Irvine, California

Blurring the lines between workplaces and social spaces

The new headquarters for MerchSource, the consumer products company, seamlessly combines focused office environments, design studios, retailer showrooms, display areas and social spaces. The space was designed as a showcase for the individual brands represented by MerchSource, including FAO Schwarz and Sharper Image.

In addition to the workplace areas, a series of branded retail showroom spaces offer opportunities for the firm’s clients to immerse themselves in the specific brand, as well as creating spaces for meetings and collaboration. A carefully cultivated overriding aesthetic expression was developed as a bridge between the common areas and the brand-related spaces, creating a cohesive space for staff and clients.

Throughout the facility, work is encouraged to happen anywhere and anytime. Spaces were designed to provide varied environments for meetings and collaboration, while inspiring creativity. A library, a wine room an outdoor fire pit and dining spaces all contribute to a one-of-a-kind workplace experience.

LPA’s integrated team of architects, interior designers, landscape architects and engineers took a holistic approach to renovating the facility, which included a 100,000 square-foot mid-rise office building and a 30,000 square-foot single-story former auto garage with underground parking. The project also revived the antiquated existing exterior open space which bridged the two buildings, resulting in programable spaces as an extension of the interior environments. Flexibility was essential, recognizing that many spaces both internal and external would serve multiple roles.

Throughout the office, LPA designed the spaces, inside and out, to feed creative energy, including the creation of original art throughout the buildings. Noted Los Angeles street artists Retna, El Mac, Hueman and Vizie created original installations which work as a connective narrative for the headquarters.

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