Darden opens new headquarters
Thirty-five years after establishing itself in Central Florida, Darden Restaurants has moved to a new $152 million headquarters designed by Perkins + Will. The three-storey , 469,000 sq ft building, situated on 54-acre campus, will house all of the Darden Restaurant brands, (Red Lobster, Olive Garden, Capital Grille and others) for the first time under one roof. The design creates an open environment to foster greater collaboration and idea sharing between the brands.
In seeking a way to address the very different brands' cultures, the designers chose to celebrate a ‘culture of culinary’ dedicated to bringing people together around the notion of food. In this way the new building expresses Darden’s new corporate brand while also celebrating the unique heritage of each of its restaurants.
Organized along a 'Main Street', each individual brand has its own space within the headquarters, but all of the brand test kitchens all located side by side and open up to one another to enhance collaboration between the chefs of the various restaurants.
The design also seeks to foster greater communication among the 1300 employees housed there. The height of the building was limited to three stories to allow employees to move easily between the floors. And the staircases were widened to allow impromptu conversations to occur without blocking the movement of others. Beyond creating an environment to strengthen relationships among its staff Darden has made a commitment to sustainability.
The building is anticipated to earn LEED Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council, making it the largest structure in Florida to do so.