FOX HEAD BY CLIVE WILKINSON ARCHITECTS



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The leaders of the motocross apparel company, Fox Head, Inc. approached us in November 2011, with the goal of relocating their headquarters from Morgan Hill, in Northern California, to Irvine, California.


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They wanted a space that would inspire their staff and encouraged Clive Wilkinson Architects to challenge preconceptions about how an office space can work and how this warehouse shell could become a cutting edge creative house. The industrial warehouse on Armstrong Avenue in Irvine offered an opportunity of consolidating the company in one open, creative environment.


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The design solution for the 82,000 sq. ft. space evolved from the desire to create a functional yet playful environment that befits the Fox image. Equally significant was the company's desire for an open, flexible and collaborative work environment for its employees. Traditional urban planning concepts were utilised to provide the architectural frame to foster a community centred around place, interaction and innovation.


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A Main Street concept, individual task-oriented neighbourhoods, park-like landscape elements and circulation-oriented "facades" were each enlisted to create a community unique to the company's culture. The various departments were organised on either side of the warehouse connected through a "Main Street" bisecting the ground floor. The need to articulate the "Main Street" led to the adoption of diverse interior building frontages emphasising the varied functions.


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Fox's operational needs were met through incorporation of open offices, workstation systems tailored to departmental needs and accompanying support spaces, such as sewing room, photo studio and tech-room. On the exterior, a sculptural addition was proposed to accommodate Fox's main entrance and provide an identifying landmark.


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From the main entrance, a wide street leads you through the single story reception area, defined by a red slatted ceiling, into the "Main Street". Here product showrooms define the boundary of the "Main Street" terminating at the lounge/cafeteria zone with its 18-foot high glazed storefront opening to the outdoor recreation area.


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Here informal meeting areas are housed on the "roofs" of the "Main Street" structures and a raised boardroom offers an unprecedented view of the "Main Street" and the creative warehouse area. Existing and new infrastructure are exposed and coordinated to enhance the architecture, while the warm palette of reds, oranges and yellows reference the original brand colours of Moto-X Fox while differentiating the "monuments" in the city from the muted background.


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Fox's brand represents a diverse set of apparel, equipment, and lifestyle products. In order to celebrate this diversity, the architecture was enlisted to emphasise the different teams of designers, engineers and marketing professionals behind the company image. Each area of the design boasts a uniquely identifiable character. The resulting "city" is a reflection of the company’s character: an open and creative workplace that fosters interaction between varied groups of specialists.


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The exterior grounds offered an extension to the workplace and gave Fox the opportunity to embrace the active culture which it represents. A scheme was developed with a raised garden area emanating from the warehouse, enclosed by hedges and shade trees. Outside the clubhouse, loose furniture under trees encourages people to meet, work and relax; while a bike track becomes a highly visible extension of the company.


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To realise the project within a tight timeframe, the project team took a highly collaborative approach, enlisting early input from the contractor in order to streamline the design and construction process. The project was taken from conception to permitting within 4 months, and constructed on a fast-track schedule over 7 months. The resulting efficiency of delivery ensured the client significant costs-savings without sacrificing quality of the finished product.


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Location: Irvine, California, USA 
Architect: Clive Wilkinson Architects 
Project Team: Clive Wilkinson, Sam Farhang, Sasha Shumyatsky, Matt Moran, Chester Nielsen, Andrea Schoening, Mitsuhiro Komatsu, Annie Ritz, Meredith McDaniel 
Landscape Architect: Melendrez 
Mechanical and Plumbing Engineers: TK1SC 
Electrical Engineers: OMB Electrical Engineers, Inc. 
Structural Engineers: Englekirk Structural Engineers 
Civil Engineers: Ware Malcomb 
General Contractor: Howard Building Corporation 
Area: 82,000 SF 
Completion: December 2012 
Client: Fox Head, Shubin Nadal Realty Investors Project