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Eye Candy: Skull Candy Designs for Productivity & Style

Jan. 16, 2018

The new headquarters for lifestyle audio brand Skullcandy offers stunning views of nature thanks to movable walls that blur the lines between indoors and out.

Born on the ski slopes of Park City, Utah, the iconic performance and lifestyle audio brand Skullcandy recently relocated its new headquarters to the base of Utah Olympic park. Home to roughly half of the company’s employees, the striking 45,000-square-foot facility is an anchor in the Park City Tech Center that embodies Skullcandy’s energetic culture and upholds its commitment to the environment.

Salt Lake City-based Think Architecture was tasked with designing an environmentally friendly structure that integrated into the landscape and maximized its striking views. According to Principal Architect Tyler Kirk, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, “The overall aesthetic of the building needed to reflect the future of where Skullcandy is going while maintaining a connection to its past.” The building also needed to feel like it belonged in Park City, simultaneously fitting into the technology campus where it’s located.

Designing for Productivity

The design goal was to create an environment that was open and productive, and that housed all of Skullcandy’s various departments in one cohesive setting. The resulting layout accommodates sophisticated 3D printing labs, sensitive sound testing chambers, fabrication shops, research areas, conference rooms, and open office space. All of these elements function independently but also allow for continual interaction and circulation between various departments.

The first floor of the building includes a public space, full-service kitchen, showers, a game area, a retail store, and a warehouse. A second floor is dedicated to employees, with an open floor plan featuring collaborative spaces, larger meeting rooms, standing desks, and smaller conference areas. The space fosters collaboration and creativity, two important aspects of Skullcandy culture.

Lifestyle Design for Lifestyle Audio

Material selection was a critical component of the design process. The design team specified modern, natural building materials that would weather gracefully and maintain their aesthetic appeal for years to come. Natural stone was mined from a local quarry while zinc panels incorporated into the design will naturally patina over time and take on a unique, mottled look. Cor-Ten steel will eventually transform into a natural orange that will reflect the color palette of the surrounding environment. Additionally, a modern, distinctive window mullion pattern creates a visual sense of movement and energy, evoking Skullcandy’s identity as a musical and active lifestyle brand.

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A large deck on the second floor of the building seamlessly connects to an outdoor plaza on the main floor, thanks to a pair of NanaWall folding glass wall systems. The integration of indoor and outdoor living is at the heart of the company’s culture; the folding glass walls facilitate this while also providing overflow space for large company gatherings and public celebrations.

interiors+sources recently spoke with Kirk to learn more about how the design team leveraged this movable wall system to help meet the client’s goals for a dynamic indoor-outdoor space that embraces Skullcandy’s values.

interiors+sources: What were the goals of the project and how did the NanaWall product help achieve them for this application?

TYLER KIRK: [Skullcandy] had people on all different floors and in all different spaces, and they weren’t directly connected. They were trying to get into a building where everybody could be together where it was a more cohesive work environment. But they also wanted to provide a lot of different amenities there to create a facility that [attracts] people to move to the area and work for them. So, there are a lot of spaces that were designed as amenities or feature areas and the NanaWall [product] in particular is part of one of those [zones] with an employee lounge with kitchens and skate parks and things like that.

They wanted the ability to use the NanaWall to open up that gathering space to the exterior plaza to hold large company gatherings or meetings with their sales team with people coming in from all over. They could have all of those people meeting in one space. 

i+s: What role did the site play in the overall design and the decision to use movable walls, specifically?

TK: The site influenced the design quite a bit because it backs onto a dedicated open space. There’s a nice area there that allows us to have views of nature, and it also looks toward the Utah Olympic Park so there are good views of that. The desire was to have lots of glass to preserve the views to those natural landscape areas. It’s a big part of Skullcandy’s culture—the outdoor, adventure-sport culture and just creating a building that captures those views and [blurring the lines between] the indoors and out as much as possible.

i+s: Was the decision to specify NanaWall at the client’s request or your recommendation?

TK: It was our suggestion because the NanaWall product can really integrate well with the current wall system that we had designed. There aren’t a lot of other folding wall manufacturers that do it quite as well. Other wall manufacturers can do it but it doesn’t look as seamless as the NanaWall.

The [main] reason for [selecting NanaWall] was that those walls can be opened up to that outside plaza. You can enjoy the weather and have that indoor-outdoor kind of environment, so when they do have big events it’s just a seamless flow from inside to outside in good weather scenarios. 

About the Author

Robert Nieminen | Chief Content Director

Robert Nieminen is the Chief Content Director of Architectural Products, BUILDINGS and i+s, sister publications of Smart Buildings Technology. He is an award-winning writer with more than 20 years of experience reporting on the architecture and design industry.

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