planx LVT in Hazel Oak was used to provide warmth to the seating area as well as place emphasis on the space. The café area is filled with natural light, and, on beautiful days, folding glass doors can be opened to allow access to the fresh air and the café courtyard. Large architectural statements in the ceiling were created to provide the feeling of an intimate gathering space amid the variety of seating types provided.

UFC’S CORPORATE CULTURE
Beyond the café, the design team looked to enhance the UFC’s corporate culture of unity and team spirit by creating environments centered on the well-being of the employees and to encourage employee movement. Collaborative workspaces were interspersed throughout the open office, each with a unique seating configuration and color palette, media capability and recreational component. Pops of color were added through the blending of Shaw Contract’s Achromatic carpet tile collection in Charcoal and its Saturate collection in Yellow, Pink and Cyan. KGA worked closely with a local Las Vegas company, Faciliteq, to provide all of the open office and collaborative work area furniture needs.

By creating diverse types of meeting and collaborative workspaces throughout the office, employees seek out different places to work, depending on the need. In addition to the physical health benefits of movement throughout the office, mental health and creativity are enhanced as people interact with one another.

Additional collaborative work spaces were placed outdoors in the courtyard, including exterior meeting rooms and an amphitheater, which can act as a gathering space for the entire staff. The goal was to create ample social “collisions” to encourage innovation and networking within the organization.

Natural daylight was also a primary design consideration throughout the facility, particularly in office areas. KGA featured tall windows distributed along the building perimeter, throwing light deep into the space. Private offices, held toward the center of each office wing, feature a glass front facing in the direction of the open office and perimeter windows, allowing the private offices to also take advantage of the natural light-enhancing employee happiness and furthering the spirit of openness was a primary objective. Mannington Commercial’s Amtico Signature collection wood-look LVT connects the open office spaces to the private offices and provides a durable solution for the circulation pathways.

UFC’S BRAND IDENTITY
The executive office spaces on the second floor center around naturally occurring materials to elevate the level of finish while also remaining true to the brand identity. The executive lobby and both executive office conference rooms showcase a unique end-grain cut wood floor from the Oregon Lumber Company. The Worthwood Engineered End Grain collection in European white oak was further softened with beautiful area rugs and furnishings that provide a layering of textures and ease the rigidity of the natural architectural finishes. The executive reception area leading to the Ronda Rousey conference room features a rug by Gan Contract, and inside the conference room, the meeting area is offset with a custom rug designed by Calle Henzel of Henzel Studio. The Muhammad Ali conference room also makes use of the Worthwood wood flooring and is topped with a selection from Brintons’ Timorous Beasties Craigend carpet collection.

The main circulation spaces throughout this level feature marble-clad executive assistant desks bounded by contrasting finishes, like Siena’s Cobblestone Stockholm collection carpet and oversized artwork installations on textured architectural feature walls. Emphasizing the sense of arrival to this space was a high priority while still maintaining a comfortable working environment for the users and their guests.

By thoughtfully reflecting the UFC’s Performance Institute culture, operations and purpose, the UFC corporate headquarters has become a physical embodiment of the organization. KGA’s team designed with an eye on adaptability and growth in order to remain relevant for years to come.

Copyright 2019 Floor Focus