February 27, 2014

Walgreens.com: At the Corner of Contemporary and Traditional


Link pendants in Walgreens.com office bring in the traditional

The ubiquitous tagline “At the Corner of Happy and Healthy” has been a cornerstone of Walgreens Pharmacy’s current marketing campaign. In fact, I can hear John Corbett (who is the voice behind the TV and radio advertising and who played Chris Stevens on the 90s TV hit Northern Exposure) saying those words as I type them. Might I add the company’s new offices sit at the corner of contemporary and traditional thanks to a recent makeover?

Inside a Walgreens store is not the only place to be “at the corner of.” In fact, the corporation is currently poised at a strategic corner in the world of business, as it finds itself at the corner of brick-and-mortar and online. Recently, Walgreens acquired Drugstore.com, blending a technology-based business with Walgreens’ more traditional model.

Sioux fixture brings in the contemporary

The blended Walgreens.com and Drugstore.com team, approximately 400 individuals, is based in Bellevue, Washington. The Walgreens.com team already operated from a downtown high-rise, but in order to welcome the new team members to its corporate headquarters for online function, Walgreens engaged JPC Architects, also of Bellevue, for a refresh and expansion.  “It was important to create an historical aspect in the space,” JPC says, “giving a nod to the past while looking to the future of Walgreens in the internet age.”

JPC’s team included Daniel Butler, principal in charge; Dean Harris, design principal; Karen Campbell, project manager; and Yvignette Tang, interior designer. Over a year’s time, the team executed a phased remodel that touched each of the company’s three floors (approximately 17,600 square feet each) and incorporated a fourth floor of the building for a total workspace of 70,400 square feet. Walls and floors of the spaces utilize brick, reclaimed wood, and porcelain tile to create a juxtaposition of past and present. Tones of black and white create a monochromatic palette while splashes of Walgreens’ branding red and Drugstore.com’s blue enliven each space.

Link pendant is the traditional twist to the contemporary furniture

To further express the design concept of past-meets-present, light became an integral part of the space, designer Tang says. “I wanted to recreate the same ideas through fixtures in the space, showing both classical and modern concepts. Fixtures were selected to show the concept of fusion—merging the old with the new and a blending of the two firms.”

For the installation, Tang chose the Link and Sioux fixtures with the help of Dave Emory of Lightrix in Portland, Oregon. “I’ve worked with JPC for fifteen years and they like them a lot!” Emory says. “They appreciate the value of the brand and they see the quality that is there.”


Sioux fixture is a fixture at the corner of contemporary and traditional

“These fixtures are unique in that they use a simple wood veneer and bend it in different ways to create an intricate fixture to express light in a whole new way,” Tang says. “The selected fixtures further reinforce our design concept at Walgreens.com, emanating the idea of transforming something aged to something modern and today.”

That’s not only at the corner of contemporary and traditional; it’s what I call the corner of beautiful and brilliant!

Photography by Benjamin Benschneider

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