3M Building New Design Center

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3M is constructing a new design center at its St. Paul, Minnesota, headquarters that it says will be four times the size of its current design space.

The company says hundreds of designers from various 3M businesses will be housed in the new laboratory, which is being designed as an open, multi-level studio environment. It will feature flexible spaces – such as a fast prototyping lab, a materials library and brand labs – as well as an interactive area known as the “design hive,” meant to foster spontaneous connections and cross-functional collaboration among the company’s partners, thought leaders, customers and colleagues that will frequent the space from other 3M design centers around the globe.

Chief design officer Eric Quint is spearheading the project. He says at 3M, design is a catalyst for change, with its scientists collaborating across subject matters and across geographies with each other and with customers.

“This important initiative will elevate design and propel dynamic opportunity to enhance everything from branding solutions to product innovation to sustainability,” says Quint. “Design thinking is about unlocking future value in partnerships with research and development and marketing. Our collective goal will be to deliver transformative value for 3M, its partners and customers.”

As for how the new design center relates to the commercial graphics business of the company, spokeswoman Fanna Haile-Selassie says, “The 3M Design team will continue to collaborate with colleagues in our R&D community and relevant business functions (e.g., marketing, sales, etc.) to bring new solutions forward in the wraps market. For example, graphic designers provide guidance on trends assessment for colors, textures, finishes, etc. to drive product development. Resources … such as a Fast Prototyping Lab and Trends & Color/Material Space will enhance further creative opportunities for inspiration, concept validation, and design/business direction in the commercial solutions market.”

The company last year received more than 25 awards internationally for its design efforts, across multiple creative disciplines, and two 3M products received Red Dot “Best of the Best” design awards for product design among nearly 5,000 entries. The company was also recently presented with a Top Winner International Design Excellence Award (IDEA) by the Industrial Designers Society of America.

The new design center is slated for a spring 2016 opening,

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