Working in collaboration with Little & Associates, Architects and Pentagram Design's SF office we designed a new corporate headquarters for Muzak, the legendary environmental music company. In addition to housing the largest digitized music library in the world, the new offices in Fort Mill, SC combine Muzak’s creative, technical and corporate staff for the first time in recent company history.

Pentagram's Kit Hinrichs first created an identity and branding program for Muzak that helped the company get beyond its reputation as “elevator music” by stressing the music as an emotional rather than technical resource. The headquarters reflect this new spirit.

We developed the 100,000 sq ft headquarters as a “city” within a building. The interior is defined by discrete solid forms, all organized on a city-like street grid with public spaces. There are no private offices and spaces are not divvied up according to corporate hierarchy, but rather by work style of the group. Meeting rooms and additional service facilities appear as interior “buildings” in the cityscape. Palettes of different materials distinguish the meeting rooms, with one set built from varieties of wood, another metal, a third masonry, and so on. The distinctions help direct people (“meet you at the cork conference room”), as well as create “neighborhoods” within the building.

The honest industrial character of the building is reinforced through details such as exposed structure and HVAC, wiring trays, and exposed concrete and metal flooring in important areas. The circular Muzak identity is echoed in many large and small details, such as the round cutouts in the entry pieces and the pegboard used to clad the exterior.