Contract - Home Cooking: Darden Restaurants's new corporate headquarters by Perkins+Will

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Home Cooking: Darden Restaurants's new corporate headquarters by Perkins+Will

13 June, 2011

-By Amy Milstein



Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but just the right number may come up with some fantastic new dishes. That’s the concept behind Darden Restaurants’ new headquarters in Orlando, Fla. This corporate complex stirs the pot and serves up a LEED-certified design by Perkins + Will that supports collaboration while building unity.

Darden Restaurants, the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates nearly 1,800 establishments, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Its old corporate complex housed 1,300 employees in 12 different buildings spread over a two-mile radius. This configuration created silos where workers felt disconnected from each other and the company as a whole. “People talked about working for Red Lobster or Bahama Breeze,” recalls Eileen Jones, LEED AP, AIGA, SEGD, Branded Environments global leader, Perkins+Will, “but no one talked about working for Darden Restaurants. We wanted create a united corporate culture that encourages collaboration.”

Darden established this cohesion with a 469,000-sq.-ft. facility that features an open, inviting design that brings people together. The structure tops out at three stories, allowing employees to move easily among floors via multiple staircases, which are widened to allow people to meet and chat without blocking others. “These impromptu areas actually have become designated meeting spaces,” says Joyce Fownes, RID, LEED AP, interior design leader for the Atlanta office of Perkins+Will. “The landings have break areas that are being well used.” This is a far cry from the old Darden, where workers had to get into a car to meet with other groups, and people from one brand could have toiled away for years without ever meeting a person from another brand.

Because the building is only three stories high, “People will probably not climb more than three flights of stairs,” explains Jones. But the footprint is vast, affording the opportunity to create a large, main street space where the company can hold town hall meetings for 1,300 employees. Impressively scaled, these main streets bustle with activity all day. Ceilings drop in conference rooms without feeling crowded or cramped. Office areas are a blend of private offices ringed by open-plan workstations.

Test kitchens are grouped and linked with a wide passageway that allows for collaboration and conversation. “One of the chefs from Seasons 52 was so excited by the idea of collaboration that he started hosting cross-brand luncheons,” says Jones. “It was a real ‘aha’ moment and a cultural shift for everyone. For example, if you have a new fish item on your menu, you can learn a lot from the Red Lobster chefs.” The kitchens are fronted by large conference rooms that work like dining rooms where employees talk about food, meals, and seasonal menus. Each time there’s a new menu item, senior executive teams meet here for diners to taste and test the offerings.

The crisp, clean interior speaks to the same casual comfort found in Darden’s restaurant properties. “Its old corporate color was more of a maroon, which felt traditional and tired,” says Fownes. “The bright red is much fresher and really supports the brand.” Graphics speak of gathering, eating, and community.

Darden also wanted to create a state-of-the-art campus that features all of the perks that corporate employees expect to enjoy. “As a company, we believe in listening to our guests and our employees, so we surveyed our employees to find out what was most important to them,” says Jim Lawrence, senior vice president of supply management and purchasing for Darden. As a result, the building includes a fully equipped fitness and wellness center staffed by Florida Hospital. There also is an on-site company store, financial services, and dry cleaning. A campus dining facility includes prepared family meals that can be taken home for dinner. A half-mile walking trail and landscaped courtyard take advantage of fine Florida weather.

The building includes many sustainable features. Its 114,000-sq.-ft. glass curtianwall exterior floods the interior with daylighting. A highly reflective roof system reduces the heat island effect and helps maintain the building’s interior temperature. A high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system and an automatic lighting system that dims or brightens according to the amount of sunlight entering the building will help reduce energy consumption by 16 percent. These features, along with others, have come together to achieve LEED Gold certification. “The fact that it’s a world-class, LEED Gold-certified facility is a feather in our cap when recruiting top talent to our organization,” boasts Lawrence.
.
who
Client: Darden. Architect, interior/landscape designer: Perkins+Will; Joyce Fownes RID, LEED AP, principal, interior design principal; Eileen Jones LEED AP, principal, Branded Environments. Manuel Cadrecha, AIA, LEED® AP, principal, design director; Leonardo Alvarez, FASLA, AIA, LEED AP, principal, urban design principal. General contractor: Hardin Construction Company, LLC. Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineering, lighting, acoustician: TLC Engineering. Telecommunications Consultant: Bruns-Pak - Design, Engineering and Contracting for the Computer. Structural Consulting Engineers: Stanley D. Lindsey & Associates. Civil Consultant: MSCW. Development Manager: Trammell Crow Company.: TLC Engineering Kitchen: Camacho Associates, Inc. Graphics: Perkins+Will Branded Environments. Furniture dealer: Workscapes. Photographer: © 2009 Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing Photography, © 2009 Michele Litvin.

what
Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Laminate: Formica Corporation. Demountable Partitions: DIRTT Environmental Solutions. Flooring: Forbo Flooring Systems, Ceramic Technics, Limited. Carpet/carpet tile, carpet fiber: Shaw Contract Group. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Lightolier. Exterior: Diversified Architectural Lighting. Doors: YKK AP, Steelcraft, Marshfield Door Systems, Overhead Door Corporation. Glass: Viracon. Skylights: SuperSky. Workstations, office furniture: Knoll. Reception furniture: Designer’s Speciality Millwork. Files: Knoll. Architectural woodworking: Designer’s Specialty Millwork. Plumbing fixtures: Elkay.

where
Location: Orlando, FL. Total floor area: 469,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: 3. Average floor size: 156,333. Total staff size: 1200+. Cost/sq. ft.: $324.



Home Cooking: Darden Restaurants's new corporate headquarters by Perkins+Will

13 June, 2011


Michelle Litvin and Steve Hall

Too many cooks may spoil the broth, but just the right number may come up with some fantastic new dishes. That’s the concept behind Darden Restaurants’ new headquarters in Orlando, Fla. This corporate complex stirs the pot and serves up a LEED-certified design by Perkins + Will that supports collaboration while building unity.

Darden Restaurants, the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates nearly 1,800 establishments, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Its old corporate complex housed 1,300 employees in 12 different buildings spread over a two-mile radius. This configuration created silos where workers felt disconnected from each other and the company as a whole. “People talked about working for Red Lobster or Bahama Breeze,” recalls Eileen Jones, LEED AP, AIGA, SEGD, Branded Environments global leader, Perkins+Will, “but no one talked about working for Darden Restaurants. We wanted create a united corporate culture that encourages collaboration.”

Darden established this cohesion with a 469,000-sq.-ft. facility that features an open, inviting design that brings people together. The structure tops out at three stories, allowing employees to move easily among floors via multiple staircases, which are widened to allow people to meet and chat without blocking others. “These impromptu areas actually have become designated meeting spaces,” says Joyce Fownes, RID, LEED AP, interior design leader for the Atlanta office of Perkins+Will. “The landings have break areas that are being well used.” This is a far cry from the old Darden, where workers had to get into a car to meet with other groups, and people from one brand could have toiled away for years without ever meeting a person from another brand.

Because the building is only three stories high, “People will probably not climb more than three flights of stairs,” explains Jones. But the footprint is vast, affording the opportunity to create a large, main street space where the company can hold town hall meetings for 1,300 employees. Impressively scaled, these main streets bustle with activity all day. Ceilings drop in conference rooms without feeling crowded or cramped. Office areas are a blend of private offices ringed by open-plan workstations.

Test kitchens are grouped and linked with a wide passageway that allows for collaboration and conversation. “One of the chefs from Seasons 52 was so excited by the idea of collaboration that he started hosting cross-brand luncheons,” says Jones. “It was a real ‘aha’ moment and a cultural shift for everyone. For example, if you have a new fish item on your menu, you can learn a lot from the Red Lobster chefs.” The kitchens are fronted by large conference rooms that work like dining rooms where employees talk about food, meals, and seasonal menus. Each time there’s a new menu item, senior executive teams meet here for diners to taste and test the offerings.

The crisp, clean interior speaks to the same casual comfort found in Darden’s restaurant properties. “Its old corporate color was more of a maroon, which felt traditional and tired,” says Fownes. “The bright red is much fresher and really supports the brand.” Graphics speak of gathering, eating, and community.

Darden also wanted to create a state-of-the-art campus that features all of the perks that corporate employees expect to enjoy. “As a company, we believe in listening to our guests and our employees, so we surveyed our employees to find out what was most important to them,” says Jim Lawrence, senior vice president of supply management and purchasing for Darden. As a result, the building includes a fully equipped fitness and wellness center staffed by Florida Hospital. There also is an on-site company store, financial services, and dry cleaning. A campus dining facility includes prepared family meals that can be taken home for dinner. A half-mile walking trail and landscaped courtyard take advantage of fine Florida weather.

The building includes many sustainable features. Its 114,000-sq.-ft. glass curtianwall exterior floods the interior with daylighting. A highly reflective roof system reduces the heat island effect and helps maintain the building’s interior temperature. A high-efficiency heating and air conditioning system and an automatic lighting system that dims or brightens according to the amount of sunlight entering the building will help reduce energy consumption by 16 percent. These features, along with others, have come together to achieve LEED Gold certification. “The fact that it’s a world-class, LEED Gold-certified facility is a feather in our cap when recruiting top talent to our organization,” boasts Lawrence.
.
who
Client: Darden. Architect, interior/landscape designer: Perkins+Will; Joyce Fownes RID, LEED AP, principal, interior design principal; Eileen Jones LEED AP, principal, Branded Environments. Manuel Cadrecha, AIA, LEED® AP, principal, design director; Leonardo Alvarez, FASLA, AIA, LEED AP, principal, urban design principal. General contractor: Hardin Construction Company, LLC. Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineering, lighting, acoustician: TLC Engineering. Telecommunications Consultant: Bruns-Pak - Design, Engineering and Contracting for the Computer. Structural Consulting Engineers: Stanley D. Lindsey & Associates. Civil Consultant: MSCW. Development Manager: Trammell Crow Company.: TLC Engineering Kitchen: Camacho Associates, Inc. Graphics: Perkins+Will Branded Environments. Furniture dealer: Workscapes. Photographer: © 2009 Steve Hall, Hedrich Blessing Photography, © 2009 Michele Litvin.

what
Paint: Sherwin-Williams. Laminate: Formica Corporation. Demountable Partitions: DIRTT Environmental Solutions. Flooring: Forbo Flooring Systems, Ceramic Technics, Limited. Carpet/carpet tile, carpet fiber: Shaw Contract Group. Ceiling: Armstrong. Lighting: Lightolier. Exterior: Diversified Architectural Lighting. Doors: YKK AP, Steelcraft, Marshfield Door Systems, Overhead Door Corporation. Glass: Viracon. Skylights: SuperSky. Workstations, office furniture: Knoll. Reception furniture: Designer’s Speciality Millwork. Files: Knoll. Architectural woodworking: Designer’s Specialty Millwork. Plumbing fixtures: Elkay.

where
Location: Orlando, FL. Total floor area: 469,000 sq. ft. No. of floors: 3. Average floor size: 156,333. Total staff size: 1200+. Cost/sq. ft.: $324.
 


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