The firm’s design concept for the client was to replicate in a workplace setting the culture of collaboration and improvisation that hikers experience on a wilderness trail. Drawing on the recreational interests of the client’s management team, our inspiration was the Pacific Crest Trail from the Baja Desert to the Northwest Glaciers with each floor representing a specific ecosystem along the way. The challenge here was two-fold: how to encompass a large idea over multiple floors without losing continuity and how to convey the wilderness metaphor without becoming too literal. Shaw’s flooring proved an excellent vehicle for both. The progression of tonal and textural variations in the carpet from floor to floor traced a through-line from desert sands to ice that helped bind the floors together in one story. And because each carpet plan reduced its topographical model to essentials of hue and pattern—warm, rusty impacts on the Baja floor; cool, fluid cues on the Mountain Lakes floor—the “theme” remained subliminal.
This was a project that translated natural elements—trees, rocks, rivers, stars—into abstract spatial forms and lighting effects that themselves evoked values of curiosity, trust, discovery and endurance. Shaw’s contribution was to provide a path, both conceptually and literally, from the wilderness inspiration to its urban application in this modern, stimulating, state-of-the-art office.