THE VIEW FROM MAZDA HQ

Mazda designed job satisfaction into HQ at Irvine Spectrum

Their cars make drivers happy, and their offices make 450+ employees happy

BY TOM BERG

Irvine is home to five major automotive companies, as well as one-third of all Fortune 500 companies. Of these, it is Mazda North American Operations whose name stands atop 200 Spectrum Center, where it occupies five floors and the lobby. We asked Mazda Executive Vice President Jim Lievois about the new headquarters. 

You moved into 200 Spectrum Center last year. Why?

While we’ve been in Irvine for more than 30 years, we wanted a new space that would energize both our employees and our guests. Our team felt that 200 Spectrum Center was exactly what we were looking for.

 What might surprise people about your new offices?

We approached the interior design the same way we approach designing our vehicles — seeking to immerse people not only in a beautifully designed space, but in the brand itself. In fact, our vehicle-design team led the effort, in collaboration with the architects, to achieve that same feeling.

 What did they come up with?

A completely wireless environment. Employees can work in focus rooms, community hubs or outside in The Commons. They can collaborate at our complimentary barista or fresh market where we provide healthy food selections.

And what’s the approach to vehicle design?

We believe the connection between car and driver is vital, so we approach vehicle development through our Jinba-Ittai “horse and rider as one”  philosophy. By looking at vehicle development from the driver’s point of view, we are able to deliver an experience like no other.

What else is new at Mazda?

We’ve just designed the world’s first commercially available compression-ignition engine. And we’re building a new manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama, with our partner, Toyota, which signals Mazda’s commitment to the United States.