L’Oéal USA plans to emphasize its commitment to research and innovation in a new $140 million office and laboratory building.
Announced on Sept. 27, L’Oréal will open a nearly 250,000 square-foot research and innovation center housing 550 employees across all areas of the company’s North America division, from advanced research to evaluation and product development. Construction is divided into two phases, with the first phase involving a large extension of an existing building in Clark, New Jersey, and will be completed in the second quarter of 2023. The second phase, involving the renovation of the existing building, will be completed by mid-2024. Currently, a campus of five buildings exists, which houses various groups and divisions. The new building will consolidate everyone under one roof.
David Greenberg, president and CEO of L’Oréal USA, said in a statement, “This historic investment in our new research and innovation center is an important milestone for L’Oréal USA as we continue to put science at the heart of all that we do to serve our American consumers with more innovative, inclusive and sustainable beauty products.”
The new building is just the latest news from L’Oréal regarding its current office spaces. In August, L’Oréal opened a 108,000-square-foot converted aerospace plant as its new hub for beauty in Los Angeles.
Sanford Browne, North America president of research and innovation at L’Oréal, said construction began in 2021 and that Covid-19 did not impact the timeline or interior design of the building. But Covid-19 has shifted people’s perceptions of remote work, leading to many workers protesting return-to-office directives. According to a June poll between Wall Street Journal and Survey Monkey of 4,944 adults, 58% of workers are back in the office, 38% of in-office workers would prefer a hybrid schedule and 11% want to work entirely from home. But, 71% of remote workers said an office makes it easy to meet with colleagues for training, celebration and collaboration.
“When you’re doing lab work, there’s a very critical aspect [of working in-person]. But the other element is the connectivity of people that you don’t get in an [digital] environment. That’s what we’re spending time on,” he said.
To that end, L’Oréal laboratories feature a new large flex or modular concept to provide a better environment for team-based collaborative work. Currently, different teams have their own dedicated labs, creating development silos. Additionally, consumer testing will take place under one roof instead of three different buildings and the new R&I center can accommodate up to 300 people daily. Browne said this can help with faster product iterations. More traditional office elements, such as a cafeteria, café, townhall space are also part of the build-out, as well as a volleyball court.
“This reflects our commitment to the importance of research and innovation and that we know makes a difference in terms of the recognizable quality of [L’Oréal’s] products,” said Brown. “And [it shows] that we have confidence in our people and the ability to continue to grow and learn from this diverse and evolving marketplace.”