In the spring of 2020, Performance Signs in Ruckersville, Virginia came to us with a big vision and an equally big challenge. They had just purchased a piece of property to house their expanding sign fabrication and vehicle wrap business, and needed the new facility renovated to suit their specific needs. The structure needed a pretty massive overhaul as it had formerly been used to house . . . chickens. But we’re not talking about a little chicken coop - this was over 10,000 square feet of industrial, mostly open-air warehouse space.
Over time the facility had been added on to, merging temporary and permanent structures in less than well thought out ways. Lots of outbuildings around the property made it difficult to understand where a visitor should park or enter the business. And none of it looked particularly welcoming. A lot of undoing needed to be done before their vision could start to come to life.
Our Baltimore office Principle, Khanh Uong, led the design on this project, which had many moving parts that he was able to boil down to three main objectives: greet, work and gather.
As a design company themselves, they needed their facility to show off their aesthetic sensibility. Their attention to detail with their own operations makes it immediately clear to visitors how important good design is to them.
The exterior of the building features corrugated metal mixed with composite wood panels - a nod to the site’s industrial nature as well as part of its history as a lumber mill. Large, aluminum framed windows let in lots of light and add visual interest from the outside.
A welcoming waiting area was key for customers working with a design team member on a new project or for anyone waiting to pick up their vehicle or signage. The metal staircase and walkway above reception make a statement as soon as you enter the door, and provide easy access for administrative staff in the upstairs offices.
A large portion of the main structure needed to be dedicated to their fabrication and installation team. In addition to creating very large format signage in-house, Performance also has a high volume business for vehicle wraps. They needed a garage bay where cars could easily be moved in and out, with plenty of space for the install team to work around each other.
Design team members also needed to have a space carved out for them in this area, as designs are often created, tweaked and finalized on the fabrication floor to meet specifications. And there needed to be plenty of storage space for the many materials used during an installation or fabrication process. The garage bay was recladded with insulated metal panels (IMP), which give a clean industrial look but are also more efficient than traditional metal structures.
“It may seem small to be so excited about the new storage system we have, but I love it! It helps all of us in Design and Production stay focused and on task. We’re not juggling so many materials in a small space anymore. Having instant access to everything we need means clients’ needs are met more efficiently.
- Molly, Performance Signs Graphic Designer
The administrative and management team needed office space that was far enough away from the work floor to be quiet, but close enough to be easily accessible. There also needed to be a place where small or larger meetings could be held. The owners also wanted the ability to easily access and look out onto the customer waiting area.
It was important to the owners that the new space be a place where employees felt comfortable and could have fun together in addition to getting work done. They also wanted the layout to encourage collaboration between teams and team members. In the administrative area of the building, dedicated small and large meeting rooms allow for collaboration and full-staff meeting space. A kitchenette with an adjacent outdoor second floor patio provides plenty of seating and is a great place for staff to relax or for internal events.
The new facility exudes the kind of forward thinking, energetic approach that Performance Signs brings to all of their jobs. Good design can do many things: provide additional functionality and encourage collaboration, but it can also communicate a brand’s values and perspective. We appreciate Performance allowing us to help them communicate their message to the world.