PRE-DESIGN RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The design for the Walmart.com Offices was derived from a research methodology developed by Estudio Guto Requena. Interviews and dynamic online exchanges with company employees were conducted to assess values , needs and expectations. Three principal focal points emerged from this process: digital culture, the Walmart.com brand and brasilidade (Brazilian identity). This research also informed the choice of colors, materials, forms, programing and design concepts. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK We applied these three focal points and their commonalities to an exploration of the building’s prominent terrace and developed from this a guiding concept for the company's headquarters: the Urban Veranda. Design choices reference the Brazilian habit of engaging outdoor areas for social interaction and relaxation. Elements include beach chairs, the many large buildings with terraced facades, picnics (visible in the carpet patterning), the patios and balconies of Brazilian homes, and the rural habit of placing a chair in the street to enjoy the evening and chat with neighbors.
PROGRAM AND IDENTITY
The headquarters occupy five floors with over a thousand square meters each. One of the challenges of this project was to bring a more human dimension to the work environment with spaces that are welcoming and comfortable, even pleasant and informal, while maintaining professionalism and practicality. Other challenges included a lean budget and a tight deadline.
To help locate and guide visitors and employees in this large area, we created a unique visual identity for each floor through centralized cocoons that develop organically between the pillars and break the rigidity of the orthogonal space. Each floor was designed with a predominant wood type. Pine, OSB, Eucalyptus and Masisa Zurich combine with a single color in various shades, all chosen from the official Walmart color palate of yellow, orange, blue and green. Different floors house individual departments, such as Business, Sales, Human Resources or Finance, and also contain lounges and decompression environments, including games rooms, film screening areas, video games and a library. These areas are to encourage the exchange of ideas and interaction between employees from different departments.
Workstations are located near windows to take advantage of daylight, and the lighting design prioritizes economy. In lounges and decompression areas indirect light is used in amber hues with decorative fixtures. Specifically created for this project is the hanging Gourd Lamp made from the fruit itself. Traditionally, these have been used in Brazil as containers, and also as resonators in musical instruments such as the chocalho, the berimbau and the maracá. Dried gourds were painted gray inside and arrayed on a wooden support, with colorful wiring left exposed.
FURNITURE AND DECORATION
We prioritized the use of domestic furniture in both the offices and lounges, with signed pieces by the established Brazilians designers Maurício Arruda, Jader Almeida, Lina Bo Bardi, and Paulo Alves and Fernando Jaeger. We also included pieces that are part of the popular Brazilian imagination, such as rocking chairs, beach chairs, porch chairs and picnic tables. For the production of objects and decorative elements we used images of contemporary Brazilian photographers, as well as maps, illustrations and Brazilian folk art. Skateboards and bikes reference the lifestyles of younger employees.
Throughout the office we emphasized the use of plants, and created a green belt that runs through the peripheral spaces and contributes to the identity and warmth of the work environment. TERRACE The outdoor area was designed for both work and relaxation. Wood decking orders the environment, together with porch furniture, shaded areas, a space for yoga and a grandstand facing the facade that can host small events, concerts and film screenings. A mini-golf course was also specially designed for the terrace.