Icebreaker Portland to earn LEED certification in 2009
Icebreaker, the New Zealand outdoor company that invented the natural and technical outdoor merino apparel category, is moving into its new United States headquarters in Northwest Portland.
The new space includes many touches from Icebreaker's home, including conference rooms named after Kiwi sheep stations, and was designed to be as open as possible to inspire employee collaboration, as well as to utilize the natural daylight and views to outside. A large showroom area will facilitate retailer visits and global design meetings.
"It feels very much like New Zealand when you walk in. We wanted to inject this space with Kiwi personality and Southern Alps to always remind us where we're from," said Russ Hopcus, president of Icebreaker's US company. "Icebreaker moved to Portland because of Oregon's incredible outdoor playground and tremendous design talent. The US market is a bigger opportunity than we knew then, and as more people discover the benefits of year-round, sustainable merino apparel, our business has been growing rapidly."
Icebreaker moved its U.S. operations from Ketchum, Idaho into temporary Portland space in 2007. More than 40 employees will be located at the new Icebreaker U.S. headquarters at 1330 NW 14th Avenue, including those at the company's global design center, and U.S. sales and marketing office, which has been located in separate buildings in Portland's Pearl District. The new space includes capacity for the company to eventually double the number of its workforce, which is the plan over the next two to three years.
Icebreaker's Portland workforce is internationally diverse, including employees from New Zealand, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Romania. Five employees have transferred from the company's Wellington, New Zealand global headquarters to Portland, with two more relocating soon.
The 16,500 square foot headquarters are expected to earn LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification in 2009. Among the other accoutrements are showers, changing rooms and indoor bike parking, "To inspire as much use of human-powered and public transportation as possible," says Hopcus.
Portland's GBD Architects, Inc. designed the space with architect Suzy Olsen as the lead designer. All of the wood in the space is either reclaimed or FSC Certified (responsibly forested woods). Low VOC paints and coatings were used throughout. No urea-formaldehyde glue, a known cancer causing substance, was used in the composite wood products. All systems office furniture is Green-Guard Certified, meeting strict VOC standards.
Icebreaker is celebrating in December the one-year anniversary of the opening of its first US retail Touch_Lab store on the corner of NW 11th and West Burnside, across from Powell's Books. The store carries its complete line of 100 percent merino technical apparel products - which are "warm when wet" -and are perfect for Oregon's 'liquidsunshine' climate.