“The Kitch” at Kohl’s is a remarkable transformation of what once was general office space into a modern day corporate dining facility. Kohl’s Corp.’s motivation was twofold; consolidate the campus dining into one main facility, as well as create an alternate work space for its employees. As part of a larger strategy to attract and retain the most talented workforce, Kohl’s has created a unique amenity on campus that offers an experiential dining space operated by the Bartolotta Restaurants.
Given the topography, this space is somewhat subterranean or a “garden level.” The horizon line visible from the horizontal band of windows is green with vegetation. The design strives to bring the green of the outdoors inside. Green is the feature brand, accent walls, and fabric color for the built-in seating. One of the primary project goals was to make the space truly feel like a restaurant versus a traditional corporate cafeteria. The intention was to transport employees out of the work mindset into an area to retreat, allowing them to return to work with a renewed sense of energy.
To achieve the feeling of an intimate eating space, the design was structured to break up the massive footprint into smaller experiences. Built in seating, both banquettes and booths create architectural features that break up the dining room into smaller spaces. Four-person private booth alcoves create spaces for collaboration or heads down work. Large wood ceiling clouds hang overhead with a canopy of green industrial shade lighting. The entire ceiling is exposed to maximize the volume and truly differentiate from the work space.
“Many people regard the kitchen as the heart of their home. This is really going to become the heart of our office.”
Jason Wessels, Senior Manager Loyalty, Kohl’s