Adidas’ new research and design center in Herzogenaurach, Germany, is the place where 1,700 workers develop new products for the world leader in sports equipment and apparel. It’s nicknamed “Laces” to describe the suspended walkways that crisscross its vast atrium, connecting departments and bringing employees closer together for collaboration and creativity.
The name “Laces” has a metaphorical value, capturing what the building says about the networked communications of a globally active corporation. Movement is the essence of sport, and also defines the design language that Büro Uebele developed for the space. Turbocharged typography runs through the design center. Uebele adopted a form of FF Din that leaps and bounds across walls and balustrades, its form vibrating and changing in the process. Words identify places and become colored surfaces, reliefs, and sculptures.
Uebele chose a functional black-and-white color palette that offers a neutral canvas for the company’s colorful products. In meeting areas on the upper floors, the white lettering appears to have been frozen in mid-movement, forming a mural relief. On the glass balustrades of the high walkways that criss-cross the interior of the building, the letters look as if they have been stamped into super-fine, transparent gauze. The outlines are made of highly reflective film, creating a shimmering effect. In certain locations, the letterforms solidify into abstract surfaces or create a screen, a reception desk, or a staff entrance. On the lower levels, the relief-style mural images in meeting areas—named after various company products—take two-dimensional form in contrasting color tones. A colorful wayfinding system is integrated on white walls in blue, red, yellow, green, and black.
See more work from Andreas Uebele.
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“I appreciate the completeness of this project. The theme of oversized, kinetic letters is carried throughout the building, on different surfaces and in different materials. The letters are sometimes 2D, sometimes 3D, sometimes surface-mounted, and sometimes freestanding. Some letters are invisible, others block your view. Overall, there is an elegance to the multiplicity of ways that they are integrated into the architecture.”
Andreas Uebele (principal in charge, creative director), Carolin Himmel (project manager)
kadawittfeldarchitektur (architecture), ZieglerBürg Büro für Gestaltung (interior design)
Eicher Werkstätten (signage, vinyl, paint), Dieter Ertl Einrichtungen – Innenausbau (mural reliefs, three-dimensional sculptures))