Owner: VICO spa (Limonta spa)
Developer/Main Contractor: Nessi & Maiocchi
Hotel operator: Hilton
Architecture: Dario Piero Cazzaniga, Monica Limonta
Interior design: Dario Piero Cazzaniga, Monica Limonta con Poliform Contract
Furnishings: Divisione Poliform Contract, Flexform, Kettal
Photo credits: Hilton Lake Como
Perhaps no brand name is more closely tied to 1970s and 1980s Southern California famed skateboarding culture than Vans. The image of Vans‘ iconic checkered Off the Wall shoes are associated with sunshine, palm trees, and the Pacific Ocean, but the company is also dedicated to continually developing its product lines, technology and overall stylistic sensibility.
In June 2017, over 500 employees of the 52-year old company moved into the new headquarters located in the Orange County, California town of Costa Mesa. (Paul Van Doren and Jim Van Doren with partners Gordon Lee and Serge Delia, founded the Van Doren Rubber Company in nearby Anaheim.) It’s a sprawling complex containing approximately 16,908 square meters of interior space over a 14 acre campus.
Amenities include a full-sized mock retail space to visualize Vans products in a real world setting, a library, and five showrooms with current and in-development merchandise. Employees have access to an on-site fitness center and food options, including a full-time barista during the weekdays, and a “jam room” to play live music. Acoustically engineered “domes” on the second floor retain whatever music or loud sounds are being projected without disturbing other employees in the vicinity.
Rapt Studio, known for its branding and design work with leading innovative tech and media companies, took inspiration from various aspects of Vans history and the brand’s vibe. Meeting rooms are named for noted athletes who have been affiliated with Vans, and there are other nods to California skate and surf culture; the reception area contains benches that pay homage to the Belmont Ledges, for example, a famed skating spot in Long Beach, California. Other details that honor California design heritage include classic seating by Ray and Charles Eames, and walls are emblazoned with original murals and street art.
Vans’ distinctive black and white checkered patterning appears on building facades, and bright red staircases provide a striking contrast with the black and white schemes. The architecture prioritizes indoor-outdoor flow to encourage employees to use the outdoor work stations and take advantage of California’s climate. The forward-looking design concept and specific features include the Waffle Works Innovation Center supports product research and development.
To meet a LEED Platinum certification goal, Vans headquarters includes over 4,000 solar panels, 38 electric vehicle charging stations, and water efficient fixtures and technology installed throughout. The solar panels provide over 90% of the electricity needed to power the facility. Unsurprisingly, skateboarding is allowed and even encouraged throughout the work spaces, thanks to the durable concrete floors.