Stantech This collaborative space was designed to combine modern offices with research and production facilities.
- Design company:
- Completion date: September 2022
- Location: Emeryville, California, USA
- Size: 73,000 square feet
- Population: 100-125
based in california Upside Foods has transformed two of its Emeryville Public Market stores into research, development, engineering and production operations. UPSIDE aims to unlock the science of cultured meat by exhibiting its biotechnology within established pedestrian-friendly restaurants and shopping districts.
The new Engineering, Production and Innovation Center (EPIC) houses the world’s most advanced cultivated meat production facility. The 53,000-square-foot space is equipped to produce all kinds of meat and seafood directly from animal cells in a more humane and sustainable way.
EPIC, which began as an abandoned grocery store, was designed to blend in with the local fabric by placing contemporary administrative offices and gathering spaces alongside cutting-edge life science initiatives. . To bring together employees, investors and restaurant business leaders alike, an all-hands amphitheater was integrated to reveal a patented custom grow room.
Adjacent to EPIC, UPSIDE converted an existing 20,000 square foot office facility into a new R+D site, providing continuity and easy access between the two facilities. Using similar interior design and furnishing concepts, the two-story R+D space is evenly divided between an open office for 50 employees and a lab and pilot plant. The same visibility principles were applied to this space to facilitate communication and collaboration.
A palette of natural materials was used to enhance the UPSIDE brand. In keeping with the company’s environmental philosophy, both locations feature locally sourced factory equipment and upholstery that is biodegradable and free of heavy metals. EPIC is powered by 100% renewable energy.
Stantec worked closely with UPSIDE senior executives and CEO Uma Valeti on the project. Factory settings required creative thinking. One of the biggest design challenges was dealing with his extensive HVAC ducting and process piping that powers the grow room and lab. UPSIDE liked the look of the exposed ceiling, but the ducts were so large that they were difficult to “hide” simply by painting. Ultimately, Stantech’s team introduced a suspended ceiling wherever possible, wrapping the ducts in black fabric and using black paint to direct the line of sight downward. Lighting was incorporated in a similar fashion, tucked behind a fabric-wrapped wall panel system.
Another major challenge was the nature of the renovation of the 100+ year old industrial building turned into an office building and now a lab. The building’s infrastructure was challenging on many fronts, including the need for extensive HVAC upgrades and seismic reinforcement. UPSIDE wanted to keep the brick and industrial design elements exposed as much as possible. Stantech worked closely with structural engineers to minimize the impact of additional structures on interior design and lab planning efforts.
Bringing the space to life through color and branding was a key design goal. The team partnered with design firm Pearl Fisher to create EPIC’s signature visual experience. This is a magnetic mural inspired by a collection of refrigerator magnets against a background of burgundy paint. Visitors are encouraged to add their own magnets to the striking scenery and post a personal memento of the EPIC artwork. At the R&D facility, the team worked with a local mural artist to create a custom mural across the width of Pilot’s plant that separates collaboration spaces and laboratory functions.
Project details and products
Outcomes of the whole project
UPSIDE Foods is a leader in the green food sector and, in line with its values, prioritized sustainability throughout the project. EPIC runs on his 100% renewable energy and Stantec has followed suit, using locally sourced factories and choosing upholstery that is biodegradable and free of heavy metals. A unique and sustainable design element is the task seating that incorporates approximately 2 pounds of weight. A collected fishing net.