Photography Credit Jasper Sanidad.
When Cisco decided to remodel its multi-structure campus in San Jose, a key requirement was to support the company’s Connected Workplace model. Our firm proposed highlighting Cisco’s global reach by giving each building a different regional identity. For Building 18 it was Scandinavia. As with other recent projects based on geographic sources, the idea was not to create a literal representation of a place—or even a readable reference. It was to distil the cultural peculiarities of the region into abstract elements for a modern design.
While the differences between Scandinavian countries may be unclear to those who have never been there, our designers found subtle distinctions of character that made the four floors of Building 18—each assigned a country—unique. Using wall graphics as a vehicle for conveying these distinctions, we deployed a variety of graphic techniques—watercolor, pixelated photography, patterned wall paper— to capture the starkness of Iceland, the warmth of Denmark, Sweden’s frosty cheerfulness, Finland’s mystical affinity with nature.
The graphics were positioned to rhyme with the activities going on around them—bright colors and intricate patterns near break rooms and areas with social interaction; quieter, more organic abstractions where people would be sitting for long periods. When combined with the project’s structural highlights—cozy wall cubbies, a ribbed staircase with the dappled lure of a white birch forest—the wintry orientation of these spaces came together in a unified expression of Nordic elegance.