Creating a new headquarters in New Jersey for Unilever’s 1,000+ brands was a mammoth task. Perkins and Will transformed five 1960s office buildings into a new, state-of-the-art workplace with climate consciousness at the heart.
CLIENT: Nate Barney, Unilever North America Service Delivery Director, Workplace & Travel Services
Plans for our North American headquarters launched in 2014 to support our Sustainable Living Plan and Unilever’s corporate-wide goal to be carbon positive in operations by 2030. Together with Perkins and Will and Edge Technologies, we crafted a future-proof vision with sustainability at its heart.
We wanted a workplace that supported the evolving needs of our modern workforce, while also functioning as a recruitment tool to attract the best and brightest talent.
One year on, the endeavour has been a huge success. Not only have we received an overwhelmingly positive response from employees, the project has also been awarded LEED platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council as well as LEED Commercial Project of the Year.
It was crucial that the new space empowered employees to work with flexibility and support their physical and mental wellbeing.
Now, integrated technologies allow staff to adjust room conditions through an application on their phone.
Simply put, we are giving our people the agency to make their working environment as comfortable as possible, in real time.
Ultimately, we believe that Unilever has a responsibility to make sure our operations leave as small a footprint as possible on our planet while also providing our employees with a safe, healthy and productive work environment.
ARCHITECT: Paul Eagle, Perkins and Will’s New York studio
Perkins and Will were tasked to redesign and reposition Unilever’s North American headquarters.
As both designers and workplace strategists, we saw a huge opportunity to transform a sprawling suburban office park in New Jersey into a smart and sustainable campus with a dynamic vibe that matches the energy found in Manhattan workplaces.
Sustainability anchored every design decision from the outset. It was critical to the client that the new space support The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan – a mandate to cut the firm’s carbon footprint by 50% while simultaneously doubling business.
Key to the project’s success was our collaborative partnership with Edge Technologies. We worked with the Dutch developer to integrate technology thoughtfully and intuitively into the design without compromising on aesthetic vision.
This included over 15,000 sensors used to measure temperature, light, carbon dioxide, humidity, and who’s present in a room, helping the building adjust over time to become more efficient.
The 325,000-square-foot renovation also included the construction of The Marketplace, an entry pavilion and common area that stitched together the open space between individual buildings to create an entirely new, enclosed structure.
Unilever’s North American HQ opened almost one year ago. OnOffice checks in to see how employees are settling into the space