See original article in The Commercial Appeal
The city’s largest architecture firm has changed its name, signature color and slogan as well as address.
Instead of Hnedak Bobo Group, it’s now HBG Design.
Instead of green, it’s now red-orange.
Instead of “Elevating Design,” it’s now “Designing Experience.”
Instead of 104 S. Front, it’s now the 23rd and 24th floors of the One Commerce Square tower at 40 S. Main.
And why not? Co-founders Greg Hnedak and Kirk Bobo are no longer principals. The 100-employee firm has new leadership.
“It’s about representing who we are as a firm in 2017 and who we want to be as a firm,” Rick Gardner said of re-branding with the help of the marketing firm Farmhouse. Gardner is HBG Design’s practice leader and one of the 16 design principals.
It’s still the same firm that designed FedEx world headquarters, Guest House at Graceland, Opera Memphis and Beale’s Hard Rock Cafe as well as casinos, hotels, resorts and restaurants across the nation.
And the list of current projects in its pipeline has never been longer, Gardner said.
What is much shorter is the firm’s name. Reducing firms’ names to initials is a trend. For example, Looney Ricks Kiss is now LRK. Askew Nixon Ferguson is now ANF Architects.
“As guys retire, die, move along, the younger guys move in and they don’t want to lose the benefit they have in the brand,” marketing consultant John Malmo said. “They want to shorten it and (HBG) shortens it. And they want to retain a semblance of what they were without going to something brand new.”
HGB Design moved into its new headquarters Oct. 31 after spending $1.9 million fleshing out a high-concept design. The idea was to create a contrast between edgy minimalism and refinement.
The minimal: Floors stripped to concrete and polished, many interior walls removed to create open spaces, and ceilings made taller by exposing the structural beams and mechanical equipment.
The sleek: The prominent wood-and-iron stair case connecting the two floors has the presence of sculpture. The office furniture and work stations are so modern that vendor Spaces/Knoll Furniture will show future clients the HBG Design space as an example of design possibilities.
“The contrast between those two things creates a lot of energy and some really nice things here,” Gardner said.
But the entire space merely sets the stage for the star of the show, which is the panoramic view in all directions. HBG Design uses glass, glass and more glass to let everyone see across the Mississippi deep into the Arkansas Delta, the other Downtown towers and the vast stretches toward East and South Memphis.
For example, the main conference rooms on the 23rd floor have glass walls so the view for those in the lobby is expanded 180 degrees to take in the Hernando DeSoto Bridge and points north.
“This is one of the great rivers of the world,” Gardner said of the Mississippi. “It’s not just any river. So this is a special place. I think this space is unlike anything in Memphis.”