BLDG 600—HNI HQ, BUILDING ON HISTORY
Like many successful organizations, HNI understands that evolution is a part of growth and that our space has to keep up. To do this, HNI recently repurposed an under-utilized building, referred to as Building 600 based on its downtown Muscatine address, to be a new hub for innovation in product development across several HNI operating companies.
While HNI—as a family of companies—believes in what we call “split and focus,” we also leverage the power of cross company creativity, resources and know-how of our brands. The building is a physical place where we enable and celebrate those powerful synergies. As that idea took root, it also attracted our corporate functions, and they eagerly relocated from the old HNI HQ building down the street to be a part of this energy.
HNI commissioned IA’s Seattle office to repurpose the existing factory built in 1881. Their charge was to honor the ‘bones of the building’ while creating dynamic workplaces for a broad range of activities—some more static, some highly ad hoc and agile. By designing the building to be easily reconfigured, we also kept our options open to adapt to other opportunities or new strategies over time.
The exterior changed dramatically—from windowless, corrugated metal siding to full glass walls on the north, facing the street—literally opening the culture and daily business of HNI to the surrounding community. The original brick is now exposed on the west side, reminding us of the building’s historic purpose. In the interior, the exposed brick, steel components and original wood floors have been integrated with new materials. Everything old is new again.
What We Needed
In order to better support product innovation activities, a large flex space on the first floor acts as a highly adaptive workshop where product engineers and designers can “make a mess” in the creative process. This versatile space can also be used for large town hall meetings, prototyping new designs and hosting events.
Each floor was designed for different work activities and requirements; a smart component kit-of-parts allows for quick changes in layout as the organization’s needs evolve.
For a variety of small to medium-sized private and shared rooms, BEYOND moveable walls provide modular agility across the space, its flexible design anticipating the ever changing requirements of the diverse groups inhabiting the building.
The energy from the new café space on the second floor encourages people to not only step away from their desks during lunch, but to enjoy the beautiful view of the river. It also gives members from diverse teams the opportunity to meet and get to know each other, sharing ideas and resources across different departments.
What Matters to HNI
Empowerment. In the new headquarters, HNI members are encouraged to utilize the space to best support their needs and to access any and all resources within HNI that allow them to realize their goals. This includes choosing the location where they will do their best work, whether it’s an individual workstation, team room or informal meeting area.
The building’s original wood floors were repurposed as wall treatments, existing brick was exposed, and the remaining steel beams were highlighted in the new design.
A conveyor belt, which passes through the building and across the new glass bridge, actively transports product from one building and into a distribution center across the street.