Contract - September 2009 - (Page 42)

design make me a star Gensler breathes light and life into an abandoned warehouse in Emeryville, Calif., giving Pixar Animation Studios the ideal working set for their next blockbuster By Holly Richmond Photography by Sharon Reisdorf Photography Not to put the pressure on, but when the most imaginative animators in the world ask you to design a space for their growing talent pool, it’s time to put your best, most creative foot forward. And that is exactly what Gensler’s San Francisco-based design team did—create an ideal work environment to nurture and complement Pixar Animation Studios’ innovative minds. The collective vision was to provide the building blocks for imagination to thrive in a 19,000-sq.-ft abandoned warehouse. Pixar has an expansive corporate campus in Emeryville, Calif., close enough to San Francisco to tap into its seemingly endless talent pool of skillful techies, but far enough away to feel unified and entirely self-supported in a cosmos of creativity. When it became obvious that Pixar was outgrowing its original corporate headquarters, it wanted an additional workspace nearby that would be of equal quality, but with an identity all its own. After deciding on the abandoned warehouse site, Collin Burry, Gensler design principal, saw the goal as one of doing enough but not too much. “The architecture and design had to support what they do, not get in the way of it,” he says. To that end and with the perfect shell from which to build, the designers provided a neutral backdrop while simultaneously creating a stimulating “scene” that would nurture Pixar’s strong corporate culture through a contemporary, playful design aesthetic. “Our employees are incredibly hard-working, but they are hardplaying as well,” states Craig Payne, Pixar’s manager of design and construction. “The space needed to feel like a mini-home with a kitchen, living room, and family room kind of feel, yet also offer enough privacy to meet everyone’s productivity needs.” Burry explains that the team took full advantage of the building’s amazing bones—high volume, truss ceilings, exposed brick, sash windows that allow in abundant natural light, and distressed industrial concrete floors. However, the space lacked air conditioning and appropriate electrical service and also needed seismic upgrading. “Our solution rested upon upgrading the space while maintaining its 60-year-old charm, along with providing exceptional workplace functionality,” he says. “Our design plan became known as the ‘creative factory.’” The central hallway/corridor (left) is animated in itself, adding a colorful element to the minimalist design aesthetic. White walls are accented through the use of uplit colored and changeable gels on lighting fixtures. The expansive wall spaces create optimal areas to display the latest, greatest collateral from Pixar’s blockbuster films. The “family room” (opposite) features lounge seating and gaming consoles. 42 contract september 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Contract - September 2009

Contract - September 2009
Don’t Judge A Floor By Its Cover
Smart Workstations
Green Collar Jobs On The Rise
From Castle to Treasury
Make Me A Star
Green Apple
A Different Ball Game
Creative Energy
Quiet Riot
Books Stored
Reading Room
Designers Rate: Casegoods
Ad Index

Contract - September 2009