Rapt Studio designed the new headquarters for skateboarding brand and shoe manufacturer Vans, located in Costa Mesa, California. Vans is a state of mind. Designed with workspaces for creative self-expression and ‘Off the Wall’ culture, the headquarters was made to embody the company’s evolution. As Vans’ longstanding design partner, Rapt Studio created the office to celebrate the four pillars of the Vans brand – Art, Music, Action Sports, and Street Culture and Fashion. Drawing upon 50 years of youth culture connectivity, the design rethinks how the Vans family comes together around work and play.
After 51 years of moving across the heart of Southern California, Vans has settled into a new global headquarters in Costa Mesa. The new headquarters designed by Rapt Studio is LEED Platinum, the highest standard for sustainability, making it the most sustainable in all of Orange County. The 182,000 sq ft center houses 5 fully merchandised showrooms with upcoming collections, a retail mock store, and a working library. Located on a 14-acre site, the headquarters includes ample room for the Vans brand to grow and evolve.
Bringing the underground to the mainstage, the office was organized around a central courtyard that connects interior offices to outdoor spaces, while an iconic Vans red staircase becomes the literal and figurative symbol of connection between the varied groups housed within. As such, it connects the first-floor café, with the second-floor coffee area and the third-floor outdoor terrace BBQ. The design of the workplace supports a range of active work styles, fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation. Concrete floors allow employees to skate from desks to meeting rooms.
To ensure the new Vans HQ felt like home, Rapt’s designers surveyed Vans employees on the must haves for their new building. Gym, coffee and wifi came up as the three most important things to have in the new HQ, so Rapt Studio designed an on-site fitness facility, jam rooms for employees and guests, and a fully equipped BBQ area along with grab&go stations and coffee lounge with an on-site barista. Rapt Studio also designed the headquarters for flexibility and dynamic work environments with large collaboration spaces and different meeting rooms named after Vans athletes, founding family and locations from their brand’s history.
Further fueling the sense of community, the more public circulation that rings the courtyard on all floors is outfitted with meeting spaces, booth seating (a favorite from the beginning) and places for staff to just get a different perspective. This configuration allows for an employee or visitor to move throughout the building without traipsing through someone’s work environment bringing distraction and noise. Once within the team work environments, employees are afforded plenty of individual space to layout new products, fabric samples or prototypes.
These individual working neighborhoods, also give way to more shared spaces—dedicated work rooms that can retain a project teams’ memory on its walls, various spaces for groups to meet, as well as rooms where one-on-one conversations can happen freely and within the work environment. In homage to the brand’s deep roots in music, there is a jam room available to staff to break out into song at any time, and each of the conference rooms is “wired for sound” with Bluetooth sound.
The shared celebration of Art is apparent throughout with the incredible commitment to Artistic expression—murals, classic skateboard art, and all sorts of street art decorate the walls and elevate the experience. From the original Van Doren tread to the iconic racing stripe, the Vans brand has become synonymous with individual expression. Designed to hold its own and make a mark, the Costa Mesa HQ represents Vans’ evolution from a West Coast skateboarding company to a global youth culture brand. Designed for expressive creators, the Costa Mesa HQ brings innovators and new perspectives together to shape the future of Vans.
Designer: David Galullo, Derrick Prodigalidad, Rosela Barraza, Keith Muller, and Scott Johnson / Rapt Studio
Photographer: Eric Laignel
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