Creative Direction: Tugboat Group
Art Direction/Design: Chris Young (except where noted)
Production/Assembly: Southpaw Signs, Colorific Imaging, Fine Art Framing
Windset Farms is one of North America’s premier greenhouse growers. They recently finished phase 2 of a new 3-million square foot greenhouse facility in Santa Maria, California. Tugboat Group was originally asked to design feature wall treatments for their new facility to greet buyers from large-scale grocers including Costco, Walmart, and Loblaw/President’s Choice with an impressive environment. The project scope has since grown into a full environmental and office interior design project.
Building on my experience designing presentation/sales centres for real estate developers, I created a high-level concept for the interior design of the foyer and reception area which elevated their office environment to a modern corporate head office. From the original request, I wanted to ensure that the vision for the office design stay on brand with Windset – keeping the design clean and bright with the focus on their core business of growing premium greenhouse produce. This project spanned several phases including interior design of key areas of the main office such as the foyer and reception area, interior wayfinding, and exterior wayfinding.
I was able to visit and tour the Santa Maria facility first-hand and it was really rewarding to see the finished project in person. It’s a very impressive greenhouse to visit — Windset has continued to expand their greenhouse square footage immensely since I started seeing the original photos that I worked from; the newest greenhouse runs right up to the side of the red part of the building in the renderings below.
Environmental and Interior Design
MAIN OFFICE ENTRANCE | The red metal-clad panels used to wrap the main tower were my inspiration for the custom fabricated high-gloss white/red panel walls featured throughout the interior design. I’ve included a couple of photos from further away for scale, including the 12-bay shipping area adjacent to the office entrance, which runs the entire length of the building above the shipping area (bottom photos, above).
FOYER AREA | Ground floor concept renderings of the foyer/elevator waiting area, just inside the building entrance (top photos). Shown is a panel wall on the left, featuring a large LED backlit lenticular image with custom-built frame, and the adjacent wall with elevator. I’ve included a construction photo of the landing area at the top of the stairs (bottom left) and a rendering of the high-gloss red panel wall with CNC cut beveled logo that floats off the wall on pins (bottom right).
HERO WALL | The ‘hero wall’ is the first thing visitors see as they arrive at the reception area on the second floor, whether by elevator or by taking the stairs. This 18′ wide by 10′ tall feature wall features custom-built high-gloss white panel wall, with over sized floating LED panel triptych with custom-built dark grey frames to match the slate floor, and LED kick lighting along the recessed baseboard. The frames for the LED panels were built so that the backlit artwork could be changeable.
RECEPTION DESK AREA | Visitors are greeted at the reception counter with a matching white panel wall treatment behind the desk, with five custom-built frame LED panels showcasing Windset’s produce. Understated graphics and a CNC extruded ‘freshness’ message adorns the wall, complete with a corner-mounted flatscreen playing a highlight reel of Windset media including chef guest spots on TV programs.
The top photo is the final reception desk and panel wall just after installation of the LED panels, awaiting the graphics to be applied to the right. The three images just above show the reception desk area concept. I built the mock-up image on top of the construction photo shown on the bottom left.
Exterior signage and wayfinding
In addition to the environmental design components above, I also designed an extensive way-finding program throughout this large facility, both interior and exterior. This covered everything from the welcoming monument signs to how tractor-trailers navigate the 12-bay shipping area efficiently. Above are a photo of the finished monument and wayfinding signage (in English and Spanish) to direct visitors and employees as they navigate the 64 acre facility. The top right photo is the first (of six) greenhouses to give you an idea of how large this facility will be when completed.
Interior signage and wayfinding
Interior signage is a large part of this job – hundreds of signs were created that help direct people around the building, and point out safety and contamination control best practices in and around the greenhouse.
The state of California has the most rigid signage rules, and adheres to strict compliance with all ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act signage) which mandate inclusion for all peoples including the blind. This included creating secondary signs that include braille that cannot be mounted on the door). It was my job to ensure that all signs we created would pass the ADA compliance test.
In addition to the hundreds of signs made, a complete signage overview master document was prepared for the client so that any other additional signage needed would complement the existing signage, and would also be California ADA compliant.
This has been one of my favourite recent projects, as it has allowed me to combine my interests in environmental and interior design with the graphic design I am better known for. I really enjoy, but rarely get to apply these other design facets in the studio setting. With creative direction from Tugboat, I conceptualized this project from the beginning through to coordinating with suppliers, contractors and the project coordinator overseeing this project in Santa Maria, California. This project was an interesting challenge because I was working with very little reference material. I also stood firm with my concept of simplicity and adhered to the less-is-more approach to design. It is a common tendency of graphic design studios to want to go heavy-handed on the ‘graphics’ in an environmental project, while the sensibilities of an interior designer will argue for ‘restraint’ in these regards.
Windset Farms is one of North America’s premier greenhouse growers, based out of Delta, BC. They also have a new 3-million square foot greenhouse facility in Santa Maria, California.
Final Images Gallery
A gallery of final images that encompass the entire project including the interior design treatments, signage and wayfinding components.
Concept Images Gallery
A small gallery of concept images that were presented to the client to move the project forward.
Work completed while employed as a Senior Graphic Designer at Tugboat Group.
All work copyright Tugboat Group, Windset Farms, and their respective owners.