IKM Architecture and Design

When Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania architecture and design firm IKM Incorporated decided it was time for a change of scenery, Samara Wheaton, project manager, interior design, envisioned a different kind of corporate headquarters. Moving to a newly designed space allowed IKM’s 50-person workforce to transition from a dark and dated office environment, and embrace an open, brightly lit workplace.

Formica® Brand laminates played a part in helping to provide an atmosphere with gleaming white and gray surfaces that reflect natural light.

IKM Architecture and Design case study. Office work space with table, chairs, whiteboards, and tv to project.
“It’s not every day that you get to move the company to a new office,” Wheaton said. “I wanted to create something bright and energetic that would be timeless, not trendy.”

Because the firm’s designers showcase their concepts to clients in their office, they did not want the decor of the facility to overpower their ideas. It was decided that many of the surfaces would be neutral shades so colorful designs for clients could stand out.

ColorCore®2 New White and Fog Gray were used in several sections of the office. This includes surfaces in the marketing and business development area, two kitchen stations and several collaborative workspaces.
Formica® Laminate adds to a design’s sophistication without adding to the overall price.
Samara Wheaton
“When it comes to laminate, not every white is the right white,” Wheaton said. “Formica Corporation has great color options, and the way the sample boards are set up really helps guide my eye to pick out just what I need. Formica® Laminate adds to a design’s sophistication without adding to the overall price.”

For its new office, IKM came up with The Base Camp Concept, which consists of a collection of partitioned work areas where teams can collaborate and clients can come to engage in their process. Each collaborative space includes a table and chairs, 60” video monitors, tackable surfaces, whiteboards, writable walls and a sturdy ColorCore®2 countertop and cubbies for storing project material.

In the office’s kitchen area, Formica® Brand white laminate in gloss lets overhead cabinet doors reflect the natural light that pours in from windows overlooking the Monongahela River. Master Woodcraft, a commercial casework and architectural millwork shop, fabricated the entire project. According to David Diesel, president and project estimator, the IKM office relocation job took about eight weeks to build.
IKM Architecture and Design Case Study. Kitchen in office with white gloss cabinets and red backsplash.
“I’m seeing a lot more commercial specifications that feature Formica® products,” Diesel said. “The product line has excellent distribution and they let us know when new colors and patterns come out.”

IKM has provided architecture, planning, and interior design services to institutional clients for more than 100 years. The firm's vision is recognition for excellence in institutional and corporate architecture and design.

“IKM has five different principals and they all had their own ideas on what they wanted the new office to look like,” said Nicole Grayburn, corporate communications coordinator. “The use of clean colors from Formica® Brand allowed for an easy compromise that brought everyone together and helped change the culture of IKM.”


Designer: Samara Wheaton, project manager, interior design | IKM Incorporated
11 Stanwix St., Suite 2200, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, (412) 281-1337

Fabricator: David Diesel, president | Master Woodcraft, Corp.
100 Stationvue, Washington, PA 15301, (724) 225-5530

Products Used: ColorCore®2 NEW WHITE 7223-90 and FOG GRAY 961