Workspaces need to reflect the values and aspirations of customers, creating spaces that truly
express the brand and, more importantly, support the growth needs of the business. The Adidas
sales team office space (RED) design is a typical case.
If you work as a buyer for a major sportswear retailer, whether it's Foot Locker or Road Runner,
Macy's or Nordstrom, one of the perks of your job is regular trips to Portland, Oregon, to preview
new product lines at Adidas' U.S. headquarters.
Studio O+A designed the Adidas GOLD, Performance Zone and RED campus in Portland, Oregon,
USA. Since the reopening of the new Adidas display park in 2022, Adidas has upgraded the visiting
experience to a luxurious level. Studio O+A’s design allows visitors to feel the atmosphere of
attending a major sporting event at every stage of their journey – reception, first meeting, coffee
break and more. Now, with the completion of adidas RED, shoes and apparel take center stage in
the space and will be showcased like champions.
RED (Building) is a place on the campus dedicated to the adidas sales team (the colors on campus are
named after the colors of the Olympic rings). O+A designed the building’s four floors to reflect an
aesthetic of simplicity and flexibility, two paths identified by adidas for a sustainable future. A company
that has been a leader in environmentally friendly manufacturing, they have set a goal of becoming
climate neutral by 2050. The products introduced by the sales staff in this building will play an important
role in achieving this goal.
To the future Design Ideas
It's no secret at adidas that the sales team isn't all particularly enthusiastic about returning after they
moved out of the RED building five or six years ago. Some people remember the RED building at the
time as a narrow and cramped building that did not match the importance of the work there. The
challenge for O+A was to create a new experience for staff and visitors by linking the design of the
space to the wider impact of the products on display.
To achieve this goal, the design team transformed the RED building into a series of ever-changing
portals to the future. In the fashion world, manufacturers are always a year ahead of the retail market.
O+A has created a series of empty boxes to give buyers of spring products an idea of the shoes and
apparel they will have in stores ahead of summer. Of course, these "boxes" are never truly "empty."
Their simplicity is like an empty stage on which adidas prepares to showcase their products.
Switchable scenes Design Ideas
The result, although seemingly simple, is actually like an architectural version of virtual reality. The
new configuration of the old building consists of large, neat boxes that can be changed quickly and
easily according to the "reality" that visitors expect to see.
In the lobby, a large video display visible from the football field projects brand messaging before
guests enter the building. As guests pass through the minimalist reception area and along a corridor
flanked by large light boxes, the brand story continues in carefully curated displays.
This corridor leads to a black box theater equipped with unlimited digital and AV capabilities. The
space can accommodate cocktail parties or special presentations for up to 50 people. For example,
adidas athletes or specially invited designers. As O+A Design Director Mindi Weichman describes
the project: "You walk down the hallway to the theater, sit down and listen to a brief introduction
to what's going to happen today, and then the doors slide open to reveal the brand new product. "
Above the shop Design Ideas
In adidas RED, the first two floors are basically showrooms, while the upper two floors are where
production is displayed. Work areas on the upper two floors serve marketing managers and
showroom staff. In terms of design, they are no different to the flexible working floors in the larger
GOLD building directly opposite the football stadium - same building standards, same furniture,
similar room types, similar layout.
But because of their proximity to new product launches, they work toward the same goal, with
an immediacy unique to RED’s seasonal culture. Like a theater troupe or a popular sports team,
employees here work to an external clock. Ready or not, they will play whenever the schedule
calls for it.
Art on shoes Design Ideas
When O+A’s design team wrapped up the RED project last year, one of the last tasks was to install
an art installation in the elevator lobby. As the commercial core of adidas' US operations, RED
represents the future of adidas in a very concrete way. In equally concrete ways, this future relies
on the sustainability of the materials and processes adidas chooses.
O+A believed that the artistic concept of the building's four elevator lobbies should reference the
new materials used in each quarter's products and will be used in the future. On one floor, there's
an art piece made from the midsole material used in the company's 4D collection; on another,
there's a clever pattern woven from recycled materials; on a third, a pair of A tribute to Boost
shock-absorbing sole technology.
On the fourth floor, there is a hand-stitched blanket by two O+A designers that incorporates a
variety of sustainable materials used in shoes, clothing, and upcoming sporting goods. Like
everything else on the Portland campus, the artwork on the walls is a tangible representation
of adidas’ optimism and belief in the future.