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The vibrant new fitout of the US offices of this German confectionery maker leaves visitors in little doubt of the nature of its business

Eye candy


Reflecting the essence of a company's brand in the design of its offices has several benefits. It can be a marketing tool, an extension of the corporate identity, and a way to boost morale by creating a sense of pride and common purpose for staff and management alike.

Architects Eastlake Studio aimed to achieve all these things when the firm was commissioned to update the interior fitout of Storck USA in Chicago. The US headquarters for this German confectionery manufacturer needed a drastic overhaul to bring it into line with the company's vision for the future and the fun nature of its product.

Eastlake Studio principal Tom Zurowski says the design brief called for a space that captured the vibrancy of Storck's leadership.

"For the past decade, the company's offices had been a characterless, beige-on-beige space with cavernous private offices surrounding an open-plan area full of cubicles," he says. "Current management wanted the work environment to say something about the organisation's personality and to physically express the nature of their business."

The design team began by reworking the layout. Locating glass-fronted, private offices at the building's core, with open-plan workstations on the perimeter, ensured that all the staff could enjoy natural light and views of the river beside the building.


In a move away from the traditional linear structure of many office spaces, oval and curved forms dominate the fitout.

"Oval windows frame views of the open office from enclosed meeting spaces at each corner of the U-shaped plan," says Zurowski. "Large round columns define the hallway between the open office area and the glazed private offices, while wing-shaped light fixtures hang over the workstations."

The vibrant reception area gives visitors a clear indication of the company's product and its work ethos. A row of contoured confectionery dispensers made from dark-stained walnut on stainless steel posts creates an enticing focal point.

The perimeter of this oval-shaped space is subtly defined by a translucent mesh curtain. A low, open bookcase of dark timber visually encloses the seating area with its four bright-red armchairs.

This varied selection of materials is carried throughout the fitout. Texture is introduced in the form of carpet, timber, glazing, mesh drapery and stainless steel, reflecting the design team's desire to create a warm, modern atmosphere.

"The contemporary edge of the metallic finishes is muted by the warm timber of the private-office furniture, doors and cabinetry. The soft form of the translucent coil curtain in the reception embodies our concept of merging hard and soft elements," says Zurowski.

Colourful terrazzo flooring in the reception provides a contrast to the softer custom-dyed carpet with its brown and red intersecting circles.

A playful palette of citrus, caramel, red and chocolate tones on a background of white brings to mind the flavours of the confectionery manufactured by Storck.

First published date: 03 September 2003

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