As technology advances, it is driving a convergence between different professions. Autodesk, a leading software developer in the design industry, needed to differentiate how it speaks to customers within various segments of design while still maintaining a consistent Autodesk voice.
For its 4,000-sq.-ft. customer briefing center, Autodesk called on Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to create a three-dimensional client experience based on its core philosophy of “experience before it’s real.” The goal was to engage customers and present the brand in a way that’s cohesive from website to catalog to showroom. It also needed to create a flexible showcase for the constantly evolving work of Autodesk customers and encourage dialogue about the role of software in design.
SOM’s design shared the Autodesk experience through actual customer stories and exhibits, informing through inspiration. Three changeable exhibits each explain a customer’s design process in creating a product. By viewing the exhibits, clients from significantly different disciplines become aware of the wide range of Autodesk products and learn more by trying out the products using floor-to-ceiling glass touchscreen displays.
The materials and color palette were selected to establish consistency with the Autodesk identity and to showcase technology. Wood was used to temper the space with warmth and to reflect the briefing center’s location in scenic Washington state.
A particular challenge was to successfully accommodate the client’s multifunctional requirements within the relatively small space without the space feeling crowded.
“Very appropriate and compelling in terms of the minimal formal language used for the exhibits. Edged sheets of glass (print) and interactive layers create an interesting insight in the technology. A pleasant space.”
Lonny Israel, Tamara Dinsmore (lead designers); Stephen Aldrich (senior technical architect); David Loo, Carmen Carrasco, Alan Sinclair, Brad Thomas, Alex Ng (designers)
Group Mackenzie (base building architect); Autodesk, Downstream (brand content implementation); Green Building Services (LEED consultant); American Heating (design/build mechanical engineer); Capitol Electric Co. (design/build electrical engineer); Lease Crutcher Lewis (general contractor); JLL (project manager); Suzanne Powadiuk Lighting Design (lighting design); Shen, Milsom & Wilke (A/V)
Thomas Swan Sign Co. (signage), Imperial Woodworking Corp. (architectural woodworking, cabinetmaking, display fixtures), Glasspro (glass), Infinity Images (plexiglass graphic panels/product mount armatures), Chuck Lutz (projector enclosure)