The 7 Best Gear Offices in the World
Campuses aren’t just for college students
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Unless you live in Silicon Valley, chances are your office building is less than inspiring. But these seven gear makers are trying to bring the outdoors inside with sweeping, modern campuses complete with pools, miles of singletrack, a 50,000-square-foot playground on steroids, and even Italy’s largest climbing gym. It might be time to update your CV.
The award-winning, 55,000-square-foot Pearl Izumi facility sits almost on top of Coal Creek Trail in Louisville, Colorado. The building features customizable open workspaces, an enclosed courtyard, and even an outdoor amphitheater. High ceilings and abundant natural light throughout are designed to blur the boundaries between inside and outside.
In addition to offices, R&D facilities, and sewing stations, the building houses a locker room, bike room, and full kitchen. Employees are encouraged to take daily lunch rides and runs and have access to a fitness center and classes.
Vibram’s testing center—a 50,000-square-foot playground with ice (wet and dry), rock, wood, soil, steel, and suspended ladders all built atop infinitely adjustable incline ramps—lies at the heart of the shoe-sole maker’s headquarters in Huadu, Guanzhou, China. Cameras in the facility capture and collect data from testers while load cells and biomechanical-force plates measure underfoot forces and motion.
The Ice Room, where the mercury hovers around 10 degrees Fahrenheit, features smart ramps with built-in sensors and an ice pad for surface testing. More than 140 employees work at this design campus, where they have access to a gym, tennis and basketball courts, a pool, dining rooms, and guest accommodations.
New Balance is currently building a $500 million, 15-acre village called Boston Landing in the city’s suburbs. When complete, the campus will include a 225,000-square-foot main facility that’ll bear a passing resemblance to a high-top sneaker, a 190,000-square-foot office building, 275 apartments, a track and field complex, boutique hotel, and 80,000 square feet of retail space, including a New Balance “experience” store. Oh yeah, it will also have an on-site ice rink that’ll serve as the training grounds for the Boston Bruins. Boston Landing is so massive that New Balance paid for the small city to get its own commuter rail station for the 5,000 employees who will work there.
An Italian maker of technical apparel and hard goods, Salewa designed its energy-efficient headquarters, tucked into the foothills of the Dolomites, to look like a shimmering mountain range. The north side is built entirely from glass, and the south side is covered with a microperforated aluminum skin that regulates inside temperature while allowing in natural light. That design, plus 450 kilowatts of rooftop solar panels, reduces the facility’s carbon footprint. In addition to the offices, the campus has four solar-powered apartments, an automated warehouse, a kindergarten, and Italy’s largest climbing gym—half an acre with more than 90 routes. A rooftop organic garden feeds the staff.
About 8,500 employees work at Nike’s 270-acre World Campus near Beaverton, Oregon. Its 38 buildings are all named after legendary athletes (think Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazer, Joan Benoit-Samuelson, and Michael Jordan) and house memorabilia from each legend’s career. The campus also includes the 6.5-acre Lake Nike, miles of running trails, and the Bo Jackson Sports Field, surfaced with 4.5 million ground-up Nike sneakers. Also on campus: cafes, salons, a wellness center, a child development center, a football field, two soccer pitches, a full gym, and an ozone-filtered swimming pool.
Constructed on an old military base in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the 96-acre Adidas campus is home to 1,700 employees. The main seven-story facility, dubbed Laces, is built around a massive central atrium with crisscrossing walkways that make the building look like a laced-up shoe when viewed from above.
In addition to testing facilities, Adidas has a private studio where it body scans and fits elite athletes for custom clothing and footwear. Sports facilities on campus include a tennis court, basketball court, two beach volleyball fields, a soccer pitch, and sports stadium. Employees have access to daycare, a CrossFit box, five training rooms, and a large gym. A wall of fame showcases an impressive footwear collection from Adidas’ most famous athletes.
VF Corporation/The North Face
The 160,000-square-foot, LEED Platinum–certified VF Corporation campus in Alameda, California, is home to several of the parent company’s brands, including The North Face, Lucy, and Jansport. To reduce its carbon footprint (and save money), VF used 5,500 pairs of ground-up jeans for insulation; five wind turbines and more than 4,000 rooftop solar panels generate more electricity than the facility can use. All 580 employees have access to a state-of-the-art gym, which hosts bootcamp sessions, yoga, The North Face Mountain Athletics program, and other fitness classes. The cafe sources locally grown organic food, some of which comes from the employee-tended campus garden.