Las Vegas-based R & R Partners is one of the largest, fastest growing and most respected advertising and public relations firms in the United States. Established as a three-person office in 1974, the agency now employs more than 200 people and bills more than $150 million annually.
Of course, with tremendous growth often come considerable challenges. When we were referred to R & R, the company had already burst out of its 17,000 square foot main building and was forced to rent adjacent satellite offices. One visit revealed staff members sitting in hallways, closets, even entryways. As R & R president Billy Vassiladis aptly put it, “This was not conducive to interaction between all departments.” That’s when the company began to think seriously about building a new corporate headquarters.
When we explore the possibility of working with a prospective client, we first seek alignment. Research and informal interviews indicated that our firms shared similar visions and core values. The way we defined our respective professions was particularly relevant. For us, the word “architect” had proven too limiting, as the word “advertising” had been for R & R. Armed with this knowledge (and ensuing empathy), we felt that collaboration could be a mutually satisfying and rewarding process
Even during these early stages, we realized that non-traditional office space would be best suited to serve R & R’s culture, vision, people and needs. Through a series of surveys, in-depth interviews, departmental tours, client-centered design charettes, focus groups and participant observation, we identified several organizational, operational and physical challenges, and converted them into project goals:
- To stitch the community (R & R’s multi-disciplinary culture and “uncorporate” personality) back together, both physically and emotionally
- To express and define the R & R Partners brand
- To provide flexible space that inspires collaborative creative thinking and problem-solving
Based on the conclusions of this programming phase, our firm was awarded the contract. That’s when the fun really began. The next step involved forming an advisory team and working directly with our agency counterparts to develop a long-range staffing and space plan. Together, we agreed on projections of 50 percent growth over a 10-year period.
As we moved into the design phase, the concept of “community” served as our key inspiration for the building’s interior. Collaboration continued to be our preferred approach, as we worked shoulder to shoulder with the agency, the developer, the general contractor and even a furniture supplier. As we developed the interior space, another firm was designing the shell building, allowing us to make modifications in a coordinated and cost-effective manner.
Together, we decided that the design of the new corporate headquarters was an opportunity to do much more than recreate the old. The goal was to forge an environment that encourages interaction and creative thinking – a series of neighborhoods interconnected by open spaces, interesting angles, traffic flow, distinctive collaborative areas and a common gathering place – in order to:
- Increase productivity – Similar to the organizing element of small town America, the “Town Center” supports productivity by providing a centralized area through which all departments feed. Located at the heart of the organization, it is the place where celebrations, gatherings, team meetings, and all staff meetings are held. The Town Center allows each department to display its culture through diversity in neighborhoods. It embodies the notion of a “circle of friends,” a sacred space.
- Create a new client image – The “On Broadway” portion of the facility creates opportunities for the agency to showcase their philosophies and works through visual icons, graphic arts, and cutting edge technology. The concept revolves around a live performance and all the actors that it takes to “put on a show.” The space itself is an interactive stage – graphic art and building materials as props, departments as the backstage, and the clients as the audience. Flexible scrims and other staging effects create a versatile, interactive fun working environment that celebrates the “performance.”
- Improve brand awareness – The “Main Street” section is organized around a street circulation space fronted by each department in the form of a downtown building façade. The department’s wares and symbols are displayed in storefronts that allow “window shopping” to occur. Café zones act as collaborative meeting spaces for chance and planned encounters to take place. The streetscape offers opportunities to create seasonal and special projects.
- Consolidate facilities and/or resources – At last, all departments are under one roof. Centralized operations allow for streamlined communications, maintenance procedures, client services and financial controls.
- Increase employee retention – As one agency staff member said, “This building is definitely a selling point with prospective employees. The ‘wow’ factor is fun to watch when we bring someone here for an interview; it’s clear they want the job all the more because of the space we offer.” Turnover rates have dropped from 32% to 12% since the new building was completed.
Clearly, the project results have proven that when architects work closely with their clients to understand their business operations, organizational culture and vision of the future, exceptional places are created.
Our clients usually say it best. Let’s let them have the last word:
“What’s unique about Lucchesi Galati is that you don’t get a two-dimensional design. You get a thoughtful, well-developed idea that’s rooted in solving organizational issues. They don’t just build you a building…they build you a place you’re going to live in for the next 20 years
“I think the ultimate litmus test is ‘What is the end result you came away with?’ And we got what we wanted. We didn’t know what we wanted when we started, but Lucchesi Galati helped us figure that out and get there.
“The single most fun thing for me was the day I walked into this building when it was done, and it was phenomenal. It was better and more than I had dreamt of, and it exceeded my expectations by a thousand.”
HONOR AWARD | 2004
INTERIORS PROJECT – NAIOP Spotlight Awards
CITATION AWARD | 2003
AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS, NEVADA
OUTSTANDING PROJECT | 2002
SOUTHWEST CONTRACTOR MAGAZINE
SMALL FIRM AWARD | 2000