Cardlytics at Ponce City Market

Project Description

Occupying an entire floor of the celebrated Ponce City Market, this fast growing technology firm sought a design that successfully engenders warmth and interest within a cavernous space whose span exceeds that of 1½ football fields.
Cardlytics’ goal was a vibrant workplace for leading-edge software developers, their real-world interface, and corporate operations. Cardlytics’ rocket growth trajectory over five years to 250 employees had resulted in scattered workspaces. Creating one cohesive office prompted long-overdue conversations about brand identity and corporate culture. The architect firm facilitated the company’s decisions through feasibility and design charrettes. The design represents a newer paradigm for office environments while still maintaining professional clarity. Because of competition for world-level professionals, the renovation needed to be employee-centric.
The resulting design became the expression of a culture that the founders and employees identified as their own.

CHALLENGES: Cardlytics’ office spans 76,000 s.f. with only 10′ clear height from concrete floor to concrete ceiling. This limited height made the space feel disproportionately heavy. Additionally, the rhythm of massive concrete columns is an oppressive 20′ on center in both directions. The clear floor-to-floor height severely restricted ceiling heights and required meticulous coordination of all building systems at very shallow depth.

SOLUTIONS: The chief approach to this spatial challenge was to promote natural light in as many directions as possible. Cardlytics’ is the only floor at PCM that has preserved the sight line across the length of the building. Glass is used ubiquitously for “felt” depth, flexibility and transparency, and for shared daylighting and collaboration. Daylighting provides connection to the outdoors, psychologically increasing the “lightness” of the space.

The office was treated as a unified entity, extending the carpet pattern across the entire span. Carpet is installed on a 45-degree bias, and desk arrangement also on a 45, giving the appearance of a 3rd dimension. Vertical lines on walls create a taller appearance. Natural materials lend texture and warmth, ameliorating some heaviness. Coupling conduit together served to make the ceiling appear “quieter.” Feedback from employees is that the renovated spaces feel comfortable without being overwhelming or too low.

Other design features: A 50/50 ratio of open desk area to “the rest” of the office (conference rooms, breakout, amenity spaces, etc.) successfully diminishes the potential for a “nameless worker” feel. The availability of “playrooms” demonstrates the value of play. Modern office paradigms have shown that, for example, a game of ping pong may induce more innovative thought than comparable time spent at a desk. Along these lines, many variations and sizes of conference rooms, informal “hubs,” touchdown spaces, etc., provide collaborative or private, technology-rich spaces.

The design for this office successfully combined utility materials used in unconventional ways. Investment was prioritized in finishes and flair to ensure that the completed space markets the company’s brand to customers and employees, and reflects the privilege of its location in Ponce City Market. Cardlytics is very satisfied with its new offices and solidifying identity, and continues to experience prolific growth.