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Built for Speed: Staples Velocity Lab

Video © Gensler

Topping out at 268 mph—a speed that can literally melt tires—the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport is the world’s fastest racing car. This signature vehicle brings both engineering and aesthetics to its design, one that’s highly prized by car buffs and professional drivers alike.

But how is a record-setting car like the world’s second largest e-commerce company? Both have to move fast to win the race, whether on asphalt or online.

According to John Lynch, Senior Vice President of Construction, Facilities & Support Services at Staples, “The rate of change is very important in the e-commerce business. We need to be moving at a very high rate of speed and accomplishing a lot in a short period of time. That’s what the Velocity Lab is all about.”

The powerful, super-fast car was a key driver behind the look and feel of Staples’ new Velocity Lab, an e-commerce innovation center located in the tech hub of Kendall Square. Concepted by the Agency at Staples,the Bugatti inspiration, speed theme and Velocity Lab name were parlayed into large scale graphics (highlighting the race car’s key metrics, among others). Gensler closely collaborated with the Agency to incorporate these branding elements into the space, which serve as a key reminder of the Velocity Lab’s singular purpose: to move at the speed of innovation.

Staples’ internal creativeteam developed the Velocity Lab name and concept which is displayed prominently at street-level. Image © Gensler

An Urban Incubator

Recognizing that a suburban campus might not align with the desires of a next-gen, urban workforce, the Velocity Lab was developed to co-locate Staples’ innovative Mobile and E-Commerce teams. With its street-level exposure, bold graphics, and startup feel, the Velocity Lab acts a brand beacon, capturing the energy and excitement of the area while leveraging local amenities to attract top talent. It’s strategically situated a few blocks from MIT in a neighborhood filled with active street life, hot new restaurants, and a multitude of forward-thinking tech companies (many of them Staples clients). The location places Staples in the middle of students and young professionals as well—exactly the kind of employees the company wants on their team.

As a recruitment tool for Staples’ primary business unit, the space has an extremely successful performance record: recent recruiting events occurring at the Velocity Lab location have seen over 60 percent of people applying on the spot, a conversion not seen in other similar spaces.

Mobile and E-Commerce teams are co-located in the Velocity Lab, providing the opportunity for teamwork around the world. Image © Gensler

Fun & Functional

Games are located throughout, and dedicated pin-up areas share events and staff kudos. The velocity theme is represented by those Bugatti facts and colorful graphics that reflect a constantly changing, fast-paced e-commerce industry. Staples’ own “Business Interiors by Staples” resource provided combinations of stationary and interactive furniture components that energize the space and allow staff to personalize the environment and make it their own.

Functional components include multiple writeable surfaces to jot down great ideas, technology-rich touchdown spaces for in-house and visiting staff, and a large number of open, collaborative areas that foster interaction among diverse groups. Features such as these provide the opportunity for multidisciplinary teamwork and innovation across Staples business units located around the world.

Pushing Global Innovation

The street-level space has an informal planning structure that reflects its dynamic environment. A technology-rich, hackable environment, the Velocity Lab is well suited to support collaboration among talented professionals in global Staples locations.

An open work environment at the Velocity Lab is punctuated with collaborative meeting spaces and writeable walls throughout, fostering communication among diverse groups and supporting breakthrough ideas. With the addition of well-integrated technology, teams can target issues and develop solutions in real-time, across a global network of offices. . The Velocity Lab has a dual function as a drop-in mobility center as well, creating an environment where professionals from Staples’ suburban HQ can easily plug in and work, have team-building sessions, or host client meetings. In each of these ways, the design and function of the Velocity Lab contributes to the positive impact on employee productivity and Staples' bottom line.

Image © Gensler

The world’s second largest e-commerce company requires an agile and lean workplace to bring breakthrough new ideas in emerging online technologies to market. Named for the speed and energy of innovation, the Velocity Lab is both a resource and an investment for Staples—a space that celebrates the company’s brand, that helps in recruiting top talent, and one that acts as a hub for accelerating innovation.

Arlyn Vogelmann exemplifies a new generation of leadership in design and planning by using a multidisciplinary approach to enhance business performance and support organizational culture. As a Principal and a Director of Gensler Boston’s Consulting and Workplace practices, she has global expertise advising clients across industries—from consumer products to technology and creative to commercial real estate—on the evolving role of the work environment. Contact her at arlyn_vogelmann@gensler.com.

Reader Comments (1)

Multidisciplinary approach is one of the best options for creating facilities.This is very practical and scientific,Good to note the application implemented in successful manner.
05.30.2013 | Unregistered CommenterNarendra Damani

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