Icebreaker is an outdoor and sport clothing designer and manufacturer headquartered in New Zealand. The Portland Nature Clothing & Innovation Centre provides design expertise on new product lines and serves as their North American headquarters. This necessitates large presentation and collaboration spaces. Of high importance was designing a space that’s aesthetic reflected the company’s own product design inspiration from nature.
Icebreaker’s relocation to a 7,500 SF space found in the historic Wells Fargo Building in downtown Portland gave them more space than their previous location, however challenged them with a uniquely U-shaped floor plate. With a more narrow circulation than they previously had enjoyed, LRS had to create ways to bring in natural light throughout the office, as well as have continuous sightlines along the building.
Priorities for Icebreaker included access to natural light, large amounts of storage, and flexible meeting and work space. The small floor plate and the shape of the building required unique solutions to the desires of the client. Instead of a mass grouping of work stations, LRS Architects used the U-shaped building to spread the desks around the perimeter, providing mountain and city views to all staff. The company required vast amounts of storage and LRS designed a uniquely artistic solution, with floor to ceiling storage around the circulation path of the office with routered landscape shapes in the doors to add hints of texture and color along the path. By using furniture to create distinctions between work stations, flex spaces, and conference areas, LRS was able to deliver multiple individual types of flex spaces including a variety of enclosed work spaces, and soft seating for collaboration.
Throughout the office, materials were influenced by the historic nature of the building; steel trusses in the lobby, kitchen, and soft seating areas; custom steel artwork; and concrete floors in some areas. As a clothing design company, Icebreaker required a neutral backdrop for accurately displaying colors. LRS’s color story across the office includes an earthy palette of grays and browns, with accent colors only found in low-affect areas such as break areas and soft seating furniture.