A Look Inside Kyowa Kirin’s New Princeton Office

A Look Inside Kyowa Kirin’s New Princeton Office

Pharma company Kyowa Kirin recently hired architecture and interior design firm HLW to design their new office in Princeton, New Jersey.

“Kyowa Kirin’s headquarters relocation to Princeton, New Jersey—taking over the fifth and sixth floors at 510 Carnegie Plaza—consolidated its offices into a single, central workspace. As part of the move, HLW transitioned the North American team from a 65%-enclosed layout to one focused on team-specific neighborhoods and group-oriented spaces. The new, 80,000-square-foot office not only brings previously disparate teams together but transforms the way they work by breaking apart silos to promote collaboration, culture, and community. This reorganization mirrors the ethos of the company’s global headquarters in Tokyo and establishes greater cohesion across its regional bases.

HLW’s design carves Kyowa Kirin’s teams into neighborhoods with a variety of workplace settings to enable choice throughout the day, including focus stations, single-occupancy offices, team tables, touchdown spots, and vista seats. Within each of these four neighborhoods is a flexible meeting room that can hold 12-16 people and ample huddle space for two-to-five people. Supporting these neighborhoods are a larger training room and a tech workshop, as well as a café that encourages employees to connect with one another outside of their team structures. The program is divided across the office’s two floors to create further moments for cross-collaboration, reinforcing the culture the new HQ is designed around.

Ensuring that this flow of movement felt intuitive was key to the space’s ability to bring people together. HLW’s brandx team collaborated closely with Kyowa Kirin, integrating the company’s Japanese heritage, focus on patients, and distinctive color schemes into the design of wayfinding elements, signage, artwork, and wall graphics. This thoughtful integration simultaneously creates shared experiences and unique moments tailored to each team. Inspired by shibori, a Japanese tie-dye technique, brandx blended the organic patterns produced by the artform with archival microscopic cellular photography to create visuals that carry the company’s genesis through to its modern-day. These visuals are translated across artful, large-scale wall graphics found throughout the workplace to root employees in this heritage as they move about the space.

The wayfinding design uses quadrants, shapes, and color codes to help employees and visitors navigate the office’s two floors. The brand’s signature “Passionate Orange” defines communal and client-facing spaces, most notably in reception where the bright hue is balanced by a wood-clad desk to bring warmth into the office’s main point of entry. Purple, pink, blue, and lime are used to denote dedicated team areas. In each zone, room names connect each color to elements in nature: Tidal and River for blue, Meadow and Canyon for green, Ember and Spark for purple, and Aurora and Vista for pink. For smaller details, such as signage, brandx used distinct, plasma-inspired shapes to indicate the function of each space. These forms are also repeated in the workplace’s lighting design.

The hallways that connect each of these distinctly hued zones feature galleries of framed testimonials and dimensional lettering that communicates the brand’s core values, ensuring that even within the variation, the space remains grounded in its larger mission.”

  • Location: Princeton, New Jersey
  • Date completed: 2024
  • Design: HLW
  • Photos: Julia Sperling
Café / Communal space
Meeting pods
Meeting room
Breakout space
Breakout space