June 2, 2015

Change That’s Sure to Stick: Avery Dennison HQ by HOK

Making die-cut labels was how the Avery Dennison Corporation got started in the 1930’s. It then evolved into a Fortune 500 company, as a manufacturer of label and packaging materials and technical solutions for retail inventory control. (You know those pesky clothing tags that require store removal, or alarms go off.) But the Los Angeles headquarters remained mired in convention. When HOK senior VPs Chari Jalali and Clay Pendergrast walked into the ’80’s building, staff was siloed in private offices or high-panel workstations. 

With HOK’s guidance, Avery Dennison signed a lease in a LEED Gold building, securing 45,000 square feet spread across two levels. Progress didn’t stop there, either. There was to be no more hierarchy, not a single private office. Instead, myriad shared spaces would include break-out areas, a café, and an amphitheater for all-hands occasions. Furniture is by the likes of Jeffrey Bernett and Marcel
Wanders. Accents are the corporate red.

Corporate identity takes a more literal form, too. “Before, there was no reference to what the company does. So we went through its digital library,” Jalali notes. Pendergrast adds, “We also looked through lockers and storage rooms.” Smart moves, as it turns out that Avery Dennison was sitting on
a treasure trove of vibrant photographs. HOK curated them, then blew up the chosen images into full-color murals.

One photomural, a close-up of security tags dangling from the cuffs of men’s dress shirts, emblazons a wall outside the boardroom. Another, a rainbow of clothes hangers, serves as the backdrop for a break-out area. Alongside workstations, a train goes speeding by—particularly appropriate for a company that makes film to wrap railroad cars for branding purposes.

One visual betrays nostalgia for the old headquarters. However stodgy overall, it contained a beloved koi pond. So, set into the floor of the café at HQ 2.0, is a full-size version rendered in Adobe Illustrator.

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