Housed in a former aircraft manufacturing facility, the Design Center is a loft like facility with an open truss roof and 25’ ceilings, primarily on a single floor. The building was occupied by the Design Center for over 20 years, the space was closed in and unorganized and due to major changes in technology, building codes, and Mattel’s design process the building and the space needed to be completely remodeled.
The Design Center includes workspace for 770 designers, artists, model makers, project managers, and other craftsmen and includes generous workspaces, collaborative meeting and work areas, a full model shop, presentation theatres, and a full service cafeteria.
Furnishings were corporate in nature and did not support the realities of the design process. Working with a limited budget and with the mandate that the Design Center must continue to function, producing over 4,000 new product ideas while undergoing renovation, the project team developed a phasing plan that focused design energy into a few limited areas but assured that all spaces in the Center were renovated.
Design imagery was developed out of the materials the Design Center incorporates into their toys: a limited palette of bright colors used as a highlight to the studio quality space, large scale graphic imagery, and the textures and patterns used in classic Barbie fashion. As a homage to the boy’s side of the equation and to serve as inspiration to the designers, the firm’s collection of full-size classic cars (Hot Wheels development tools) can be displayed on a ramp that doubles as handicap access to the large presentation theatre.