Behind the Curtain: Wunderman

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Wunderman, one of the world’s largest direct and digital marketing networks, produces award-winning work for clients like Nokia, Ford, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, and Adidas.

So for its new offices in Irvine, Calif., Wunderman opted for something different — a single-floor space in a typical Orange County high-rise. After all, the firm believes that what sets it apart from competitors is its approach of testing creativity against business facts, which removes guesswork from the creative process.

Collaboration areas provide space for Wunderman’s staff to work on team projects.

And that balanced approach to their work is why Wunderman had no interest in replicating the cubicle mazes that have become so common in corporate environments. Its mandate to our interiors team?

“Make sure the space encourages, collaboration, noise, comfort, creativity, and fun.”

Its leaders wanted the new work environment to make people feel at home.

HOK selected an eclectic mix of residential furniture for the reception area that creates a comfortable lounge feel.

HOK‘s design team transformed a predictable building-standard floor into a loft-like space with exposed ceilings that emphasize the overall height. The concrete floors are polished to create a light, reflective plane. Natural light enhances a dramatic, lower-than standard artificial light level.

Exposed ceilings and treated concrete add to the office’s urban aesthetic.

Visitors to Wunderman’s new floor are welcomed by a high-impact elevator lobby, which showcases a custom vinyl wall mural composed of assembled pieces reflecting the “apocalyptic” world of local graffiti artist Shark Toof.

HOK’s graphic designers adapted graffiti from local artist Shark Toof to cover the elevator bank and other spaces.

Past the mural, the reception area registers a distinctly residential impression through its eclectic furniture, carpeting, accessories, and artwork.

Despite Wunderman’s tight space allocation of less than 200 square feet per employee, the overall feeling is open and spacious for the 100 copywriters, art directors, graphic designers, and account executives.

A Knoll benching system provides low components with generous work surfaces and storage units.

Low partitions promote interaction and provide access to daylight and views.

To create visual “noise,” the design introduces color and texture that convey Wunderman’s creativity. The lounge-like atmosphere features a vivid color palette. Unusual furniture, accessories and graphics act as conversation starters.


Translucent partitions provide a feeling of enclosure without interrupting views.

As a destination for breaks and meals, an employee cafe on the office perimeter links to an outside balcony with an open-air lounge complete with tables and colorful umbrellas. It’s an ideal, Southern California-style retreat for a staff of busy creatives.

This cafe area connects to a balcony that serves as an outdoor lounge and multi-use area.

According to Wunderman, the new office has been so well-received that its clients now want to come there for meetings.

When both employees and clients feel at home in an office, we know the design has achieved just the right balance of work and play.

  • Architect/Design Firm: HOK
  • Photography: Benny Chan, Courtesy of HOK
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