Client: Windset Farms
Strategy: Tugboat Group, Windset Farms, Chris Young
Creative Direction: Tugboat Group
Windset Farms Office Environmental and Wayfinding Design
Client: Windset Farms
Art Direction: Chris Young (except where noted)
Design: Chris Young (except where noted)
Work completed while employed at Tugboat Group.
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 grew from there into a full environmental and office interior design project.
Building on my experience designing presentation and 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 stays 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 main office areas such as the foyer and reception area, interior wayfinding, and exterior wayfinding.
I visited and toured 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 its 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 inside the building entrance (top photos). A panel wall on the left is shown, featuring a large LED-backlit lenticular image with the custom-built frame and the adjacent wall with an elevator. I’ve included a construction photo of the landing area at the top of the stairs (bottom left) and a high-gloss red panel wall rendering with a CNC cut bevelled 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 a custom-built high-gloss white panel wall, with oversized 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 adorn 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 the 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 wayfinding 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 projects, as it has allowed me to combine my interests in environmental and interior design with graphic design. 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 completion, coordinating with suppliers, contractors and the project coordinator overseeing this project on the ground in Santa Maria, California. This project was an interesting challenge because I was working with very little reference material; a dozen photos of the area and some rough floorplans. I also stood firm with my concept of simplicity and adhered to the less-is-more approach to design. It is common for graphic design studios to want to go heavy-handed on the ‘graphics’ in an environmental project. At the same time, the sensibilities of an interior designer will argue for ‘restraint’ in these regards.
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 was presented to the client to move the project forward.
See also the Windset Farms Packaging Design project.