Architects Explain What Makes Panasonic's New Headquarters So Cool

Last summer, Panasonic Corporation of North America moved into a glassy, eco-friendly headquarters in Newark, New Jersey.

The move was a big upgrade for the company, which went from a poorly organised, cubicle-filled office to an open floor plan in a 12-story building that’s on its way to LEED Platinum certification.

“We used to be in Secaucus in a building that felt like a maze. It would be a 10 to 15 minute walk between buildings, and you would almost get lost,” Todd Rytting, CTO of Panasonic North America, told Business Insider. “Now I run into people much more frequently than I ever did before, just because of the foot traffic.”

The new building designed by architectural firm HLW looks great and has ecological features including Tesla charging stations, solar panels, as well as an Innovation Center where visitors can play with Panasonic products.

HLW shared photos of the office and commentary from the architects, which we’ve lightly edited and published in the following slides.

After four decades in a corporate campus in Secaucus, N.J., Panasonic Corporation of North America recently moved its headquarters next to the Newark Penn Station transit hub.

The building is located near several prominent institutions, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and Rutgers University. This helps drive recruiting and nurtures other invaluable connections within the community.

With easy access to trains, buses, and bicycle routes, 40% of employees now use mass transit to commute, up from slightly less than 5% from Panasonic's former headquarters in Secaucus, NJ. The target goal is 80% of employees commuting via mass transit.

The campus includes an electric car charging station for the Tesla Model S. All Teslas are powered by Panasonic lithium ion battery cells.

The roof is covered in 235W Panasonic HIT solar panels.

The new building accommodates around 1,000 employees, contractors, and partners.

On the ground floor, there's an Innovation Center where visitors can learn about Panasonic products.

Panasonic looks out on Newark's industrial legacy through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Each floor honours a famous inventor, such as pioneering American computer scientist Grace Hopper and mechanical engineer Granville Woods. The inspirational graphics displayed in this central breakout space highlight quotations from honored innovators. Graphics and colour coding associated with each floor make it easy to find your way around.

Breakout spaces like this are positioned next to conference rooms to encourage conversation between people from different departments.

This combination pantry and breakout space is another space meant to facilitate collaboration.

This casual meeting space located by the pantry features a Panasonic Panaboard whiteboard.

Pantry areas include innovation leader walls, highlighting the inventions of that particular floor's celebrated individual. Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Albert Einstein are among the geniuses. The latter two made many important discoveries while working in New Jersey, not far from Panasonic's headquarters.

Amenities include a recreation room with a ping pong table near the cafeteria. There's also a healthcare center.

Many of the office's amenities incorporate Panasonic products. For example, the massage recliners, which are situated next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, are very popular after intense deadlines or meetings. In addition, workstations are outfitted with Panasonic Toughbook, meeting rooms offer HD video conferencing on Panasonic interactive flat-panel displays, and kitchens use EnergyStar-rated Panasonic microwaves.

Catering to different work styles and needs, Panasonic's headquarters has more than 100 meeting spaces. Each can be booked online or using digital panels located outside the space.

Glazing, which was used with these huddle rooms, permits an abundance of natural light to enter the facility. Studies have shown the positive impact of daylight on human productivity and happiness. The building's Nexlight control system uses Panasonic components and technology, as well as daylight harvesting, to reduce artificial lighting. Energy used for lighting is 30% lower than the industry standard.

The new workplace strategy and space standards are indicative of a paradigm shift within Panasonic, from a primarily closed office plan to a collaborative, open workplace environment.

The concept behind the Innovator Panels is to inspire employees by showing ways that ideas for some of the world's best known products came together, such as the Panasonic patent applications shown here. In 2013, Panasonic ranked among the top ten companies granted U.S. patents.

The headquarters' top floor celebrates the life and philosophy of Panasonic's founder Konosuke Matsushita, whose seven basic business principles continue to shape the company today.

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