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Cory Grosser + Associates designed the offices for Supplyframe’s DesignLab, a technology collaboration hub located in downtown Pasadena, California. The project began when Supplyframe acquired Hackaday, an online community of over six-million engineers sharing innovative ideas daily. This community inspired the concept for DesignLab, a place where hackers and creatives could come together and, through collaboration and resources, take their ideas beyond hypothetical.

The Supplyframe DesignLab’s mission is to be a workspace and collaboration hub bringing together inventors and entrepreneurs to explore the future of how projects are built and brought to the market. The 4,900 square foot studio space was to be a hothouse of hardware innovation, entrepreneurial thinking, education and thought leadership – a hacker space at
the next level.

The interior combines areas for brainstorming, prototyping, model making and fabrication with a gallery and assembly space for community events. The historic building housing DesignLab is typically Old Town Pasadena, with bow-arched ceilings, exposed wood beams, and warm brick walls. These qualities were preserved and consciously juxtaposed against the new construction of clean white ceiling clouds, polished concrete floors and industrial steel-clad walls, all of which speak of the Supplyframe brand and Hackaday vibe.

In complete contrast to the current creative workplace design focus on spaces that are light, airy and warm, DesignLab is deliberately stark, industrial and elegant – designed to encourage the raw energy and passion needed to create something entirely new. Referencing traditional factories and workshops, the design employs a palette of blackened cold-rolled steel, concrete and rough-sawn timber, while glass, glossy black and white surfaces and premium furnishings reflect the elegance of high-end workspaces.

Circulation is organized around a 40ft long free-standing box housing an ideation space and rapid-prototyping lab. Clad in blackened steel and glass, this volume protrudes into the street-facing gallery to hint at the innovation areas behind. In a theatrical gesture, glass walls punctuate both volumes, allowing a peek inside to view the making process. An open-benching area includes custom-made furniture that can be reconfigured.

There is also a kitchen, to refuel and meet at custom high-top tables, and a large shop area filled with state-of-the-arc equipment, and a garage area to accommodate large-scale works. For Pasadena, a city long known as a creative hub and home to renowned institutions of design and technology including Caltech, ArtCenter College of Design and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Supplyframe DesignLab is a perfect addition – a place where the blurring of boundaries between art, technology and creativity meet and ideas become reality.

Designer: Cory Grosser + Associates
Photography: Benny Chan

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