The Unilever Marketplace
Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey
In 2014, Unilever unveiled “Project Unify”—a plan to consolidate five of its North American offices and several of its operating groups into a single, state-of-the-art workplace. The new headquarters not only had to be modern, flexible, and conducive to employee health and well-being, but it also had to help the company reduce its carbon footprint by a staggering 50 percent while doubling its revenues—an ambitious goal outlined in Unilever’s global Sustainable Living Plan. .
Workplace strategists and designers from Perkins+Will, an interdisciplinary, research-based architecture and design firm, helped Unilever craft a future-proofed vision for its new headquarters—a concept and design known as “The Unilever Marketplace”—which entailed the creative retrofitting, renovation, and re-positioning of the company’s existing corporate campus. Real estate experts at Cushman & Wakefield, a leading global real estate services firm, then helped to secure the optimal amount of space for Unilever’s business operations and, together with developers OVG Real Estate, the creator of The Edge Amsterdam—the world’s most sustainable and smart building, and Normandy Real Estate Partners, a renowned New York and New Jersey based investor and developer with a strong track record of redevelopment projects, devised a sustainability strategy and sale-leaseback approach that significantly increased the project scope while dramatically reducing energy usage and overall occupancy cost. Through sustainable investments such as implementing several of the world’s first smart technologies, the developers were able to guarantee Unilever a maximum energy and gas consumption of the building. Cushman & Wakefield also served as project manager, having partnered with the developers to deliver the final building to Unilever.
Perkins+Will collaborated Unilever for the design of their North American headquarters in New Jersey. The project includes a 300,000 square foot interior renovation and the construction of a new entry pavilion. The renovation consists of an upgraded building facade with new glazing, upgraded roofing to provide better insulation, new employee and visitor entrance vestibules, skylights to add generous light to the existing space, and a four season atrium space.
The design works to connect a series of programmatic pavilions with a continuous aesthetic that includes new branding elements to reveal the company’s core goals and values. The program incorporates mobility, alternate workstyles, informal meeting areas, lounge spaces, and café areas. The goal is to provide an invigorating workplace where people become friends and colleagues, communication becomes knowledge, and a job becomes an experience, a sense of pride and belonging.
The building program is made up of executive areas, general office space, conference spaces, training, food service, and an 800-car parking garage. Additional specialty program elements include a chef and test kitchen for testing and showcasing new food products developed in the adjacent research and development labs accommodated in the same facility.