I t’s 8 o’clock on a January morning, and the temperature in Normal, Illinois, just a few hours south of Chicago, is well below freezing. The small pond in front of Rivian Automotive’s assembly plant has turned to ice, the grass is covered with frost and there is snow in the forecast. It’s not much warmer inside the plant. Nearly the entire 2.6-million-square-foot facility is a construction zone, undergoing a massive $750 million renovation to prepare for the end of the year, when it expects to start rolling out battery-powered trucks, vans and SUVs. So minor details like heat are not exactly a top priority. The only finished area—a second floor at the front of the building that overlooks the factory—is where the plant’s previous owner, Mitsubishi, had its executive offices. Back then, access to this floor was restricted to the suits. Now it’s a giant open workspace, accessible to all, with a cafeteria, polished concrete floors and lots of natural light, just like the floor plan at Rivian’s research and design center in Plymouth, Michigan. The concept for both offices was to merge industrial and outdoor aesthetics that mirror the company’s brand—an automaker that builds sustainable vehicles usable […]

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