McDonald's Innovation Center, From Scrappy Utility To Scrappy Chic
Designed @Studio O+A
Primo Orpilla, Mindi Weichman,
Paulina McFarland, Alex Bautista, Elizabeth Vereker, Kaylen Parker
Romeoville, IL is home to McDonald’s unassuming facility which drives the global company’s experimentation and product innovation. This brain in a jar—the IC center is a lab-like environment where kitchen equipment is tested and new processes are fine-tuned and optimized.
Space, due to its heavily utilitarian character, was often described as “hangar-like”, and filled with purpose-lacking clutter. It did not feel like a part of the global food brand and was not in sync with the recently revamped Chicago HQ. O+A’s team was tasked with creating a more successful space layout, as well as elevating the design to match the brand.
Nervy was responsible for matching the new materiality with meaningful graphics and developing a narrative that would inspire and accentuate the sense of pride the employees feel in the company and its innovative practices.
The clunky and utilitarian function of the space was not to be avoided and had to become an integral part of the story. We decided to amplify the focus on the small parts and make them the heroes of the supergraphics. These small parts were a metaphor for the hundreds of employees, tirelessly working behind the scenes, adjusting and perfecting the details so the large system functions flawlessly in the world.
Having distinguished the IC from the McDonald’s brand has brought the employees a sense of pride and visibility to their unique and significant place in the company.