McDonald’s Headquarters by Studio O+A: 2018 Best of Year Winner for Environmental Branding/Graphics
To give its sprawling West Loop workspace in Chicago a strong narrative flair and sense of identity, McDonald’s tasked Interior Design Hall of Fame member Primo Orpilla with integrating an impactful spatial-graphics program. “The project reads like a nine-story deep dive into corporate culture,” the Studio O+A principal and co-founder explains. He and his team plumbed the company archives to unearth vintage packaging, logos, advertisements, and mementos, which became the main ingredients of retro-flavored installations, artwork, and embellishments.
On floor two, a hickory-veneered feature wall is incised with signature menu items spelled out in assorted fonts. Set in niches are coin-press machines visitors can use to make a penny souvenir imprinted with an illustration of a Big Mac. Remember the fries packaging and Happy Meal boxes from back in the day? They make cameos as illuminated technical “drawings” on spans of white-lacquered MDF in a fifth-floor corridor, accompanied by life-size resin casts of the real thing. A stairwell leading from the lobby to Hamburger University, where franchisees learn the ropes, is a canvas for modern-nodding vinyl patterning—actually a patchwork of old-school advertising elements. Nearby, an installation of 132 framed LCD screens rotates between geometric graphics and photographs of incoming Hamburger U. students, the veritable future of the brand.
Project Team: Perry Stephney; Elizabeth Vereker; Paulina Mcfarland; Tari Pelaez; Alex Bautista; Jill Gentles; Donald Koide; Kristina Cho.