Finding the X Factor: AvidXchange

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CEO Mike Praeger had a full afternoon planned. In addition to the day-to-day responsibilities of running a rapidly-growing payment automation software company, he was scheduled to meet with the team designing his new headquarters, and he still needed to leave on time to pick up his son. When pick-up time rolled around, however, he changed his plan and sent a car to collect his son instead. No, he wasn’t trying to avoid carpool duty; he was so enthralled by the visioning process that he wanted to bring his son into the meeting to experience the inspiring energy and enthusiasm in real-time.


the SILICON VALLEY of the south The meeting in question was for the design of Mike’s new AvidXchange headquarters in Charlotte, and his vision for the ideal workplace informed the design at every stage of the process. Mike views the Charlotte area as “the Silicon Valley of the South,” and he wanted to create a visionary workplace that reflected his company’s collaborative, innovative ethos. He found an ideal location in the Music Factory campus, a formerly industrial site with a historic textile mill on the fringes of Charlotte’s gritty Fourth Ward neighborhood. The Music Factory hosts two Live Nation venues and has transformed into a major entertainment destination, and when AvidXchange needed space to consolidate 800 employees spread across numerous office locations, the Music Factory provided exactly the type of high-energy urban space which would attract and retain a youthful tech workforce. To support a highly collaborative corporate culture, the innovative new work environment required flexible, dynamic spaces for on-the-fly meetings, ideation, creative collisions, and brainstorming. The company prides itself on being nimble and transparent, and the space needed to support the company’s workflow and real-time communication. The concept of transparency, both literal and figurative, became a cornerstone of both the exterior and interior design.


LS3P’s involvement in the project began with CLT’s Envision Studio leading the 200,000 SF, six-story core and shell design- a very successful project- and then LS3P’s Image Studio won the interior upfit portion of the work. In a creative model of internal collaboration, the team built on an already strong client relationship as the interiors team worked its magic with the design.

“Our mission is to design a collaborative space that exudes a Main Street feel and supports the revolutionary ethos of the company, which is transparent to employees and visitors and flexible in its use now and in the future.” 7

An open office environment was a given, and this format comes with the task of organizing and defining a large space for a variety of functions. The design team used the ceiling plane, dynamic lighting, solid core elements, and strategic furniture placement to give the space character and create human-scale workspaces. To capitalize on the industrial aesthetic, exposed ceilings combine with suspended overhead elements such as a curved canopy over the dining space and suspended “clouds” of wood-look metal to define the major circulation while encouraging free-flowing interaction. Changes in floor patterns between different functions provide the same subtle visual cues without creating barriers.


Core spaces provide structure within the large floor plate while preserving access to natural light and views- one of the company’s key design priorities. Strategic furniture groupings also help to anchor and enclose work spaces, such as paired high-backed sofas which provide a sense of enclosure and acoustical privacy. The juxtaposition of hard edges, industrial finishes, and exposed systems with warm, textured, humanscale, more intimate elements pays homage to the industrial roots of the site. Exposed brick, selected as a key interior material to abstract a “Main Street” theme, inspired the incorporation of brick elements on the exterior in the form of brick inset into precast panels. The brick unifies the interior and exterior and integrates the building into the larger Music Factory campus.


CREATIVEcollisions The interior organization maximizes opportunities for the spontaneous “creative collisions” which lead to cross-pollination and inspiration through a wide variety of collaborative spaces. The Stairitorium, a double-height tiered gathering space, serves as the heartbeat of AvidXchange. Large enough to accommodate a daily newscast-style gathering but strategically designed with spaces for small-group use, the Stairitorium is anchored by a massive green wall with integrated A/V technology. Color-changing LED panel lights draw the eye upwards and play on the company’s branding. The design of this element required careful code analysis and close coordination with Charlotte’s strict code officials, particularly in the materials selection for the combined flooring/ seating structure, but the resulting volume was worth the effort.


approach to


Above the Stairitorium, the corporate board room typifies the company’s approach to transparency. A large interior window overlooks the gathering spaces below, and modular white furniture contrasts with the exposed brick and demonstrates the reflexive nature of the space.


Throughout the building, light-filled collaboration spaces encourage a flexible work flow. Low, open workstations are zoned into “quads” with built-in storage and sit/stand capabilities. Huddle spaces are tucked into wide hallways, and executive spaces are interspersed among works spaces rather than isolated in a separate wing.


Long on amenities, the facility includes a spacious breakroom on every floor with spectacular skyline views. Other spaces include fitness room, 100-seat training room, game room, basketball court, and even a health room which is leased to a thirdparty provider for ease of access. A 787 space parking deck serves AvidXchange by day and patrons visiting the Music Exchange’s bars, restaurants, and music venues by night. After work, employees can walk over to a popular beer garden and take advantage of close proximity to a bustling afterhours scene.


FUNKIFICATION Unlike many traditional corporate projects, this design pushed the envelope in infusing an edgy energy throughout the design. This “funkification” process is nowhere more evident than in the dynamic lighting that guides people through each zone. Vertical tube lights dangle in the atrium, and edge-lit fins break from predictable linear patterns and scatter into playful angles, then merge to form unexpected shapes over conference tables. Ceiling tile over the desk areas helps to subdivide the space and manage acoustics, but the higher exposed ceilings over the corridors allowed for a procession of linear pendants and other strategies to make moving through the space a memorable experience.


The new headquarters opened in 2017, and is already reaping dividends for the company. AvidXchange is growing so fast, in fact, that a second building has already been planned, which will connect to the first facility via an amenities building with a full gym and rooftop cafe. Historically, Charlotte’s Fourth Ward has been somewhat isolated from Uptown’s prosperity, but Mike Praeger and AvidXchange intend to change that. In fact, AvidXhange bought the naming rights to what is now the “AvidXchange Music Factory,” proudly supporting ongoing economic development which benefits not only his employees, but all of the area’s diverse residents. “We couldn’t be prouder of 1210 AvidXchange Lane, because it’s so much more than an address for us,” he says. “We’re so honored to be a fixture of the Music Factory community, and bring our technology campus of the future to the North End...We hope that our innovation-focused campus will serve as a catalyst for growth.”

“Our new campus supports our high energy, collaborative, and innovative culture for our current employees, and will be a wonderful asset for us as we expand our employee base with additional high performers. We recruit nationally, and have attracted talent from Silicon Valley, Boston, and other top technology hubs in the country with our unique and vibrant culture. The new campus design will help our recruiters tell the story of who we are as a company as they tour candidates through our space.” -Todd Cunningham, SVP of Human Capital and Talent Development for AvidXchange 23


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