Compiled by Jenna Lippin
We here at i+s have had the honor of meeting so many wonderful and
talented designers over the years, and now we’d like to return the favor.
Every month we will be introducing design students and recent alumni
recognized for going above and beyond.
Mohawk Group’s Light Lab—its new commercial design studio located in Dalton, Ga.—has been creating a buzz in the industry
lately as it has Petal Certification from the International Living Future
Institute (ILFI) Living Building Challenge™ 2.1. The facility is the first in
Georgia—not to mention the first building product manufacturer—to
receive the prestigious certification.
The 33,000-square-foot Light Lab is a mid-century modern building
that features 365-degree views of the surrounding natural landscape.
Built in the early 1960s as the headquarters for World Carpet, the
building has been used most recently as a showroom space for
Mohawk Flooring residential products. The conceptual designs of
the interior renovation for Light Lab were provided by students from
the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD); the selected design
came from Bradley Odom, now owner of retail and design business
Dixon Rye. He returned to school at 40 years old, and at the time
of the Light Lab project he was a junior at SCAD. “Going back to
school was to fulfill a dream of branching out on my own as an interior
designer, which I've now done,” he said.
The collaboration process
began with each student
interacting and interviewing
designers and associates from
Mohawk. They worked through
each step with several key
players and decision makers
from the company, “which I
believe was an important aspect
of the success of the project,”
Odom noted. After his design was chosen, “the class came together
in different capacities led by myself to work on bringing my concept
Odom said it was clear to him that the team had to position the
Mohawk brand and the Light Lab itself as a “design-centric, design-
first facility. There was amazing natural light that was not being utilized,
which is where Light Lab originated. I felt that design had to be the
center focus of the space giving the designer a focal point and also a
place that would engage all users of the facility—a place where every
person working in the building would work together in touch-down
spaces where you could sit for a long meeting, take a call, or grab a
snack. I wanted to move the design of the facility into the 21st century
by getting rid of walls and opening up the space in a way that allowed
everyone to participate in the design process.”
While updating the space and making sure it had a design focus,
Odom wanted to be sure the Light Lab told the Mohawk story as
well. For example, a “water bottle wall” was an idea for illustrating the
importance of the company’s sustainability story and how it is one of
the world’s largest recyclers of plastic water bottles, and a history wall
displays highlights of Mohawk’s evolution. The M from the Mohawk
logo was integrated into the reception desk and welcomes visitors to
In 2015 Odom served as a SCAD Atlanta INDS Alumni mentor.
He has also employed two different SCAD students. “My advice?
Take every opportunity. SCAD does an amazing job of providing
opportunities for all students—but it's up to the student to [use them].”
MOHAWK GROUP’S LIGHT LAB