The Distillery Building – Rock Dental Brands Headquarters
Little Rock, AR
The Distillery sits in the heart of Little Rock’s East Village neighborhood. Originally built for Kraft Foods over 70 years ago, the factory–turned-alcohol distillery and its addition have been re-purposed to become home to Rock Dental Brands and Fidel & Co. The building marries old industrial with a vibrant new living, working, playing environment with food and beverage.
Formerly located in Little Rock’s River Market District for five years, Rock Dental, a dental practice group, was struggling to attract and retain talent. Embracing the vision for the East Village neighborhood, Rock Dental saw the potential of the distillery to build community and enhance collaboration both internally and in the neighborhood.
The interior concept was to create an environment to accommodate rapid growth. It has predominantly open work spaces, meeting spaces, modern furniture, modular walls, and an isolated call center for managing sensitive patient information on the phone.
The team used extensive branding and artwork to immerse employees in the culture of the company and Arkansas. Rock Dental celebrates company culture through icons, branding, and public art, giving meaning for both the architecture and project. There is internal naming of meeting spaces rooted in East Village neighborhood, City of Little Rock, and State of Arkansas, with several pieces of artwork being commissioned specifically for Rock Dental Brands.
A major part of community building and working experience is Fidel & Co., a locally owned and operated coffee shop and roaster. The space has become the living room for the neighborhood, attracting people from all across the city. The roasting operation fits well into the neighborhood as it has become home to niche food and beverage manufacturing. The interior of Fidel & Co. incorporates a connection between indoors and outdoors, and has an open modern feel. The interiors have a warm and comfortable feel while incorporating modern and sleek details. The theme for public art carried into Fidel & Co. and includes two murals – one inside and one outside, both created by local artists.
Space for construction was a challenge that had to be overcome during the project. The area of land where the coffee shop addition was built was used as a staging area for the office remodel because there was no lay down space for the building materials. The office portion of the building was finished first then the coffee shop addition was built. The typical business happenings in the area were also a challenge during construction. A nearby elementary school’s drop-off and pick-up traffic and the lunchtime rush at an adjacent diner, Cathead’s, left the construction crew with limited times to bring in equipment.
Rock Dental Brands and Fidel & Co. embraced the old industrial building and everything that made it cool, funky, and different. They’ve created a compelling work environment, embracing the unique heritage of the building and East Village neighborhood, and have become the center of the community.