By Steven Feldman
Dalton—The Mohawk Group earlier this year brought its entire commercial team under one roof, transforming the iconic building that once housed World Carpets and for years served as Mohawk’s Dalton headquarters into an eco-friendly space that is now dubbed the Light Lab.
About 80 people now call the Light Lab home. This includes Mohawk Group’s core commercial, hospitality, hospitality pre-order (floor plans, sample entry, planning and estimating) and custom divisions.
“We were previously located in three or four different areas,” said Jackie Dettmar, vice president of commercial product development and design. “It’s nice to have all our design teams together for collaboration, cross fertilization and to break down barriers between the groups.”
The space incorporates the latest design and sustainability trends. This includes both open and alternative workspaces. “Everyone has their individual workspace, but they can also work in collaboration areas,” Dettmar explained. There are also some traditional office spaces with actual doors when privacy is needed, or where a designer can work if he or she needs light blocked. “We also encourage people to work outside in our green space.”
Aside from bringing together its commercial teams, Dettmar said Mohawk Group needed a space where it could bring commercial customers. “We use it as a showroom for product but we also work with designers here in real time on custom design projects. We can run samples in our pilot plant while they are here. Then we can review and make changes, and work on visualization simulations so we can accelerate custom design projects.”
The Light Lab also comes equipped with its own “Experience Room,” where Mohawk Group can do training in the traditional sense in a space that can accommodate up to 70 people. The room can also be reconfigured for community events. “We recently hosted a Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals class,” Dettmar said.
The “building in the round’s” revamp has been in the works for a couple of years. Dettmar said the idea came up to go to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and collaborate with the interiors group at one of top interior design schools in the U.S. “We had 12 students who came up with ideas on how to use the space. We chose the Light Lab idea from a student named Bradley Oldem. He has since started his own design firm in Atlanta. We also took what we liked from other students and incorporated them into Bradley’s concept.”
After Mohawk finished its work with SCAD, the company started getting involved with the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) along with its Declare labels and transparency initiatives. “We thought this would be a great opportunity to work through IFLI’s Petal certification, which is similar to LEED,” Dettmar said. The Petal option provides a platform for a project to inform other efforts throughout the world and accelerate the adoption of restorative principles. “What I love about IFLI certification is beauty, health and wellness are all part of that certification. So we incorporated a lot of biophillic design initiatives and also were cognizant of health and wellness of employees. For example, everyone in the entire space gets a view of the outside. We weren’t going to put up walls. People went from basements to sunlight. The other big part is we were the first restoration in the Southwest to achieve Petal certification.”