NI Global HQ

A workplace renovation driven by data and discovery

With nearly 1 million SF of space at their headquarters in Austin, engineering giant NI charted the change in their employees’ use of offices and labs due to the Covid 19 pandemic. With these findings — and a new name and brand identity to share with the world — they began a major renovation to their facilities, beginning with three multi-story buildings. And as engineers would, they started with a beta space of 30K SF, allowing the team to study and refine the strategy and design details before investing in the rest of the campus.

In collaboration with the interiors team at Gensler, we delivered an interior art, graphics, and signage program tailored for this curious and analytical audience.


  • Experiential Design
  • Art Installations
  • Signage and Wayfinding
  • Interpretive Exhibits

Project Team

  • Gensler

Translating the brand to space

The new NI brand platform by Gretel provided ample opportunity for development in the built environment. For NI employees who see the world in terms of measurement and data, we created a collection of art and graphics that speaks the same language: each installation a visualization of data. Codes, puzzles, and optical illusions deliver brand messaging in unexpectedly meaningful ways, offering viewers a bit of discovery and delight.

A graphic installation in the executive area translates NI’s corporate mantra, Be Bold. Be Kind. Be Connectors., via a binary code pattern of felt strips in two widths. In a break room, a framed installation of arcs displays the tagline Engineer Ambitiously. Interpretive plaques explain the origins and methods of each.

Encouraging creative collaboration

Within each floor, employees are encouraged to step away from their desks and tinker with tactile, interactive installations. An ever-changing display of more than 1,200 LEGO mini-figs represents employees who work in the space or remotely, literally giving people a place to Be Connectors — one of NI’s key pillars.

Steel plates and magnetic shapes let employees compete to make the longest marble run. Components were tested by NI engineers before production — and will be amended with new shapes by the many makers who work in the space.

A door graphic encourages library users to speak in a 30 dB whisper while displaying comparative data for other sounds.

Asterisk is dedicated to infusing the art and graphics in our renovated spaces with content and meaning. Our employees are delighted by the surprises they are finding, confirming the value of our investment. The Asterisk team makes my team look good.

Scott Strzinek | Senior Director of Global Facilities, NI

A large scale wallcovering brings NI green and oversized biophilia into a seating area. Up close, the image is rendered from a grid of tiny NI software icons. Other wallcoverings utilize technical drawings from NI’s extensive library of patent applications.

A signage system with a global strategy

From public-facing to back of house, the signage aesthetic is elegant, tidy, and modular — designed for consistency and economy of fabrication as a new standard across NI offices on four continents.

Interior wayfinding supports NI’s new workstation reservation app, offering clear orientation to HQ’s large floor plates and zoned room numbering system.

Always seeking data

As phased renovations are completed, the NI Facilities team actively seeks input from users in order to hone the approach and details for ongoing and future projects.

Images by Matthew Batista and Gensler/Ryan Gobuty; video by Matthew Batista