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Plan.Design.Move | R&R Express - Case Study


This article features a case study of R&R Express, a fast-growing logistics company based in Pittsburgh, PA, and how we provided plan, design, and move services for this client.


In 2019 R&R Express brought in Studio SMC to help completely redesign a 2-story building that the owner had just purchased. The existing 1980's building had dated construction and finishes, and needed a complete gut/reno of not only the interior aesthetics and layout, but also the building systems. The 32,000 SF building was brought up to date with an open plan layout that included glass front demountable wall offices, high-grade finishes, and modern furniture to create a Class-A office space.

100 Commerce Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275

Fast forward to 2023. Due to R&R Express's rapid growth, SMC was brought back in to help find additional space. With the help of Rise Agency Group we were able to find space a hop, skip, and jump away from their existing building, and secured another 21,000 SF of office space. This additional office was going to house departments that were already established at the existing building, and then the company was going to infill those vacancies from the employee relocation with new hires.

2000 Commerce Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15275

Through programming, the most important step of the planning process, we determined what was needed for the employees being relocated to this new office. We discussed departmental needs and requirements, as well as whole-office accommodations. We worked through the furniture planning process and determined what existing furniture was needed vs. what new furniture was required.

After we had a solid space plan and furniture plan, we continued through the planning phase and coordinated with the client's IT/AV vendor on data locations and other areas needing technology such as DIRTT media walls, and TV and ticker tape locations.

Once all of the planning was complete, we finalized our construction document set and worked through the permitting process with the contractor, Rossman Hensley, and the township to obtain a building permit.


While this additional office space was practically move-in ready, R&R wanted to brand the space while making it reflective of their headquarters which was only 250 ft away. This included not only aesthetic updates but layout changes as well. Included in the planning phase was incorporating key features that were established at their existing building: a large, open cafe, a grand boardroom, expanding the bathrooms, and a cafe market.

We replaced all of the flooring in the open plan areas with the R&R standard carpet, added LVT in the private offices and cafe, tile in the entryway and reception area, and a beautiful polished tile in the boardroom. The existing conditions portrayed the previous tenant's branding, so all materials that reflected those corporate colors were removed. The contractor stripped the space of all wallcovering and repainted existing accent walls with neutrals. The space did come with some furniture, but modifications were made to incorporate R&R's branding. The existing tackboards within the workstations were reupholstered to add in corporate colors, and new side chairs were purchased with branded upholstery.

The open cafe was designed to welcome both employees and visitors. We designed a large, custom parson's table with storage on one side and stools on the other. We replicated the cabinetry and red backpainted glass backsplash to match the existing building, and utilized the same specification and finishes on the furniture to keep consistency.

*Progress shots. Red backpainted glass and additional cafe furniture to be installed mid June.

When designing the boardroom, we wanted to make sure it made a statement. We brought in Construkt / DIRTT for the media wall that included a large tv with AV capabilities, and black backpainted glass for elegance. We worked with Workscape for all of our furniture needs throughout the office, including the 22-seat, white backpainted glass boardroom table. The polished, marble-look tile floor topped off the design and completed this stunning space.

When we designed the headquarters building back in 2019, the client requested that we add many additional restrooms to accommodate the number of employees occupying that building. The same request was made for the new space as well. Not only did we add restroom stalls to both the men's and women's restrooms, but we upgraded the finishes to create a sharp, striking bathroom with modern materials and fixtures.

Another important amenity that R&R Express wanted to include within the office was a cafe market for the employees. A cafe market is an innovative high-tech self-service convenience store providing a new, fresh approach to food and beverage services. Both R&R office spaces offer this feature as an easy way for employees to grab a snack during the day without having to leave the office.


Once the space was complete and ready to be occupied, Studio SMC helped manage the relocation from origin to destination. There are many aspects of a move that need to be carefully planned and executed in order to ensure success. Overlooking the slightest detail could lead to costly mistakes and downtime. Having SMC on board eliminated the stress of uncertainty and helped streamline the process by developing and implementing a move plan that minimized disruptions to the company's operations.

SMC's on-site move managers prepped the space prior to the move by placarding both existing and new spaces. The placards indicated which employees were moving and where they were relocating to. This task helps the movers navigate the space quicker and helps them to identify where to go.

SMC worked with South Hills Movers for the physical move. The move happened on a Friday evening and was completed in less than 5 hours. Our move coordinator was on site the evening of the move to assess the progress and to help with any questions or issues the movers had. We ensured everything was moved correctly and the site was ready for operation on Monday.

Another important task that we do when we are on site is to make sure everything is getting placed where it is supposed to go. We do a thorough walkthrough of each cube and office to make sure everyone has all of their crates and items that were to be moved.

Lastly, our team also is present the day the employees enter their new space for the first time. We were on site the Monday after the move to distribute post-move trouble reports and handle any issues or questions that employees had.

We are still currently working through some outstanding items on this project, such as artwork, signage, and graphics, and have been a source for R&R for any additional services they may need as they begin to live in the space.

SMC has worked not only on R&R's Pittsburgh offices, but also Quincy, MA, and Tinley Park, IL, and continue to be their source for design services as they continue to grow.

We can't thank R&R Express enough for the opportunities they have given us and for the continued trust and support they have with Studio SMC. A personal THANK YOU to Rich and Kathie Francis. They are the most humble, caring, and appreciative people. Their personal concern for each of their employees is admirable and all of their staff will tell you the same! We have the utmost respect for them and their team. We look forward to continuing working together as R&R continues to grow!

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