After a 30-year residency in Southfield, Microsoft decided to join downtown Detroit’s growing tech hub and move its regional technology and training center to the heart of the central business district, the fifth floor of One Campus Martius.
The Technology Center contains three main programmatic components. The customer area is comprised of conference rooms of varying sizes and multipurpose rooms for hosting a range of events. The technology area features a maker’s space for developing products, an envisioning center for demonstrating products, an augmented/virtual reality room, an interactive center for engaging with products, and a training room for group sessions. The employee area includes a tech support counter, conference rooms, and employee work points available to both stationary and mobile staff members.
The workplace is anchored by three informal gathering areas – the reception lobby, designed as a living room, and two serveries designed as combination kitchens/dining rooms. The exposed ceilings, wood-look flooring, wood wall panels, and metallic accents are industrial yet warm, invoking a hand-crafted feel. These areas give the space a “resimmercial” aesthetic through furniture typically found in residential design, such as oversized islands, communal bench seating, and area rugs. The lighting from simple, architectural fixtures set a calming mood.
The client wanted the design to be representative, not only of their corporate brand, but of regional culture as well. Nods to the State of Michigan and City of Detroit include automotive themed and historic photo murals, custom window films depicting the topography of the Great Lakes and icons of Detroit pop culture, and a large reception clock by a well-known local manufacturer. The design includes millwork niches and shelves to display the works of local artists, and a custom
3D wall mural commissioned for this specific site that is visible from the full height building atrium.