"But they also wanted to have an emphasis on the design side from the start of the process," says Grosser. "Somehow we had to deal with the disparity between an engineering and a design environment and bring the two together."
The building selected to house DesignLab was a 1910s building in Old Town Pasadena just a few minutes walk from Supplyframe's corporate head office, also designed by Cory Grosser + Associates.
The historic brick building had had a diverse history, having once been home to an auto garage, Masarati dealership, Art Center College of Design annex, and even an Apple retailer. Like many old buildings in this earthquake-prone area, it had been structurally strengthened in an earlier retrofit.
"Being in a historic district meant there were restrictions such as what we could do to the facade. But inside we stripped everything out, back to the shell leaving the brick walls on all sides, and the bow trusses in the ceiling."
The interiors needed to accommodate flexible workspaces, 3D printing facilities, an engineering workshop and soldering stations, as well as community space for lectures and events.
Front of house is a stark white, public-facing gallery space, creating the feeling of a crisply designed office reception area. Adding to this look is the steel-clad conference room, which protrudes into the space from the work areas behind.