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Architecture & Interior Design of
The Wills Group new HQ


For The Wills Group, a new corporate HQ space was a critical component in this broader corporate transformation that included new ways of doing things for existing employees, and a need to attract a new generation of talent to fulfill the company’s strategic aspirations. 

We supported this project by providing architectural and interior design services to re-imagine the layout, massing, finishes, furniture, decor and communications throughout the new HQ building space. Our approach was to use the space to reinforce new mindsets, habits and methods of how employees interact and collaborate. 

Our design touched every aspect of the 50,000 square foot project designed to house up to 400 employees, including reception areas, work spaces, collaboration areas, conference rooms, training facilities and the dining facilities. 

The design of this new building is a physical embodiment of the company's aspirations and cultural direction.

The Design Vision

 
 

The design of the new Wills Group HQ represents our commitment to provide a venue that inspires a customer experience mindset, through a multi-sensory design implementation. A place that creates a sense of energy and motion, facilitates better teamwork, an open culture and embraces serendipitous interactions. As we build on successes of our past, we look towards a new era, one of customer-centricity that stimulates our eyes, promotes permission to think for ourselves and helps us to create the next chapter in our company history.

The essence of "Lives in Motion" is to go beyond where we have been, individually and collectively, to reach our full potential. Lives in motion is a celebration of the “journey” rather than a fixation on the final destination.

This means avoiding pure nostalgia and clearly signaling past successes as the jumping off point for future exploration and endeavors. The “Core and Branch” design concept supports this notion, with the center area providing a recognition of the organization’s roots and origin stories, and the peripheries representing the “Branches” where new growth, discovery and exploration take place. 

 

Architectural Materials

 
 

Time-honored materials are used throughout the interior architecture to create an enduring design that will feel fresh for years to come. Material selections are grounded in black, white, concrete and white oak, while more vibrant colors are used to tell our story through curated gallery art, furnishings and interior decor elements. 

To differentiate select hero zones from traditional work zones, we introduced a black slat ceiling. Our Floor 2 collaboration zone features a breakout bridge lounge that connects our two living-room set-ups, and is wrapped in white oak and dressed with comfortable furnishings. 

Furniture & Interior Decor
OFS (soft seating, breakout spaces, accent furniture), Design Within Reach, Allsteel (desk, task seating, cafe). Unique decor sourced from Menu Design, Restoration Hardware, Areaware, West Elm, Norquay, Newgate Clocks,

 

Hero Zones

 
 

Reception

A warm and welcoming reception area sets the stylistic tone for what is to come. The reception desk is influenced by the shape of the Wills Group logo symbol, and provides a natural greeting opportunity for arriving guests. Coffee table books are inspired by our heritage, industry, nearby landmarks and Americana.

Café

A comfortable breakout space to meet, eat and connect. Varied seating offers a café-inspired atmosphere. Custom wallpaper by Calico dresses the banquette backsplash and is inspired by sailing and boating culture in the Mid-Atlantic - the paper design is reminiscent of moving water and rings of a tree - an homage to our Heritage Core.

This paper is named after the Japanese tradition of Suminagashi marbling. This ancient art form involves floating richly colored inks in water to create naturally emerging patterns. Each pattern is formed by the ebb of ink flowing and floating on water. Learn more about Calico’s techniques here

Heritage Core

This special architectural moment on a curved wall canvas features our historical timeline that highlights milestones dating back to our beginning. It crawls up the curved staircase wall, creating a progressive experience as you move between floors 2 and 3. Curated objects in the Heritage Shelves on Floors 2 and 3 highlight achievements, recognition and key moments in our history.

Collaboration

An inspired and comfortable breakout area to recharge, catch-up or brainstorm. Varied seating provides optionality for gathering and collaboration. A white oak bridge lounge connects our two living room set-ups, and features enveloping womb chairs. Textile and greenery accents provide warmth and a feeling of home. This space encourages fresh energy and an open-mind, as creative coffee table books bring outside stimulus in, to provide new perspectives and ideas.

 

Wallcoverings

 
 

Our Bespoke Heritage Wallpaper: 

Designed in collaboration with Brooklyn-based Flavorpaper, this bespoke heritage wallpaper uniquely identifies our space in select conference rooms on Floors 2 and 3. This custom-illustrated paper features a variety of vignettes that celebrates our roots and culture by incorporating elements of our company in select brand colors - highlighting our people, places, eras, rituals and local traits. [Rooms: 202A - 202B, #330, #352]

Handscreened Wallpapers: 

A variety of energetic and personality-driven papers dress select conference rooms.

Flavorpaper Office Baroquen: Inspired by William Morris’s philosophy of labor*, the designer of this paper wanted to elevate everyday office supplies to a more creative existence by wrapping them in a Baroque garden. His keen observations of the modern world, with cracked iPhones and corner store coffee cups, bring humor to the ornate flourishes and transport any office space to the high renaissance.

*Morris based his philosophy on the writings of John Ruskin, a critic of the Industrial Age, and a man who felt that society should work toward promoting the happiness and well-being of every one of its members, by creating a union of art and labor in the service of society.

This playful All in Favor paper by Flat Vernacular features high fives and dresses the walls of this training room to encourage teamwork and learning.

Flavorpaper Office Baroquen: In another finish; same description as #216 above.

Flavorpaper Starglint - Designed to mimic the effect when sunlight hits the crest of waves, this mylar wallpaper brings a light and optimistic mood to this conference room, and complements the nearby Open Road art gallery.

 

Art Galleries

 
 

Throughout the building, we have 11 lively art walls that provide color, personality and inspiration throughout our space. All artwork was sourced from independent artists (many local to The Wills Group region), to support our belief in local community and the human touch.

Elevator Bank: Regional Map

Features a custom white-oak framed regional map highlighting our locations across the Mid-Atlantic region. The map features detailed satellite mapping to aid in accurate representation of the area and complements our new interiors style. A confident welcome at our first floor elevator bank.

Elevator Bank: Vision & Values

Features (3) custom posters designed to highlight our mission, vision and values. Background graphics feature our brand colors, mimic movement and are inspired by an abstraction of our “rings of a tree” concept (from the Heritage Core). These three posters are a primer to the Heritage Core Timeline, located steps away.

Heritage Gallery

Features a curated collection of (30) framed photographs highlighting (3) images from each decade dating back to the 1920s - Present (2010s), to highlight the arcs of our history. The wall allows for room of growth for future decades.

Community Engagement Gallery

Features (8) framed present-day photographs and (1) framed article, highlighting a continuation of our timeline, but with a focus on present day Community Engagement activities. This gallery is intentionally lively in color and designed as a “sprawling” gallery, to easily allow for growth.

Energy Gallery

Features a curated assortment of calming, yet energetic artwork to complement the living-room style of the nearby collaboration zone. A custom commissioned map is the gallery center point, highlighting our culture and the unique personality and landmarks of our region.

On the Water

Features (4) artisanal hand-painted oars that offer a playful sculptural nod to the Mid-Atlantic lifestyle. The paint colors are derived from the state flags of our core operating area - (left to right: Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania)

Explorer Gallery

Features (12) artworks that provide a graphical expression of connectivity, diversity, persistence, risk and inspired exploration, with a touch of local flavor.

Open Road Gallery

Features (7) artworks inspired by local sights, seasonality, new growth and natural rhythms. Cool colors help create a warm and welcoming environment near the Private Offices. This gallery lives just outside Conference Room #344 - which features an accent wall with Starglint wallpaper (the design of this paper mimics sunlight hitting the crest of waves).

Freestyle Gallery

This gallery is around the corner from our Lives in Motion gallery and offers a friendly continuation of our Brand Mantra - but instead of featuring our employees “at work”, we feature them “at play.” (21) frames highlight our employees living their best lives - inspired travel, hobbies and adventure create a friendly backdrop to a cozy meeting space near the Executive Offices.

Lives in Motion Gallery

This dynamic mixed-media wall is the embodiment of our Lives in Motion statement, and features (12) photos of employees and select locations, (7) curated artworks and a television to highlight announcements, video and mixed media. 

Our curated art complements the sentiment and energy of our Lives in Motion statement. Frames highlighting employees can easily be updated to keep the imagery fresh throughout the year and highlight rising stars and teamwork within the Wills Group. 

Board Room Galleries

The Board Room has two gallery walls. [Wall 10a] features framed portraits of Wills Group icons, as the visual “bookend” for the Board Room table. This wall can be seen from outside of the conference room, from the Heritage Core, and offers a nice vantage point of these treasured portraits. [Wall 10b] features (6) framed photographs of Board Members throughout the years.