Extreme Makeover: Break Room Edition

Break Room Remodel Uses Sustainable, Affordable Features

Designers often seek to make projects functional, attractive, affordable and sustainable, but it’s not always easy to achieve each of these at the same time.  Acrylic Design Associates solved that equation, though, by accomplishing all four in its 2021 employee break room remodel.

Built in 1994, Acrylic Design’s 250,000 square-foot headquarters was ready for a new break room in 2021, as the company grew.  Rather than engaging outside resources to design and build, however, the company took it upon itself to create a welcoming, functional space where employees could relax, recharge, and connect with colleagues.

Acrylic Design’s in-house design and engineering team took the lead in designing the 2,000 square-foot space.  As with any project, all key elements were designed to optimize not just functionality and aesthetics, but also to reflect the company’s commitment to sustainable operations and materials.

Artist rendering of breakroom concept – along with completed build-out on the right.

Once designed, Acrylic Design fabricated the break room fixtures and furnishings in-house.  Some of the key pieces include:

Kitchen Backsplash and Panels:  Acrylic Design used its own Recrylic® certified recycled acrylic sheets for the panels and backsplash in the kitchen area.  The sheets were routed, printed and painted on the second surface to look like subway tiles – but at a considerably more attractive cost.

Tabletops:  Recrylic was also used for the tabletops.  Using 1.5” translucent sheets with a matte finish, Acrylic Design beveled the edges and printed white on the second (underneath) surface – providing an opalescent look at a minimal cost.

Light Fixtures:  Acrylic Design designed and fabricated all of the room’s light fixtures, including a variety of different styled luminaires.  A mix of Recrylic and recycled PETG was used – with the latter providing acoustical properties to help absorb sound.  Acrylic Design also used energy efficient LED lights, including UL certification to meet and exceed safety standards.

3D Art:  Again, Recrylic was used to create custom flower art on the break room’s north wall.  Pieces were machined and then printed or dyed to achieve custom colors.  Next, the pieces were heat-formed in-house to achieve the designed shape.  Acrylic Design’s specially formulated inks ensured that they don’t crack or chip upon heating or bending, resulting in a pristine, museum-quality look.

Wall Graphic:  For the 25-foot south wall, Acrylic Design chose to install a large-format graphic using its own framing system.  A north woods photo was chosen, printed in ultra-high resolution on fully recyclable SEG fabric.

Front Wall:  The front of the room includes several signature items, including:

  • White board:  Acrylic Design printed its logo on Recrylic and treated it with a dry-erase additive.
  • Foliage Wall:  Acrylic Design’s proprietary fineline™ frames were used, providing the thinnest possible profile for borderless frames.
  • Header + Clock:  Fades in and out on a timed cycle.
  • LED Sign:  We do awesome – showcasing Acrylic Designs LED and framing capabilities.

Additional items included custom artwork prints, fixtures and displays.  Every piece of furniture and fixture was designed with the company’s unique requirements in mind, ensuring optimal use of space and functionality.  This helped to ensure:

  • Quality Control: By handling fabrication internally, Acrylic Design maintained stringent quality control, ensuring that every element met their high standards.
  • Cost Savings: In-house fabrication significantly reduced costs associated with outsourcing production and allowed for more efficient use of resources.
  • Sustainability:  Using Recrylic in place of virgin materials helped to eliminate more than 5 tons of carbon emissions – or the equivalent of taking one car off the road for an entire year.

The Result: A Break Room that Inspires

Three years after its completion, the Acrylic Design Associates break room still looks as new as the day it was opened.  That’s a testament not just to the design, engineering and fabrication expertise that went into it, but also to the dedication of the colleagues who use it every day.  Just as they show commitment to their work, Acrylic Design employees work together to keep their break room pristine and inviting.

Acrylic Design Associates’ employee break room serves as a good model for other projects.  Architects and designers can leverage similar techniques and materials for a wide range of solutions, including retail stores, restaurants and hotels, public spaces, corporate offices and more.  Even better, the break room is a good example of why it's possible to achieve functionality, attractiveness, affordability and sustainability all at the same time.

For more information or a tour of the break room and the Acrylic Design operations center and showroom, please contact us at info@acrylicdesign.com or complete the form below.