International Dairy Queen, Inc. Corporate Headquarters

Merit Award 2020

The design team viewed the new International Dairy Queen headquarters as an opportunity to tell the story of the IDQ brand through artfully integrated design and brand elements that create a unique experience. These design elements are refined and sophisticated yet maintain a quirky edge, an aesthetic coined by the design team as “sophisti-kitsch.”

The design challenge was showing the joy of the DQ brand in a corporate setting that reinvents collaboration and attracts and retains top talent. The ability of the space to envelope employees in an energetic and joyful environment was key for the client. The team worked to integrate artfully designed brand and architectural elements in a way that was experiential and immersive, embracing the joy that is the DQ brand.

The design solution is felt the moment you enter the IDQ lobby, as you are greeted with a bright space filled with color and texture. A glimpse of the cake cone inspired ceiling design and details such as the lobby sofas in the iconic shape of the IDQ logo offer opportunities for the storytelling to begin.

Step into the main workspace, and view the “World of Flavors” Dilly Bar brand installation, which subtly highlights many of the DQ store locations. Destination spaces, such as two large work cafes, offer employees the chance to have a relaxing lunch while sitting in a s’mores inspired booth with marshmallow pillows and graham cracker tufted wall panels, or meet with colleagues at one of the tables equipped with a hidden monitor, raised electronically when needed. 

As you continue through the space, the communicating stair with an awe-inspiring two-story wall clad in 3-D printed ice cream cones guides you to the north plaza where a lively space and community picnic table greet you.

Jury Comments: 

“Kitsch done so well and so right!  Such an amazing connection to a brand without being too in your face.”

“More than a sundae shop. The thoughtful use of the company’s classic novelties as inspiration for graphic and sculptural installation work to create an atmosphere of restrained playfulness, infusing corporate sophistication with a flavor swirl of fun.”

Design Firms: 



International Dairy Queen

Project Area: 

53,000 sq ft

Open Date: 

April 2019

Photo Credits: 

Corey Gaffer Photography

Design Team: 

David Little (principal in charge, design director), Michelle Hammer (lead interior designer)


Art Partners (art and branding consultant), BI Worldwide (experience consultant), General Office Products (furniture), Cushman & Wakefield (project management and brokerage services)


Greiner Construction (general contractor)

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