Today Kohl's Department Stores announced the opening of its new state-of-the-art photo studio in Milwaukee, just miles from the company's Menomonee Falls, Wis. headquarters. The 100,000-square-foot facility was constructed using the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria and is expected to earn a Gold rating from the organization. It will be the only LEED-certified photo studio in the country.
The opening of the new photo studio will enable Kohl's to photograph nearly all weekly circulars and e-commerce elements in house. On-location shoots will still be coordinated seasonally, but by bringing more photography under one roof, efficiencies will increase, costs will decrease and more cohesive branding will result. The new photo studio more than doubles Kohl's previous studio space and serves as the first of more than 80 green buildings Kohl's plans to open in 2008 and beyond. To qualify for LEED certification, the photo studio implemented the following green initiatives:
- Rapidly renewable materials were used such as flooring made from cork and bamboo.
- The structural steel system is made from 80 percent recycled content.
- All non-hazardous construction waste such as cardboard, carpet, metals and wood were recycled rather than sent to landfills.
- Landscaping utilizes native adaptive trees, shrubs and ground cover requiring 50 percent less water.
- The roof contains vegetated trays which absorb sunlight and solar panels will be installed in April.
- In total, 85 percent of the studio's power will come from a combination of solar and green power.
- Other efforts include centralized energy management systems, significant exposure to natural daylight, use of green cleaning supplies and an extensive on-site recycling program.
“Kohl's is committed to being an environmentally responsible retailer,” said Ken Bonning executive vice president of logistics for Kohl's. “Our photo studio supports the mission but also showcases that design and functionality do not have to be sacrificed when creating green buildings.”
In addition to its green features, the studio boasts impressive innovations such as 35 photo bays, a digital photo lab, a fully equipped carpentry shop, a 2,000-square-foot prop room, seven hair and make-up rooms and rooftop shooting space for outdoor photography. The photo studio employs a staff of approximately 125 photographers, stylists, art directors, carpenters and other associates. With 13 more photo bays than previously available and more than 40 new staff members, the number of simultaneous shoots and set-ups that can occur increases significantly.
“The photo studio really speaks to Kohl's innovation,” said Julie Gardner, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Kohl's Department Stores. “We've improved the volume and variety of photography we can manage and we're doing it in a setting that is not only inspiring but environmentally friendly.”