Elizabeth Blish Hughes -- Interior Design, 1/1/2009 12:00:00 AM
The colors may be bright, the space may be filled with California sunshine, but the strongest first impression made by the Jamba Juice corporate headquarters is the refreshing scent of oranges. For a company synonymous with fresh fruit smoothies, no logo or slogan could provide a better branded welcome than that citrus tang, the result of a design decision by David Galullo of Pollack Architecture to put the test kitchen and the employee snack'n' smoothie-making café just off reception. "Our goal was to strike a balance between the needs of the corporation and the warmth and color of the brand," says Galullo.
Founded in San Luis Obispo, California, in 1990, Jamba Juice moved to a converted San Francisco warehouse in 1997. Little more than a decade later, though, corporate expansion had made what was once an open and flowing space feel more cramped than creative. Which is when Galullo, a design principal at Pollack, was called in. The Jamba Juice directive: Find a new space just like the current one, at least in terms of the loftlike character that comes with old red-brick walls, but big enough to accommodate a still-growing workforce of 135.
Mapping staff addresses suggested that Emeryville, also home to Pixar Animation Studios, would be the ideal Bay Area location. For months, Galullo searched the little city with big views of San Francisco's hills and the Golden Gate Bridge. "We looked at space after space but found few that were interesting," he recalls. Finally he spotted a vacancy in a 1980's low-rise red-brick building: 37,000 square feet on two floors overlooking a grassy courtyard. But the entrance, a boring security lobby typical of the era's office-park developments, lacked the whirl of excitement that Jamba Juice, with its tutti-frutti identity, had requested as part of the company's recent brand update.
Galullo's solution appeared to take its cue from Jamba's re-attunement. He suggested breaking through the courtyard wall and reorienting the interior space so that the grass-sown quadrangle became a verdant new entry. Once the company gave him the go-ahead, Galullo upped the green ante further by expanding and landscaping an existing trellis at the threshold, and then went to work on the two-story interior.
The airy reception area melds nearly seamlessly with the courtyard thanks to a wall of windows (yes, they open) set in industrial steel frames, a nod to the company's former warehouse quarters. Galullo's angular reception desk, which bears a ghosted version of the Jamba logo, hovers above newly stripped and polished concrete flooring. The waiting area is outfitted with chunky armchairs upholstered in lime or lilac wool felt. They gather under a cluster of blown-glass pendant fixtures, their blocky glass forms resembling ice cubes.
Galullo eliminated a warren of offices to create five conference rooms off reception, each named for a fruit with a door plaque painted in an appropriate color—strawberry is red, blueberry is blue. Inside each is a long table of reclaimed wood, which company lore says was salvaged from pirate ships wrecked long ago. Also off reception is the test kitchen. Galullo designed it for growth, leaving room to add to the built-in equipment islands, and included a bank of booths for focus groups tasting new products.
A switchback stairway connects the two floors. Positioned behind the reception desk, it's exactly where a traditional design would place an elevator bank. Although there is elevator access to the upper floor, which houses offices and work areas, the convenience of the stairs encourages physical activity.
Upstairs, the exposed ceiling enhances the industrial space vibe Jamba requested. Galullo sought to create a sense of movement among the workstation modules, which radiate in from the windows with their expansive vistas. Offices hug the inside walls; departments are separated by break-out areas. Further brainstorming happens in the employee lounge, where Bay Bridge views inspire and furnishings colored raspberry and grape whet the appetite.
From Front Davis Furniture: Tables (Small Conference Room, Break-Out Area), Chairs (Large Conference Room, Break-Out Area). Bernhardt Design: Chairs (Small Conference Room, Café). HDI Railing Systems: Stair Rail (Reception). Lightolier: Silver Pendantfixtures. Jack Cartwright: Sofa (Lounge), Chairs (Reception). Maharam: Sofa Fabric (Lounge). Through Design Within Reach: Table. Shaw Industries Group: Carpet Tile (Lounge, Break-Out Area). Viso: Pendant Fixtures (Reception, Break-Out Area). Kvadrat Through Maharam: Chair Fabric (Reception). Knoll: Tables (Reception), Woven Chair (Café), Chair, Workstation (Work Area). Schlage: Door Handle (Conference Room). Throughout Benjamin Moore & Co.: Paint. Torrance Steel Window Co.: Internal Window Frames. Bendheim Corporation: Window Glass. Golden Associates: Landscape Consultant. WSP Flack + Kurtz: MEP. Tipping Mar + Associates: Structural Engineer. Terramai: Woodwork. Skyline Construction: General Contractor.