Founded in 1986, DocMagic, Inc. is one of the largest mortgage technology companies in the United States. They pioneered technology for the generation of mortgage documents. As a pillar in the mortgage industry for over 30 years, the company has set itself apart by challenging the status quo and relentlessly creating breakthrough technology innovations to ease and enhance the cumbersome process of transaction and mortgage paperwork.
After 2 decades of residing in the same building, DocMagic purchased a new 2 story building in Torrance California and started the process of designing and relocating their headquarters. They would start with the complete interior renovation of the upper level and then return to the project years later when the need arose, to renovate the lower level to it’s capacity.
RA-DA sought to introduce them to new and current philosophies towards workspace design with a goal of enhancing their day-to-day experience, activities and efficiencies. In addition to functional aspirations, RA-DA started to investigate visual and architectural theories that could communicate the core of their business. This was an opportunity to brand their environment and reflect their standing as a leader in this technology space.
RA-DA started by exploring different visual methods of creating a space that would communicate the transfer of information and at the same time engender a ‘virtual’ nature. The resulting design achieved this obscure aspiration with the unique play of light and careful sculpting of passageways that connect the open workspaces. Light corridors were crafted of translucent walls that would catch diffuse lines of light from linear tubes arranged in a variety of patterns behind them. RA-DA defined zones within the floor plate as either ‘places of congregation’ or ‘places of movement’ wrapping around general work zones. All ‘places of congregation’ were articulated by bright colors, using monochromatic carpet tiles to mark an area and contrasted with the pristine and minimal light corridors that defined the ‘places of movement’ which in turn used a thin light floor tile. These two approaches to the flooring also impacted the acoustical impression of the two types of spaces. Congregations were quieted whereas movement exaggerated with a staccato pulse that mimicked the light patterns in the walls.
This aesthetic and design strategy was further developed and employed in phase 2 of the renovation when RA-DA took on the complete revamp of the lower level. Where a series of new types of meeting spaces were created in Phase 1, this phase allowed us to expand on those and continue the use of bold colors to mark meeting spaces and areas of congregation. We took existing underutilized spaces and turned them into a series of unique functions such as webinar recording rooms, video conferencing rooms, solo study spaces and wifi counters to satisfy functions that existed but had no home.
The flooring concept was also extended to this phase and although the acoustically quiet and vibrant rules remained, new flooring materials were introduced. Matching the existing tile turned out to be impossible as the thin tiles were no longer available as a flooring product from Italy and were relegated to wall installations only. This gave us the opportunity to introduce alternate hard surfaces that would work with the tile. It turned out that these would add a much desired individuality to the spaces. A terrazzo floor was used for the downstairs pantry and extended into the library room, providing a seamless connection between the two spaces and a wood flooring was introduced in the software development department giving them an identity of their own.
Each zone features its own branded color. Finding the right colors for this color blocking approach was tricky and had to work with the branding of the company. All the carpet was sourced from Bentley’s Modulyss Line, ‘Fashion&’ which had an array of bold primary colors and good pinks and purples that were important for the DocMagic Branding palette.
Two expanding departments were moved downstairs and given an upgraded and personalized space. These were the IT and the software development groups. Both with very different workflows and needs. IT did not require too much collaboration space but did need access to all the data created by the company to remain perpetually aware of data output of the business. Software Development needed quick meetup spaces and whiteboards throughout. Both were very important departments and at the core of the business.
The new IT room boasts tiered seating and a 20’ wide media wall allowing the team to keep track of important company data. This space has been renamed ‘Mission Control’ and resembles a NASA control deck. The software development team sits in a cluster of custom hexagonal desks giving them a unique, untraditional environment. Custom light fixtures following the hexagonal desk arrangement and the introduction of wood flooring makes their space unique. Flanking their space are a series of bright blue conference rooms, and writable walls allowing quick meetings and an efficiency to their work flow.
The existing pantry was expanded to house a central ‘library’ that could provide either additional workspace for staff or guests or even open up into the main pantry to create a large hosting or townhall feature. This space is separated from the pantry with 4 oversized, automated glass pivot doors. Here, the terrazzo flooring gives a sense of visual continuity. A bright orange carpeted island in the center, under the oversized counter marks ‘The Library’ table and accentuates it as a floating element within that space.
The final result is a two story space that is knitted together by an overarching approach of color blocking and a story of movement. Both phases imperceptible and acting as one complete project.