Inside Trek’s new design studio

Concept 13 2

Some of you may have already seen this story on Bike Radar or CyclingNews. Trek recently opened the doors to a new 20,000 square foot design studio that is located in a former warehouse area of their Waterloo, Wisconsin headquarters. I won’t repeat all of the details that are covered in the two articles I just mentioned, but if you haven’t already read them, definitely take a look. As I read the Bike Radar article, this quote from Trek Creative Group director Eric Lynn was one of a few that caught my attention:

“This is the Trek brand identifying that design is a huge part of our success and it’s a huge commitment to design. The quality of the staff, the investment in the facilities, it’s all just made a quantum leap and it’s Trek’s executive group recognizing that this is a huge part of our success and they’re going to concentrate on making sure that we have the tools to be successful. It’s a sea change in how we approach design.”
It is great to see Trek’s obvious commitment to the design and creative groups with this substantial investment. After reading the articles about the new space, I immediately wanted to see more, so I asked a few of the ID guys at Trek for any additional shots they could provide. Wow, they definitely delivered! Take a look at all the photos below. I can’t wait to see some of the design work that comes out of this new creative environment. At some point, I hope to even be able to make it up to Wisconsin to check out the new space in person.

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13 Comments

  1. B. Nicholson February 14, 2009 at 2:08 am -  Reply

    Build electric velomobiles.

  2. Anonymous February 14, 2009 at 7:12 am -  Reply

    Wow! That is what a corporate design studio should look like.

  3. Robb Sutton (198) February 14, 2009 at 9:20 am -  Reply

    Wow…what a cool office…I want to work there!

  4. Shawn Small February 14, 2009 at 1:33 pm -  Reply

    looks like a place where industrial designers work and not engineers.

  5. Anonymous February 14, 2009 at 10:57 pm -  Reply

    People have, people will but never seem to get US interest – except for a small few. Just a case of “I got my hybrid velomobile”. I sure wish more people did.

    “Build electric velomobiles.”

  6. Garrett February 16, 2009 at 1:04 pm -  Reply

    Talk about ridiculous, why does everything have to be so fancy?

  7. James February 17, 2009 at 8:16 pm -  Reply

    Garrett, I don’t see this new studio as ridiculous at all. Throughout my design career, I have worked in different types of corporate office and studio environments. Based on my experience, I can say without a doubt that a creative space, which fosters informal collaboration, can positively influence the output of all the designers who work there. Most design consultancies have such creative spaces, but often in-house corporate designers work in typical office or cubicle environments that do not inspire or encourage creativity. The fact that Trek’s management considers this space an investment in their
    creative staff shows that they “get” that. I am sure they expect a return on this investment and my bet is they will get it.

    Also, I will mention that details, like artwork created by the designers who work in the space, goes a long way toward cultivating a creative environment without a breaking the bank. When designers are allowed to create their own workspaces, they usually can do a lot with the given budget, whatever that budget happens to be.

  8. Anonymous February 18, 2009 at 9:00 pm -  Reply

    How much Koolaid exactly do you have in your fridge, James?

  9. James February 19, 2009 at 6:26 am -  Reply

    Anon 9:00, no koolaid here. Like I said, from my own experience, a creative environment makes a difference in the work I do. I currently work in a more standard corpoarte office environmant and it is harder to informally interact with other designers and to come up with creative solutions

    My guess is that you are not a designer though and you think this is a unnecessary expenditure on Trek’s part. What can I say…I think you are just wrong.

  10. Anonymous February 22, 2009 at 11:28 pm -  Reply

    Actually no, I’m in ID. Have been since 1993.

    Have you been stuck in corporate hell since you graduated, or have you had standards beaten out of you? An Octanorm cell with pretty pictures on the wall hardly constitutes something to get excited about, and all I see here is Trek asking us to get the pom-poms out for something that’s really not that interesting.

    Good on them for not making their engineers sit in cubicles, but on the grand scheme of what’s possible vs what they’ve done, I give them a resounding 4/10.

    It’s called ‘perspective’.

  11. James February 23, 2009 at 12:16 pm -  Reply

    OK Anon, when I read the koolaid comment, I assumed that you didn’t agree with the premise that the physical environment makes a difference for people doing creative work. Now it seems that you just don’t like the new space at Trek. Either way, fine with me…we just disagree. To answer your question though, I graduated in 1992, have worked in a few different types of design environments (all with different sets of positive and negative aspects). Whether in a consulting type environment, or a corporate one, I don’t think any standards have been beaten out of me (whatever that is supposed to mean).

    By the way, this new studio at Trek is where the industrial designers and graphic designers are located. You mention the engineers in your comment, but they are not located in this new space.

  12. Gustavs March 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm -  Reply

    Very cozy and relaxing place to unwind.

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