A Beverage Distribution Facility’s Update Provides Distinction Between Public and Private Spaces

The renovation of Maletis Beverage, a family-owned beverage distribution business on a 9-acre Swan Island property in Portland, Ore., began as an extensive redesign of the company’s 24,000-square-foot administrative offices. During the course of the project, Portland-based architecture firm Holst’s scope expanded to include an 18,500-squarefoot cold-storage warehouse addition, extensive landscaping and sitework.

Maletis Beverage’s employees had been working in their existing offices since 1993. The spaces were outdated, disjointed and cramped—and not reflective of the company’s long history of local industry leadership and continued growth. Company representatives wanted to bring focus and organization to their diverse range of workspaces, which were an inefficient mix of public and private spaces with intermingled, ill-defined departments all on one floor. Because of this mix, the public would often wander into private areas. Maletis Beverage reps also wanted showpiece spaces that would continue to attract local and craft brewers, as well as expand the company’s reach into other markets, like cider and wine. Aesthetically, they hoped for an industrial feel that fit the character of their work and their industrial location.

AFTER PHOTOS: Andrew Pogue Photography and BEFORE PHOTOS: Holst

The design of the new offices transforms the outdated work environment into a modern open office with varied workspaces and amenities that support diverse operational needs. An active work center on the ground floor houses a large sales room/event space, conference rooms, retail, and a brew and tap kitchen with indoor/outdoor beer-hall-style lounges and a garden. The design puts the flexible sales room front and center, enclosed by four industrial garage doors that open directly to the lobby. Administrative offices are consolidated on the upper floor, which supports focused work in an open-office environment.

The sales room and an indoor/outdoor lounge space enable Maletis Beverage to host a wide variety of tastings and events for suppliers. Existing fixed storefront windows were replaced with large vertical bi-fold doors to enable the joining of the indoor and outdoor spaces. Booth seating inside, divided by custom bottle wall dividers, provides additional informal meeting spaces.

In the administrative offices, workstations, reclaimed-wood feature walls, polished concrete floors, an exposed ceiling, and steel and glass conference room pods with sliding doors fit naturally with the building’s industrial use and the company’s down-to-earth and nostalgic but industry-leading approach to business. The materials, furnishings and custom finishes combine to give a “dark nostalgia” vibe to a functional, contemporary industrial workplace. Skylights bring natural light into the open-office spaces.

The new program and plan organization brings clarity to each department while still maintaining the connections among them. It also creates a clear distinction between public, invited and private spaces. A new retail space with separate entrance sells directly to the public. Invited suppliers, salespeople, and event attendees come in the main entrance, directly to the sales room or to the event space (formerly a back room with neon lights, posters and fake brick walls). Truck drivers have a separate entrance adjacent to the loading drive with their own check-in, storage and touchdown space.

The renovation incorporated all new, high-efficiency mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. All lighting was replaced with LEDs. A solar panel array on the warehouse addition will supply 15 percent of the energy used for refrigeration. The wood used throughout the project is reclaimed European beech from shipping crates.

During judging, retrofit Editorial Advisor John J. Noonan, vice president of Facilities Management for Duke University, Durham, N.C., said of the facility, “The renovation made me want to work there!”

Retrofit Team


• Dave Otte, partner in charge

• Rachel Brand, senior designer

• Mara Indra, project manager

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Ecotone Environmental, Portland

ENGINEER: Alliant Systems, Portland

GEOTECHNICAL ENGINEER: GeoDesign, Vancouver, Wash.

ACOUSTICAL ENGINEER: Acoustic Design Studio, Portland


WORKSTATIONS, TABLES: Antenna Workstations, Antenna Tables and Reff Profiles Sliding Tables from Knoll

STOOLS: Piton Stools from Knoll


CARPET: Spangle Oak Wool/Bamboo Carpet in Ocean Grey from Tufenkian

CHAIRS: Four Cast Wheeler Chairs from Hightower and Design Task Chair in Copper Leather from Bernhardt

LOUNGE CHAIRS: Nadia Wood White Lacquer Chairs, Hightower

PLANTERS: Modern Elite Divider Planters from PureModern

AREA RUG: Luna from Lapchi

LOBBY CHAIRS: Modern Halifax Chair from Gus

KITCHEN STOOLS: Slope Leather Bar Stools from West Elm

DRAPERY: Sheer Drapery from Architex

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