A multinational oil and gas company creates an architecturally innovative campus north of Houston. More than mere cement and steel, it embodies a cultural shift of colossal proportions—a new way of working and thinking for a traditional oil and gas company. 

ExxonMobil’s goal was to create a revolutionary and organic environment suited to a workforce extremely diverse in age, occupation and perspective. Walls, cubes and offices are yesterday’s domains. Today’s workspace is collaborative and non-linear. The office is everywhere, because ideas can happen during a basketball break or while getting a pedicure.

Exxon Booklet Series

As a way to illustrate this paradigm shift, ExxonMobil hired Pennebaker to produce a series of books that were as thoughtful as the subject matter. To both commemorate and inspire, the finished pieces would be given to employees and contractors. 

Exxon Mobil Booklets All

Booklet 1: Open

We decided that the story should reflect the design and progression of the campus, which at this point was incomplete. The first booklet in the series, entitled Open, would explain the conceptual foundation from an architectural perspective and would be comprised of designer quotes, sketches and artistic renderings.

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Booklet 2: Engage

In the second booklet, Engage, the presentation was slightly more refined, featuring a linen cover and photography to replace the sketches and renderings.   Content included quotes from employees who had been working for several months—continuing the progression of the story through subtle, tactile details paralleling campus development.

  • Book 2 Cover
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Booklet 3: Unleash

Our third booklet in the series, Unleash, featured a decidedly more finished presentation to mirror the completion of the campus. In our final design, we included a high-gloss foil-stamped cover and coated paper, reminiscent of steel and glass. The story unfolds through simple, descriptive titles over bright full-page images. People—the most important addition to the project—would be celebrated by a logistically challenging photographic montage of some 10,000 employees.

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And we didn’t stop there. To keep all three booklets together, we also designed a case, appropriately entitled Unite, which was distributed to all employees. As a thank-you to all of the construction professionals who made the project possible, a fourth booklet entitled Create was also provided


The Commemorative Volume

The Houston Campus was truly an inspired endeavor, a monument to form and function. As a final commemorative element, we produced a hardcover volume to photographically chronicle the campus experience, dedicated not only to the people who work there, but to their colleagues around the world. 

The book would be organized in three concentric sections to reflect the expanding realms of perspective. The individual perspective, Me, would focus on how the individual is energized by the environment. Community would focus on the collaborative experience and how different spaces support planned and spontaneous communication. The World completes the circle, expanding on the company’s global mission to enable human progress and meet the challenges of tomorrow.

  • Exxon Comm Book Cover
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