- Client: Smith Optics
- Design Team: Troy Ainsworth, Joe Zody, Erica Ceder, Mayumi Nakazato, Karl Refi
- City: Portland
- Country: United States
Text description provided by the architects. This FFA Architecture and Interiors adaptive re-use project is a three-story brick building that had previously served as a retail store, day shelter, and transitional housing operated by the Salvation Army from 1910 through 2010. Throughout its over 100 years of existence, there were several alterations to the exterior of the building. Still, important historic details remained intact - including original brickwork, cornices, and cast stone medallions depicting the Salvation Army’s seal. The project scope included restoring and upgrading the exterior, as well as a complete renovation and build-out of the interior spaces.
Smith Optics came to FFA looking for high-end creative office space to which they could move their entire staff from their headquarters in Idaho to Portland, Oregon. The third floor of the historic Industrial Home Building in Portland’s inner east-side offered the ideal combination of historic character, location, and room to express the client’s brand and personality. Working closely with the client, the FFA team listened to their visions and aspirations for the space and also gave careful attention to the variety of day-to-day functions that needed to be accommodated.
As creators of high performance eyewear, goggles, and helmets for outdoor sports, the Smith Optics staff feel a close connection to nature and wanted to utilize materials to reflect the outdoors. It was equally important to provide an architectural environment that did not compete with the vivid colors of the products. The resulting workplace design balances the use of a variety of wood products and species while still providing an elegant, neutral backdrop for the display of product designs and prototypes. The design also takes advantage of the existing open floor plate, and provides flexibility which allows staff not only to work collaboratively together, but to choose how and where they work throughout the day.
The design team developed a space plan that utilizes modular benching systems with adjustable height desks, as well as multiple flexible common areas for collaboration, and smaller quiet areas for concentration. Strategically-placed enclosed spaces and private offices are designed to sit lightly within the space and create transparency – allowing outside views and light to be shared. At the center of the office is a semi-private flexible conference area surrounded by custom wood sliding screen walls. This space is designed to function for meetings, collaborative work sessions, as well as office social space. It embodies the type of active workplace environment that is a key component of Smith’s culture.
Product Description. A key component to the design is a custom wall of pivoting panels with slat-wall display on one side, and magnetic white board on the other. It allows side-by-side display of working design drawings and product prototypes. The 180° pivots provide multiple configurations of display surfaces to accommodate various types of projects and activities and creates a canvas for creative brainstorming.