While the aims of the ‘new’ Nike office were typical of many redesign projects, the solutions arrived at by M Moser Associates were anything but.
The staff of Nike Taipei first took up residence across three floors in Wanguo Commercial Building two decades ago and during this time, they had seen their brand, products and way of working steadily evolve beyond what the existing office could effectively support.
While the company initially intended to move out and start afresh in a brand new location, they finally made the decision to stay as their current address was situated near a local athletic centre.
“They didn’t want to give up that proximity to something that is so obviously identified with their business and customers,” explains Joanne Chen, M Moser’s lead designer for the project.
The main objectives of the project handed to M Moser were to create a collaborative working environment, but also a more aspirational environment that would showcase Nike’s history, values and products. In addition, the office had to have discrete workspaces on the 14th and 15th floor for two major departments and two different divisions; special areas for R&D and product display; and innovative storage solutions. The existing training centre also had to be converted into a multipurpose activity area.
Lending further insights into the company’s vision for their new office, Henry Hsieh, Nike Taiwan’s project manager, says, “Nike was founded by runners. Our mission is to bring innovation and inspiration to every athlete in the world. We call our employees ‘coaches’ and ‘athletes’, and we wanted to bring more of that athletic atmosphere into our workspace to energise Nikers. We also wanted to encourage open and casual connections among Nikers by creating mini open spaces around the office to bring everyone closer, working as a team.”
The M Moser Taipei team, who worked in collaboration with Adam Mundy, M Moser’s New York-based Director (International Design), reconciled Nike’s requirements by organising the office into three basic zones: ‘hot’ and ‘warm’ for communal and enclosed collaboration, and ‘cool’ area neighbourhoods. Tying them all together is a ‘running track’ – a circulation route with a basketball court timber flooring that’s designed to evoke the athletic spirit of the Nike brand.
The journey kicks off as one exits the lifts on the 15th floor and enters the reception – the heart of the office’s ‘hot’ zone. Following the running track’s path takes one to a trio of meeting rooms, which can be converted into two or a single large room when needed.
Also located along the track is the panty, a large open space for casual interaction, informal meetings and idea-sharing.
Besides connecting the ‘hot’ and ‘cool’ areas, the running track also links up distinct areas within both zones, thus encouraging movement and activity between what are otherwise different team-centric environments.
“The designs on 14/F and 15/F are very different because the people on those floors have different needs,” says project team designer Sophia Lo. “On 14/F we have a company division primarily engaged in researching materials and fabrics, so they needed things like a countertop near their working area for collaboration, and lots of open shelving and storage.”
By contrast, those working on the 15th floor required a more ‘pure’ office setting – albeit separated into two departments by an expanse of green floor that mimics the look of a baseball field. It’s also a space that can be utilised for future expansion. A collaboration area designed to evoke a basketball court further reinforces the office’s sporty vibe.
Workstations on both floors are laid out within an open-plan – a dramatic shift away from the office’s original densely partitioned environment. The new arrangement promotes greater interaction amongst staff and makes any future rearrangement for staff expansion or organisational change easier to enforce.
Recalling the design process, Lo says, “A big part of the dynamic in developing this project was engagement with the wide range of people and departments and consultants involved. We needed to understand their respective needs and priorities in order to balance them out, reconcile them.”
Drawing on the feedback of Nike’s staff was no doubt crucial to the success of this project. With its mix of specialised open-plan workspaces, shared collaboration areas, bold branding and eye-catching sports-themed circulation routes, this new office in Taipei strikes the delicate balance of functional and brand-expressive qualities that Nike seeks.
M Moser Associates