Client: Toyota Motor Corporation
Location: Washington, DC, United States
Completion date: 2015
Calder Brannock and Camille Morin
j fine art LLC
(for the Metal Screen Wall)
SBLD (Susan Brady Lighting Design)
Price Modern (Furniture Dealer)
Toyota’s Government Affairs Office is, in essence, their corporate embassy. It’s intended not just as a workplace but as a gracious, evocative space where visitors and staff connect with the organization on an emotional level. The space needs to tell the many layered stories of Toyota’s history, mission, values, and products through a sophisticated language. To create a space more nuanced than a typical corporate headquarters or car showroom, the team integrated the stories of the organization through both product photography and commissioned artwork. The commissioned pieces are designed to speak to Toyota’s ethos, values, and pride of craftsmanship.
The challenge presented to the design team for the new government and industry relations office for Toyota Motor North America was to celebrate their three brands, new products, corporate heritage, and passion for their craft without looking like a predictable car showroom. The design team looked to art collaboration to weave together the literal, abstract, tangible, and intangible into a complete story that unfolds as one travels through the space.
The architecture is deliberately restrained with clean and simple lines, a high contrast palette and generous daylight for an inviting aesthetic. The three brands are integrated in ways that are evocative of their niche. The Lexus brand is the first impression in the lobby with a custom fabricated aluminum screen installation that is derived from their signature grille. The edgy Scion brand is represented in the colorful street art murals. The durable Toyota brand is showcased in the sculptural relief created with the Tundra side panel. New products are included through carefully paired full product and detail photography hung in a flexible system in the main lobby. The corporate heritage is particularly highlighted in the fully functioning tea table built around an antique Toyota engine block.
Early in the design process, Judy Sherman was engaged to both collaborate on the concepts for scripting the overall narrative as well to begin the search for artists. The partnership between Gensler, j fine art, and the lead client from Toyota was cultivated through constant communication so that the final vision would be one that was the best reflection of Toyota’s brand and mission. During the artist interviews, Brannock shared a story about how he learned patience and passion for his craft, working with his hands, at the side of his father as they would build and rebuild the engine in their old Toyota truck. His incredibly personal connection to the brand resonated immediately with the client forging immediate trust and a lasting bond. During the creation of the murals, Udofia walked the site with the design team and the client sharing sketch after sketch, completely transparent in his process, engaging the client and sharing the creative journey.
That passion for craft threads through every element in the space. The screen, the terrazzo, the art, the stair, the detail shots of the cars – each element is an example of the care of the human touch and pride of creation.