BMW Designworks Newbury Park
- Location Newbury Park, CA
- Type Workplace
- Area 20,000SF
- Completion 2007
BMW Group DesignworksUSA is a global design consultancy with both an automotive and product design studio, enabling the transfer of knowledge and inspiration between various design disciplines. BMW Group DesignworksUSA has brand communications, strategy, research, design development, engineering, modeling, and color and materials expertise with studios in Los Angeles, Munich, and Singapore. Hired to design anything from a roadster to a cell phone, their process entails a balance between an analog method of using pen and paper to fully realized digital modeling.
Prior to this much needed renovation, the studio space consisted of individual desks and carrels installed on a strict 45-degree angle grid system, a low drop ceiling, no natural light, and limited project or conference rooms. As a result of the previous desk configuration, collaboration between teams and individuals was completely stifled, making it almost impossible for more than one person to work at a desk space.
kdA’s primary task was to develop a workspace that encouraged and facilitated collaboration and to design a work environment that met the sustainability and design standards established by BMW Group DesignworksUSA. That meant providing natural light and natural ventilation where possible, utilizing renewable materials and recycling services, and developing a layout that encouraged collaboration and inspiration.
BMW Group DesignworksUSA requested that their design process be reflected in the workspace. They wanted all surfaces to be workable to accommodate brainstorming and be a non-prejudicial clean slate. Workstations were installed with drop down desks for cooperative sketching, and the project rooms were clad in Tectum, allowing photos, note paper, and ideas to be posted on both the inside and outside. Skylights were revealed once the drop ceiling was removed, allowing natural light into the studio.
In plan, the studio is oriented towards the large car-sized 3D milling machine in the shop area, renovated as part of Phase I. Distinct neighborhoods of flexible workstations were established with a core of project rooms, providing pin-up space on both the outside and inside middle of the studio. Their configuration allows the space between them (or town square) to function as a fourth project room.
Most critically the neighborhoods are non-hierarchical, and visual connections were established between the workstation neighborhoods and project rooms, providing the client with the desired modern collaborative workplace. A material library and café are sited on the periphery, encouraging colleagues to walk past and provide feedback on various studio projects.