2019 Office Design Award: McDonald’s HQ by Studio O+A


WITH ITS DECIDEDLY modern new headquarters in downtown Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood, McDonald’s honors its past yet clearly has an innovative eye on the future. San Francisco-based Studio O+A designed the two ground-floor lobbies, sustainability lounge, double-height work café, atrium lounges, beverage bars and brand installations.

Photos by Garrett Rowland

Upon setting foot inside, employees and visitors are greeted by curved walls composed of hickory wood and white powder- coated mesh that nod to the company’s Golden Arches logo as well as the classic metal fry basket. The beverage bar next to the main lobby’s reception area is both refined and welcoming, anchored by a red terrazzo island flanked by Arrmet stools, with a custom brushed-brass oval light fixture overhead. The sixth floor includes a chronicle of Happy Meal toys over the decades (hundreds of them!). The display unit’s circular, square and triangular shapes echo McDonald’s PlayPlace structures, as does the geometry and materials of the work café. Another whimsical touch: A series of coin press machines—the dies depict Big Macs, french fries, Happy Meals and more—nostalgically calls to mind road trips. Studio O+A also collaborated with McDonald’s executives to commission pieces by world-renowned artists Jessica Stockholder and Jacob Hashimoto.

A perforated steel screen in the lobby of the on-site Hamburger University serves as a storytelling and architectural element, highlighting McDonald’s pioneers along with patented inventions and iconic menu items. Relying on a visually compelling and at times interactive approach, every aspect of the venue imparts the narrative of a forward-thinking global brand built on fun and flavor. – Anh-Minh Le