Ben & Jerry’s: Corporate Whimsy In Design
For inspiration, LTT often need look no further than our own backyard. Burlington, VT, where this blog originates, has quietly established itself as a wellspring of innovative thinking, with local companies like Burton, Seventh Generation, Magic Hat and others helping to push their industries forward in a global market. Ben & Jerry’s, founded in Burlington, is just such a company and perhaps the best known (or at least in my books the tastiest- mmm, Phish Food…). Its collaboration with the always interesting TruexCullins, a Burlington-based architecture and interior design firm who’s “net zero” homes we profiled earlier this year, provides inspiration for today’s post.
When Ben & Jerry’s renovated its corporate headquarters in 2006, TruexCullins was tasked with creating design elements that would reflect and reinforce the company’s irreverent and offbeat brand identity. This included adding a curved slide that connects the conference room above to the main floor below. As Matthew Bushey explains on Truex’s blog, the thinking was that “after sitting through a tedious staff meeting, you can pop into the ‘escape hatch’ and go on with your day.” Companies like Ben & Jerry’s, he explains, “recognize that this is about more than just making their employees happy.” In the case of B&J, “these elements of whimsy fit right in to their corporate philosophy.”
A conference room with an escape hatch to a slide? Like Dr Evil’s lair but with Woody Jackson cows on the wall?