CalAmp’s new offices in Texas and California feature a vibrant design that represents the firm’s identity and connects its regional workplaces.
International transportation logistics and technology company CalAmp launched a company-wide effort last year to rebrand the company and consolidate staff in key locations. Dubbed “One CalAmp,” the initiative reflected management’s desire to bring the brand to life and link the workplaces, even though the offices might have different functions.
“If you went from one office to another there was no consistent brand or consistent culture or theme,” says Monica Van Berkel, CalAmp’s senior vice president of human resources. “It looked like you were going into a totally different company environment.”
The company also wanted to change the way it works. Spaces were often dominated by large cubicles. Departments were in silos. Management’s goal was to increase communication and collaboration, across all the offices.
“CalAmp wanted the workplace to support their high performance standards,” says LPA Director of Workplace Terri Lee. “Their ethic is built around the ability to continually learn and share ideas and knowledge.”
Research found acoustics and the demand for private rooms were important considerations for the staff.
Designers looked for ways to connect the offices, while recognizing that each office works differently.
The first office to represent the effort was in Richardson, Texas, followed by a facility in Carlsbad, California, which would mainly serve the company’s engineers and technical support staff. The company’s Irvine headquarters would also receive a refresh, but the Richardson and Carlsbad spaces would set the tone for the rollout to other offices.
The Texas office was a full-floor build out in a corporate campus in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas. The new space would merge team members from different offices in the region and establish the new identity and team culture. As the design team learned more about CalAmp’s work habits, it became clear that workflow was critical to the company’s efficiency and productivity. The staff spends large amounts of time on calls, which meant acoustics was an important consideration and private rooms were in demand. At the same time, management wanted to streamline the work areas and create a uniform layout for staff.
“The goal was to create a high impact look on a cost-effective budget,” says LPA Project Designer Lindsay Votel. “They wanted the space to feel very clean, very modern, but also with elements of warmth and nature.”
Materials, colors and lighting play important roles in extending the brand and corporate philosophy into the different spaces.
The design for the Richardson office embraces the gifts of the site, offering tree-lined views throughout the bright, open space. The main work areas provide a variety of small meeting and conference rooms, as well as a mix of private offices. Respite areas and communal workspaces take full advantage of the natural light.
Elements of CalAmp’s distinctive new logo were interpreted throughout the space, including the ceilings, floors, graphics and reception area. Light fixtures were installed to create distinctive slashes across the ceiling, similar to the sharp angles of the logo. Workstations and private offices feature sit-to-stand desks with customized CalAmp blue accents. The colors and materials throughout the space reflect the firm’s brand, while brightening the space.
The new Carlsbad office differed slightly in function, housing more of CalAmp’s technical operations and requiring the design of an electronics lab. The firm’s engineers were deeply involved in the design process, helping to ensure the spaces met their very specific needs and work habits.
The Carlsbad office benefits from the high-volume and exposed to create an open plan suited to the firm's technical operations.
“Communication was key, as both the Richardson and Carlsbad projects were developed at the same time,” says Teresa Rodriguez, Managing Director of LPA’s Dallas studio. “CalAmp and the LPA teams worked closely to maintain the cohesion of design, budget and schedule.”
The open plan design for the Carlsbad office benefitted from the high volume and exposed structure of the building, including several large skylights. The break area is adjacent to a balcony, providing staff with a link to the outdoors and fresh air.
At first, CalAmp staff was apprehensive about the changes, but that changed quickly, Van Berkel says. “Once we got into the space and they felt the energy, it was like night and day,” she says. In addition to meeting the branding goals, the new office designs have changed work habits and created a new atmosphere. The new spaces broke down the ways of compartmentalization.
“There is a lot more chatter, a lot more communication,” Van Berkel says. “People are smiling. It is bright and airy. It feels like a new company.”