New brand buildings

Whether using temporary or permanent structures, more brands are turning to the creativity and business acumen of architects. Dominic Rodgers has collected some inspiring examples

5 min read

It may take time and money to develop an architectural project, but people can spend time in the finished building, enjoy it, remember it and talk about it. Yes it should embody the brand’s values and create direct return on investment, but filling people with a sense of wonder is the priceless element.

Filling people with a sense of wonder is the priceless element

Coca-Cola collaborated with Pernilla Ohrstedt Studio on The Beatbox project for the London Olympics that connected with young people through passion for music and sport.

“Coca-Cola invested not only in an emerging design practice, but also an ambitious and experimental design – and remarkably a building without a single logo on the entire pavilion. This paid off both in terms of popular feedback, media coverage, support and praise from the Olympic organisers and the design community,” according to the architects.

Uniqlo cubes by HWKN

Uniqlo cubes by HWKN

Hublot did this to great effect with a pop-up store in Paragon Shopping Mall, Singapore, in collaboration with Asylum. Not only did this fill an empty space with something beautiful, it invited people in for a unique experience.

Hublot Black Gems by Asylum, Singapore

Hublot Black Gems by Asylum, Singapore

Architecture both manages the functional and elevates it so a building can impress visibly and subliminally with the use of space. Perhaps part of the continued success of Frieze Art Fair, for example, is the use of architects to design their temporary homes in London and New York.

Creating spaces for the people you care about builds trust and engagement with them that is crucial to long-term success

Directors Matthew Slotover and Amanda Sharp explain their focus on the guest experience: “This year we will introduce some of the biggest changes to the fair since its founding. We’ve worked with our architects to open up the space more and brought in other changes that we aim to dramatically alter the overall feel of the fair, such as new flooring and ceiling. The corridors will be wider and squares within the fair bigger.”

Frieze Masters, Regent's Park London

Frieze Masters, Regent’s Park London

There is another aspect that architecture offers to brands, even with pop-up stores or temporary structures. It gives a sense of commitment and enduring that makes people feel trust, whether consciously or not. It is an emphatic statement of brand values, from the look and feel, to the ambience. It communicates what the brand cares about in a clear, physical way.

While this is often for retail purposes, it is also used to great effect for offices. Businesses, such as Statoil and Swedbank, have worked with architects 3xn to create corporate offices to create positive working environments for staff that reflect the companies’ values.

Johnny Walker headquarters by Asylum

Johnny Walker headquarters by Asylum


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It can also serve as a long-term community project as with the football training centre in Soweto sponsored by Nike, where there is a social benefit. In time for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they worked with RUF Project to create a world-class training centre using locally sourced materials and solar design. Nike even commissioned artist Kronk to turn the security fence into something beautiful. Sean Pearson, director at RUF Project, says: “Working with Nike is a very collaborative process, which we enjoy very much as our work is typically multidisciplinary in nature. I do believe that working together as designers from various disciplines of expertise can help push architecture into new areas.”

Soweto football training centre

Soweto football training centre

Putting other people first is becoming more important for brands and businesses in today’s competitive environment. Creating spaces for the people you care about builds trust and engagement with them that is crucial to long-term success.

Swedbank office building by 3xN

Swedbank office building by 3xN

Swedbank office building by 3xN

Swedbank office building by 3xN

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