Designer Forum: Studio 1200's design of Mane USA's New Jersey Headquarters - Jun 19

By Victoria Plummer

Mane USA, a family-owned French fragrance and flavor company, partnered with Studio 1200 to create a 70,000-square-foot facility, consolidating multiple offices into one U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, New Jersey.

The Studio 1200 design team, led by Sandee Markwith, principal and interior designer, and Susan Menk, creative director and senior designer, was thrilled to collaborate with Mane on this project. “Because we are a boutique firm, we can offer innovative design along with a more personal level of service,” says Markwith. “We know the New Jersey corporate market extremely well, having specialized in it for over 13 years. We also have experience in many hospitality, laboratory, retail and residential spaces, and this project was exciting as it allowed us to combine all these space types. It’s not often you have offices, a hair salon and laboratories all in the same project.”

INNOVATION STARTS HERE
This high-profile company creates the tastes and scents for many big-brand stores and well-known products. Chances are, many of the products consumers encounter daily use a scent or taste originally developed by Mane USA. The firm was founded 145 years ago as a fragrance distiller, creating scents from local flowers and plants in France, and has since grown into a worldwide operation. The project consolidated several offices into one global headquarters that would become a key United States center for research and development and consumer insight analysis.

The goals for Mane’s new headquarters were to shift to a more open workspace and to infuse branding throughout its headquarters. Specific industry challenges involved creating a space for a proprietary fragrance robot and introducing a top-of-the-line exhaust system so scents would not cross-pollinate. In addition to office spaces, a unique set of rooms was needed. These include extensive development and testing laboratories, candle burn rooms, a consumer insights and research center, and even a full-service hair salon, commercial grade laundry and a product showroom-the Mane Mart. A journey through the Mane office is a journey through the flavor- and scent-making process.

As the project moved forward, Mane selected two floors in a building that Studio 1200 was already familiar with, having recently refreshed its lobby. Studio 1200 designed the building’s two-story atrium lobby with a dramatic fireplace and seating area centered in the space, creating a focal point for employees and guests alike. The tile flooring, manufactured by Stone Source, was specified for its durability. The contemporary wood paneled lobby segues into the elevator space, where employees and guests are ferried to the Mane offices.

THE MANE DIFFERENCE
Once within the Mane space, Studio 1200’s design delivers a clean and purposeful look. The entirety of the space reflects a modern and hygienic presence, utilizing a bright white color accented with Mane’s signature colors. In addition, the company’s brand is reinforced throughout the entire project, with a recurrence of the signature green color of the logo in the furniture, carpet and wall graphics.

Specially designed glass walls displaying graphics of chemical terpenes used in products create a striking and functional design element. These panels grace hallways and make an appearance in conference room and boardroom windows to provide privacy. Also, historical photographs of Mane’s first factories in France were enlarged to create dynamic visuals in the boardroom, conference rooms and breakout areas. An antique batteuse (an old-fashioned copper distillation tank) with the Mane logo was used as a focal point in the boardroom, again celebrating the Mane brand and honoring its history. In the cafeteria, a large mural incorporating the brand’s mission words-“passionate, true, inspired”-are intertwined with a graphic referencing poured liquid.

In the main office areas, glass flanks the building’s perimeter, allowing natural daylight to filter into the interior. Open workstations are strategically situated in the space with breakout collaboration areas positioned throughout-all to inspire more employee interaction. The workstations are comprised of two-desk “pods,” featuring ample desk and storage space for employees with a table situated between the two work areas. This gives employees the freedom to collaborate in a neutral space or to meet with another co-worker. These workstations feature Mannington Commercial’s Tread Hex carpet designed for high traffic/chair rolling. Circulation is defined throughout by the use of an LVT product, with carpet under the workstations and in the offices. The LVT flooring, Strand by Shaw Contract, was selected for the main walkways through the office areas for its durability as well as its sophisticated natural appearance. It also provides wayfinding throughout the space, connecting the public areas.

Strategically tucked in each building corner is a breakout/collaboration/pantry area. These feature a statement green carpet, Mannington Commercial’s Confluence, as well as organic-shaped ottomans. The ottomans are in the theme colors and provide movable extra seating or table areas. Extra-large windows provide a vista to the outdoors, linking the interior to the exterior.

UNIQUE TESTING GROUNDS
Much of the important work of creating the scents and tastes is done in the numerous laboratories. These labs design and analyze the scents and tastes experienced in candles, laundry detergent, cat litter, shampoo-any of a very large number of products. Each laboratory was carefully designed for its specific purpose, though some materials were carried throughout all. One was the flooring, Nora’s Noraplan Iona rubber flooring, selected because it is chemical-resistant and, as a rolled good, has few seams. A particularly interesting space (unable to be shown due to proprietary technology issues) is a special robot room, housing the large-scale dispensing machine and its mechanisms.

Not only is the Mane USA office a hotbed of innovation, it is also a testing ground for the scents and tastes it creates. To this end, the company needed some very specific rooms to test products. One of these is a full-service hair salon. This two-room compound is a sleek and sophisticated area where patrons can be shampooed, blow-dried-and receive any other necessary primping-to test products. The hygienic white of the labs carries through to this area, where Embarcadero porcelain tile by Nemo Tile was chosen for durability and stain resistance. It is softened with a natural light wood in the counters and wall shelving units. The flooring in these rooms was selected for its ability to withstand high foot traffic from the stylists at work as well as handle liquids being spilled on it.

Another very specific testing space is the sensory room. Here, scented candles are set to burn in individual, highly customizable cells. Each cell can be programmed to generate its own environment, including ventilation. Materials used for this room were selected for their inflammability, durability and cleanability. The same tile used in the hair salon, Embarcadero by Nemo Tile, is used here.

Studio 1200 designed the Mane Mart to display the products that Mane has created scents for. This “store” holds many of the products that contain Mane’s scents, organized and displayed for easy location. Inset cubbies in the walls and in the shelving units themselves create a clean look, and the hygienic white of the rest of the space carries through. Flooring in the Mane Mart is the Shaw Strand used in the main public walkways of the space.

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