Growing With Our Clients

Carlie Campesi, Design Director, and Clifford Shih, Designer

What is more exciting than starting a new project? Helping a client to grow a business.

When we meet new clients, we learn how they work and plan for their future. Clients will often have a vision for how their company can grow. When a client shares all the ins and outs of an operation, including what is working for them and what is not, we are respectful of the trust that has been placed in us. We translate this information into design solutions. Spaces that help individuals to thrive and to be inspired become tools for a business to grow.  

When HLW initially interviewed with Pac-12 Networks, which is the diversified content and media company of the Pac-12 Conference, a vision for a new network existed, but not much more. Pac-12 Networks consisted of three employees and, at the time, had no official name. It only took a handful of individuals to champion the idea of creating an entirely new network, from the ground-up. If sports broadcast channels could do it, why not Pac-12 Networks? 

Where to Start with No Existing Brand

So, how do you design for a client that has no existing identity?  It helped to have access to a brilliant marketing professional at Pac-12 Networks, someone to drive the project forward. HLW loved every twist and turn of the journey.

We asked the questions, “What do you want to be? And, how do you want to be seen?” For designers, perhaps the most humbling experience is when a client trusts you and asks you for advice on how to develop an identity for their company.  When we asked Pac-12 Networks these questions, key stakeholders responded, “Pretend Apple and Nike had a baby. The result would be our new network.”

Conveying Big Personality in Branded Spaces

The Pac-12 Networks wanted to be seen as innovative and as pioneering, as well as an organization populated with smart, team-oriented, and tech savvy sports enthusiasts who like to have fun. It was important to pay homage to the twelve institutions that compose the conference. However, obvious representations of sports culture would not work. The space needed to feel consistent with Pac-12 culture and convey the history and evolution of the conference. All of this needed to be accomplished, while simultaneously expressing the idea that this is a cutting-edge network.  

Consider the new headquarters’ ceiling and its acrylic panels. The resulting effect is as if you are under the water, participating in a swimming sport. The pantry’s rubber floor has the same texture as that of a basketball. Similarly, the upholstery for the lobby couch resembles a golf ball. Furthermore, the finishes showcase the rainbow of colors representing the twelve conference institutions.

Fast-track Project, Fast-track to Success

Within a couple of months after assisting the Pac-12 Networks with the real estate selection process, HLW initiated the design. Scheduling and budgetary restrictions were consistent with a start-up company. The full design phase consisted of two months. Construction was completed in five months. The entire project—72,000 square feet of television broadcasting and support space—was designed and erected in less than a year. The project involved cutting open the existing slab to accommodate two large studios and a new feature stair.

This complex undertaking was an exceptional achievement for the design team and contractor. Having 215 talented employees on board the day that the network went live was, perhaps, one of Pac-12’s greatest achievements to date.

Building on Past Accomplishments

HLW is honored to be a part of the Pac-12 Networks’ development and evolution as a company.  Less than a year after completion of the project, we were contacted to design an expansion space for the network, as well as new offices for the Pac-12 Conference. Working in close collaboration with the Pac-12 marketing department, HLW created a new home for the conference. This space is independent of the network, yet still perceived as an intrinsic part of the larger organization. This design solution is consistent with Pac-12’s directive, specifically, that spaces for the two entities should be “like sisters, not twins.” 

HLW expanded upon the design concepts for the new headquarters facility. Our designers were inspired by visits to the Pac-12 Conference institutions, including the UCLA, USC, Berkley and Oregon campuses. The workspaces of innovative companies, such as Pixar, provided further inspiration. The result was some highly creative design solutions, including a glass wall located in the entry to the Pac-12 Conference area. The wall is capable of displaying projected sports statistics. Numerous trophies and awards are positioned along a series of display cases, which eventually lead to a large, interactive TV monitor (100” wide). Similar to the headquarters, the expansion space also contains visual representations of the Pac-12 members’ brands, including color banding on the carpet and wall graphics.

Closing One Phase, Starting Another

On the closing night of the project, key players at Pac-12 Networks expressed their appreciation for a headquarters facility that meets current and future expectations for the continued success of the network. Having worked with this client for a number of years, members of the HLW design team felt very much a part of the organization. It can be bittersweet when a project ends. However, the anticipation of what will be the next phase of growth for a client always contributes to a positive transition and the ability to say, “Goodbye, for now, and we’re so looking forward to Phase 3.”