Driscoll's, a California-based purveyor of fresh berries - including strawberries, blueberries and other wonderfully healthy fruit! - is a family business that has operated for four generations since in 1872. They are now one of the leading fresh berry brands in all of North America.Driscoll's, a California-based purveyor of fresh berries - including strawberries, blueberries and other wonderfully healthy fruit! - is a family business that has operated for four generations since in 1872. They are now one of the leading fresh berry brands in all of North America.
“Sweetness worth sharing” is the brand’s trademark and a slogan that promotes both social conscience and a collective mission to bring sweet and perfect moments to everyone’s lives.
“The goal is for each staff member working here to experience genuine happiness,” says Tony Xu, project designer from Mi2, describing the ambitious goal for everyone in the incoming team. That’s why the new Driscoll's head office was carefully and conveniently placed at Spring City 66, the premier commercial complex in Kunming, Yunnan province.
The Mi2 team handled all the pesky details - from concept, project management to fit-out. “This design concept was chosen, ultimately, because it best echoes our brand’s philosophy,” says Tony, explaining how these crucial decisions were made.
“The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God.”
Before the project even started, Mi2 team undertook a working holiday with Jae Chun, VP and General Manager Asia Pacific at Driscoll’s to the brand’s biggest experimental base and perhaps its most explosive growth area in China – the exciting city of Kunming.
This was where Mi2 team noticed that a certain kind of happiness was everywhere in the Driscoll's production chain - from farmers who are given the Fair Trade experience, to the optimistic and content office staff. Driscoll's staff just seem to have a smile on their faces. So it was that the curved line of a smile inspired the contoured design concept for most of the working environment and details.
“As Antoni Gaudi told us, ‘The straight line belongs to men, the curved one to God,’” says Tony. “So a curved line is the core element of this project. It can bring a soft and a vivid feeling to a space and even add some balance between the different elements.”
Curved lines are indeed a notable feature of this project. They divide rooms and overlap spaces to create irregular and distinct spaces. Curves are also used in a streamlined perspective of the area as a whole.
For example: along the central axis line of the lobby, Mi2 created a symmetrical motif by using nonlinear lines. Two contoured walls with an aluminum alloy coating meet a large, circular and illuminated wall decorated with custom installed curved HD screens, bringing both a high tech touch and practical element to the usual in-between space of an office reception.
The long entranceway aligns with this special glass installation and the meeting room beyond it to form a straight line of perspective. The main tangent cutting through this line eye is a stunning window view that takes in Mount Xishan, a famous scenic spot of Kunming. This perspective as a whole gives this shared area both a wonderful natural view and ideal lighting.
A miniature garden within the working space
After ensuring the new office meets the functional needs of the Driscoll's team’s demanding daily work, Mi2 couldn’t help but add a few unique touches to reflect their brand culture and philosophy in a creative and playful way.
Besides flashes of color found in natural elements such as bright berries, plants and trees, a miniature hacienda now displays the themes of the company culture in unique way.
In the center of the lobby, a circular greenhouse installation takes the place of a conventional front desk. This was inspired by the 24 solar terms of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar that stills play an important part in the life of the Chinese people.
Comprising 24 glass segments, it is a showcase for the advanced technology used by the company. Responsive artificial sunshine, a water spray system and magnetically elevated pot plants demonstrate the advanced hydroponics and seed-breeding technologies that Driscoll’s routinely use.
The company culture and values have also been represented through the use of plants, local landscapes and technology. The end goal is, after all, to connect people and bring satisfaction to those who will want to work in this great space, and work well.
Partner in Charge: Desmond Tan
Project Director: Jessie Ou
Designer: Tony Xu
Project Manager: Vincent Zhou
MEP Manager: Chris Chen
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