With the increased priority on health and wellness in the wake of COVID-19, Santa Claus wanted to be proactive and rework the North Pole’s operations and building design so work could continue safely. Shive-Hattery was invited to reimagine the magic of delivering presents and Christmas spirit to every corner of the world.

To provide adequate space for distancing, the workshop was decentralized into smaller manufacturing groups. Drawing inspiration from the natural environment, the buildings are arranged to mimic the crystalline structure of snowflakes. Located in the center is the core of operations, where wrapped presents are stored awaiting their journey around the globe. Connecting each group to the core is a web of above ground tunnels. Driverless transport is available to take elves anywhere in the system in minutes.

In order to help the elves feel connected to the Christmas spirit and the mission of the North Pole, the design team modeled each building after a snow globe. Large expanses of glass take full advantage of daylight and give the elves unobstructed views of the snow draped landscape. The shop floors are laid out at half capacity for ample room for separation between individual workstations. Above the shop floor is mezzanine storage where materials needed for crafting children’s dream toys can be found. Communal spaces are spread around the perimeter glass and under the central tree where elves can kick back and enjoy as much candy as they want.

Due to the nature of work at the North Pole, the project was completed in phases to allow for continual production. Santa and the elves now enjoy a safer and more efficient workshop and are on track for Christmas 2020!