Posts tagged spaced

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The Bartlett

228 W. Sprague Avenue, Spokane, Washington

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This space is not an office.

A designer does not work in this space, but this space is the work of a designer. The designer owns this space. The designer’s husband, a music promoter, also owns this space. Together, they designed this space.

They wanted to run a music venue. They wanted to promote local artists. They wanted to open a cafe. For two years, they designed and promoted and promoted and designed. Last year, they opened this space. This weekend, this space — their space — hosts a festival showcasing 33 independent musical artists on stage and the works of 33 poster artists on the walls.

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This space is The Bartlett.

The Designer + The Promoter

Karli and Caleb Ingersoll grew up playing music and attending shows. Karli is a designer with broad experience and a special interest in designing for the independent music universe. Before marrying Karli, Caleb managed The Red Room, a 400-person venue in Kennewick, Washington. Caleb now promotes musicians at The Bartlett, the couple’s Indiegogo-fueled dream-made-real, a 150-person all-ages music venue/cafe in a scruffy neighborhood on the edge of downtown Spokane hard by the Greyhound station.

The Outside + The Inside

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Caleb and Karli split design tasks for The Bartlett. While he focused more on interior design and she focused more on branding, they both kept simplicity at the core of their efforts. To their minds, The Bartlett’s design elements should serve as distinctive but understated backdrops allowing the musicians and poster artists to star as ever-changing focal points.

"All of our branding choices have been somewhat subtle and more mood driven, allowing for a blank canvas for the music and events we book," Karli told Dribbble. The Bartlett’s facade is mostly black and white, with some wood accents. The cafe and the venue feature natural textures, brick walls, and hundred-year-old wood floors: lovely, strong, understated. "The idea is for all of it to get out of the way and almost be unnoticeable so that the focal point can really the the music."

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As for technical design, the two wanted the space to attract bands that might typically appear at larger venues. “We had experience running shows in the past and were able to apply that into every little piece of the design … the actual layout and selection of equipment,” Caleb said. “I wanted a sound system that you might find in a 500-capacity music venue, but set in a smaller room.”

The Logo + The Signage

When it came to branding, Karli wanted to maintain the simplicity of the interior while also creating something memorable. During the process, she worked her design muscles in new ways.

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"I went through a ridiculous amount of design attempts before I really hit the nail on the head. It was the most laborious project I’ve ever done but through it I felt like I really grew." The work not only served The Bartlett, but also Karli’s professional life. "I now see The Bartlett logo in creative briefs from clients, which gives me a great feeling of satisfaction knowing it has directed my career and style in a big way."

Bartfest the First

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At The Bartlett, Karli and Caleb meld music and art and community. Bartfest, the first iteration of which kicks off Friday, takes those passions to a higher pitch. The three-day festival features 33 bands, each of which has been paired with a designer who created a unique show poster for their band. Featured designers include a number of Dribbblers. We’ve highlighted their work below. (If you’re part of Bartfest and we missed you, we’ll happily add you to our grid. Email susanna@dribbble.com.)

  1. Bartfest poster show!
  2. Bartfest Poster Show
  3. Dead Serious Lovers Poster
  1. Bartfestposter_blouse_300dpi_v3
  2. Scottryan_bartfest_aug20_tiny
  3. Joseph2
  1. Young-magic-poster_shot-2
  2. Bearcubbin'!
  3. Shelby Earl Poster
  1. Von The Baptist poster
  2. Wildones2
  3. Telekinesis Poster Closeup
  1. 24_normalbabies_johnmujica
  2. Modern Kin
  3. Summer Cannibals
  1. Hundred Waters Print
  2. Pineleague_1000
  3. Seagiant-these-years

Row 1, L-R: Karli Ingersoll for Glasser, Mike Shamberg for Nite Jewel, Matt Bogue for Dead Serious Lovers

Row 2, L-R: Marcus Brown for Blouse, Jessie Spaccia for Scott Ryan, Caroline F Schibel for Joseph

Row 3, L-R: Brandon DeLauney for Young Magic, Tony Kuchar for Bearcubbin’, Amanda R. Johnson for Shelby Earl

Row 4, L-R: Factory Arts for Von the Baptist, Danielle Davis for Wild Ones, Jessie Pierpoint for Telekinesis

Row 5, L-R: John Mujica for Normal Babies, Tiffany Patterson for Modern Kin, Kaarin S for Summer Cannibals

Row 6, L-R: Jacob Greif for Hundred Waters, Keely Honeywell for Pine League, Ryan Monson for Sea Giant

Thanks, Karli, for all of your help.

Spaced features interesting Dribbbler office spaces. E-mail susanna@dribbble.com to be considered for an upcoming article.

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HOODZPAH DESIGN CO.
Newport, Orange County, California

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The Hoods of Hoodzpah; photo by Matthew Morgan

We like all of the Spaced offices. We’d like to work in all of the Spaced offices. We’d like to live at Hoodzpah.

Why? Let’s Top 5 it:

1) The Hoods’ Hood.

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Newport Harbor, a few blocks from Hoodzpah HQ

Amy and Jennifer Hood do live at Hoodzpah. The designing twin sisters and their 5-member team cover everything from branding to book covers to websites to packaging, all from a building that serves as Amy and Jen’s home and everyone’s office.

The live-in, work-in space is located near the water on the Balboa Peninsula, which Jen (originally from Kentucky) calls “the hillbilly part” of Newport, Orange County, California, sandwiched between Newport Harbor and Newport Beach/the Pacific Ocean.

The area has, or seems to have from where we sit in ye olde East Coast seaport, everything one expects from a funky West Coast beach town: sand, sun, surfers, bikers, a waterfront Fun Zone with a 1930s ferris wheel and, in Jen’s words, “endless water.” Being able to look at the ocean offers perspective, she said. “It’s so huge and constant. Makes the occasional rogue client fade away.”

Speaking of rogues, Hollywood greats like Humphrey Bogart and John Wayne hung out in Newport back in the day. Decades later, the local population continues to wow. “Living in a beach town populated by lifer beach nuts, tourist kooks and transplanted East Coasters is amazing,” Jen told Dribbble. “Year round we have people driving by in cars, hanging out their window and bellowing at passersby like frat boys on spring break. … You don’t have all the super-rich people that you see on ‘The OC’ or ‘Real Housewives of Orange County.’ You have the riffraff and the fishermen and the surf rats … . People are unapologetic and quirky.” The peninsula also houses “tons of neighborhood cats.” (Cats. Reason #1.5)

2) Our Commute Would Disappear.

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The office; photo by Jenavieve Belair

We thought we were spoiled. Dan lives a five-minute walk from the office; Rich and Susanna hoof it for a fat seven. But if we lived at Hoodzpah, our commute would shrink to, what, 30 seconds? (The telecommuting members of our Team also enjoy a 30-second commute. We are jealous of them, too.)

"Being able to walk downstairs to your office is ridiculously convenient," Jen says. Amy and Jen live upstairs, Hoodzpah lives on the first floor, and everyone (Jen, Amy, Julie, Lauren, Alyssa, Arturo and Margo) shares the roof deck. (See Reason #3).

Perhaps because the office is also a house, or perhaps because Jen and Amy know how to set a mood, the first floor office feels homey, in a good and productivity-enhancing way.

Amy’s easel stands behind a sitting area. Jen’s piano provides her an excuse to serenade her coworkers with show tunes. A mantle and fireplace offer not only a classic focal point, but also the potential for a crackling fire should it snow. (In Southern California. Ever. No shoveling! Reason #2.5.) A blank wall serves as movie screen for viewing everything from classic movies to Creative Mornings spots, and a chalkboard features “the lineup,” a current listing of jobs. Any spaces remaining, Amy and Jen have filled with art.

3) Roof with Fire Pit and (Kiddie) Pool.

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Take it away, Jen.

"The roof patio is our haven. We try to take lunches up there as oft as possible because it is such a nice break from the office! You have peek-a-boo views of the bay as well as vast views of the housetops and buildings from Laguna Beach all the way to Huntington Beach. Up there we have twinkle lights, lots of succulents to create a Palm Springs-like oasis feel, chairs and a fire pit. And our recent addition to the roof is our 12’ x 8’ kiddie pool. In it sits a floaty and when it gets to be 95 outside, sometimes you just have to take a pool break to cool down and let the creative juices refuel."

4) In This Space, Fun Happens.

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Showtunes, photo by Jenavieve Belair

If you were paying attention, you’ll remember movies. Impromptu piano concerts. The rooftop swimming pool. The beach, steps away. Who wouldn’t want to spend as much time here as possible, what with multiple opportunities for revving up creativity and decreasing tension?

"I love the office because it is so laid back," Amy said. "Some days we play records on the record player all day, when we’re tired of music we break out the projector and screen movies, and no matter how stressful the day gets it’s nothing a quick walk to the beach can’t fix."

5) In This Space, Good Work Happens.

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Photo credit Jenavieve Belair

Fun aside, the Hoodzpah offices are really about getting work done. The environment offers stress relief, sure, but mostly it fosters creativity, fuel for an active agency.

"The office in general is pretty inspiring," said designer Julie Mack Boyce. “The environment is definitely motivating and very collaborative. If there’s ever a moment where any of us are stuck or just need an extra set of eyeballs on a project, it’s super easy to gather the team for a quick critique.”

Everyone shares an open, well-lit office with three windows and a variety of work surfaces, including a Hood sisters-crafted conference table that doubles as a desk, two two-person desks, four 27” iMacs, and a rusty, exceptionally useful old lightbox the sisters acquired from a print house.

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Designer Julie Mack Boyce; photo by Jenavieve Belair

These tools, this space, all serve the current batch of clients, which include Cocina Central, a new, small chain of restaurants, and a huge social media site the team can’t wait to launch. Amy and Jen also recently spoke at San Diego’s ValioCon and AAF Indianapolis, both in June. To give you a visual sense of what’s being going on at Hoodzpah, we’re highlighting nine recent pieces below. Click through for full details.

  1. Beyond Meat Fan Badges
  2. Johnny App Tee for Pitchfork Music Fest
  3. Goldsman Law Logo Concept
  1. Road Beckons Screen Print Poster
  2. MD Logo Concept
  3. High Five
  1. Bindle And Hare Logo Concept
  2. Hot Wheels Trucker Hat Logo
  3. The best 35mm of all time... the Canon AE Program-1

Thank you Jennifer Hood for all your help! If you and Amy ever want to swap offices-by-the-sea for a week, we’re in!

Spaced features interesting Dribbbler office spaces. E-mail susanna@dribbble.com to be considered for an upcoming article.

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Grain & Mortar

Mastercraft Building, 1111 North 13th Street Suite 141, Omaha, Nebraska

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The Mastercraft Building, home of Grain & Mortar

Look around Grain & Mortar's headquarters and see history: Rough-sawn lumber joists. A 12-foot-wide garage door. Concrete floors adorned only with a fading path painted to guide forklifts. The Omaha-based branding and design agency lives in the 14,000-square-foot, single-story Mastercraft Building, built in 1941 as a furniture factory and now host to a variety of creative businesses. The building’s past and present reflect a larger trend across North Downtown Omaha, that of 20th century industrial spaces transforming into 21st century creative hives.

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"Our space is the definition of the word ‘industrial,’" Kristin DeKay told Dribbble. Kristin heads up operations for the eight-person team. In addition to the aforementioned original details, Grain & Mortar’s office features also include two sets of clerestory windows (i.e. above-eye-level) and a boiler-room-turned kitchen boasting radiant heat. The light-heat combination often lures Kristin away from her desk for a work sprint. “When I have to write something that really needs my full attention, I always grab my laptop and go into the boiler room to focus. It’s always warm by the radiators and the natural light is wonderful.”

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The office also houses an impressive collection of vintage and handmade furniture. The crew rehabbed a mid-century coffee table, grabbed discarded pallet wood to reface the kitchen cabinets, and scored two beautiful filing cabinets from the basement of an old credit union. The company picnic table was designed in-house and built by friend Peter Cales. Same goes for the desks and conference room table. MTRL Design, which also occupies space in the Mastercraft Building, laser-engraved the company barstools.

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As far as encouraging employees to do more than marvel at their surroundings, the office fosters productivity with a collaboration-friendly floor plan, back-saving standing desks, and a separate area for when the need to relax becomes overwhelming.

The current HQ and the company’s previous Mastercraft space have seen the crew undertake identity and design work for clients as varied as Beep, a device connecting all your speakers and making them wireless; smart-shopping price-tracking application Nifti; and ReRuns R Fun, the nation’s largest nonprofit consignment sale.

Omaha Illustration for Hudl

Omaha illustration created for Hudl by Mike DeKay and Jesse Harding.

Currently Grain & Mortar is tackling local and national recruiting campaigns for Hudl, which creates video software and apps for coaches, athletes and recruiters. The company is growing so quickly that it needs 40 new employees, stat. “This project is interesting to us because we’re using design to merge two fields that don’t normally cross paths - sports and technology,” Kristin said. “It’s a fun challenge.”

The Team

To the right, a shot from each of Grain & Mortar’s Dribbblers. To the left, the designers expound on why their office space works.

We Are Honest Folks
“I enjoy that our studio is in a one-floor building, giving us the opportunity to connect with our fellow creative neighbors. I like having wide-open space for entertaining visitors and friends at the studio. There is a very homey feel about the space that helps everyone ease into creativity quickly and makes visitors and client feel welcome.”
Eric Downs, Creative Director, We Are Honest Folks
Barcamp Omaha 2012
“I like that we are using a space that was vacant just five years ago. I also like the high ceilings and skylights. Love concrete, steel, brick, wood environment, it helps me be creative with my craft. I also love that we have standing desks for easy collaboration with a separate chill-out area.”
Mike DeKay, Creative Director, Barcamp Omaha 2012
Midwest Made
“My favorite part of the studio is our glass garage door. There’s nothing like being able to open up the studio and let the sunshine and fresh air in to clear your mind and fill you with inspiration.”
Miranda Bouck, Designer/Developer, Midwest Made
“The open layout makes collaboration much easier. We can move back and forth between each other’s desks quickly and sharing ideas is frictionless. Plus, cubicles are specifically created to drain away your soul one dreary day at a time.” Caleb Nachtigall, Developer
Hudl_dribbble01
“The standing desks are probably my favorite and most effective part of the office for getting work done. I also love sitting with the garage door open on a nice day letting the breeze in.” Bryan Findell, Motion, Hudl
Bss_biker_wip
“I love the awesome, fully-equipped kitchen area. It is refreshing to come to work in a studio that feels more like home than anything else. I also love how everyone works together in the main part of the space. It feels very open and collaborative.” Matt Carlson, Designer, BSS Biker WIP (personal)

Find Grain & Mortar at Dribbble, on Twitter, and at grainandmortar.com. Thank you, Kristin DeKay, for all your help.

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FOCUS LAB

Olde Landmark Building, 35 Barnard Street, #202, Savannah, Georgia

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1770 plan for Savannah, including the city’s first six squares.
Ellis Square, home to Focus Lab, is bottom right.

Like a 21st century logo mark, Savannah was designed upon a grid. Four squares, each surrounded by eight blocks, formed the original 18th century heart of the city. By the middle of the 19th century, the city comprised 24 squares. Instead of resulting in a repetitive dull-scape, Savannah’s layout adds creative rhythm to the city, offering its residents spaces to breathe, each with its own distinct character.

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Ellis Square is at once the city’s newest square and one of its oldest. Part of the original four-square city plan back in 1733, Ellis was demolished in the 1950s to make way for a parking garage. Preservationists reclaimed the area a decade ago, and now a modern urban space with an interactive fountain offers yet another Savannah riff on the public square.

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Design and development firm Focus Lab sits in the green-and-white, brick-and-steel Olde Landmark Building at one edge of Ellis Square. Like the square and like the city itself, Focus Lab’s office exemplifies a thoughtful approach to space, balancing aesthetics and practical concerns while allowing each of its “residents” space to interact and, at the same time, space to breathe.

Movin’ on Down

Bill Kenney and Erik Reagan, now Focus Lab's art and technical directors respectively, started the company four years ago in a 220-square-foot office at ThincSavannah. The cowork space, Savannah’s first, occupies the third floor of the Olde Landmark Building.

"We made friends, pot lucked, and earned a reputation for our joie de vivre,” Bill told Dribbble. The crew even led their startup coworkers in a competitive egg drop, which involved launching eggs from the ThincSavannah down three stories to the sidewalk. But when they grew from two to six, Focus Lab needed more. Last year, they headed down a level to the second floor. The move not only offered more room, but the opportunity to design new headquarters from scratch.

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"Our main objectives were a clean, modern aesthetic, shared worskspaces to facilitate collaborative and individual creativity, and modular, adaptable vignettes," said Bill. In a word, flexibility.

Many a 21st century company recognizes the benefits of multi-use spaces, but Focus Lab has made extra effort to maximize functionality. A light palette — white and pale gray paint, natural wood, a glass partition — makes a single aesthetic statement while also providing a changeable background. Moodboards turn walls into work surfaces. A tucked-away call room with an “On Air” sign on the door offers escape, not only for private calls but also small meetings. A television is mounted on a dry-erase wall, which itself is mounted on wheels. A butcher roll table, perfect for group brainstorms, also rests on wheels.

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Everything moves at Focus Lab, even the butcher roll.

"Everything folds up, rolls, or otherwise moves," said Bill. "We can reconfigure almost the entire office at the drop of a dime for visitors, events, Nerf gun wars, or the anticipated growth of the office."

Having expanded from a duo to fourteen in four years, growth is a given. Current projects include a brand refresh (including website redesign) for JibJab, an entertainment company previously best known for greeting cards and satirical political videos.

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Eight motivational posters designed by the Focus Lab team hang along the office’s south wall.

The Focus Lab crew are big fans of JibJab’s past work, and are excited about taking the company forward. “They’re a smart, fun and highly methodical team so working with them has been educational, challenging, and rewarding,” said Bill. “We can’t wait to see what the finish line holds.”

The Workers Speak

No one details an office’s particular merits better than the people who work in it. 

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I love the space in the office. I love how we have defined spaces, but it’s not cluttered. Everything has a meaning and a purpose, just like the team … . We weren’t picked without thought, and nothing, down to the books and scissors on the shelves have been placed without thought. I feel comfortable in the space, there’s not too much to distract me, but at the same time, enough to engage me, if necessaryKellie Groover, office manager
I love the big windows that let in great natural light. The beanbag chairs are also awesome to take breaks and just lay back on.Rocky Roark, illustrator and brand designer

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The space that Focus Lab has created for us allows for better creativity. The kitchen that’s kept stocked with healthy alternatives (along with not so healthy alternatives) makes the office feel more homey. As well as the natural lighting coming from the large windows, all-around the space makes for an easy place to work and be creative.Sam Stratton, brand and UI designer.
Our space is a perfect balance of work and play. The environment is open for casual conversation, professional meetings, and getting work done. And, more importantly, the locally-roasted coffee flows like milk and honey.Matt Yow, brand designer.

Selected Work

  1. Branding Gifts
  2. PinkBlush Branding
  3. Clique Site
  1. banner
  2. Navy Mobile
  3. Icon Mugs
  1. Clique Dribbble
  2. Ninja Forms Branding
  3. Join League Page

Focus LabThank you Bill Kenney, Summer Teal Simpson, and ThincSavannah’s Tom Shimada. Sample Focus Lab's work above, then go visit their Dribbblers: Alicja Colon, Jonathan Howell, Myles Kedrowski, Bill Kenney, Rocky Roark, Summer Teal Simpson, Sam Stratton, Charlie Waite, and Matt Yow.

Got a space for Spaced? Email susanna@dribbble.com.

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Spaced features interesting Dribbbler office spaces. Does your space fit the bill? Email susanna@dribbble.com.

FUZZCO

95 Cannon Street, Charleston, South Carolina, USA

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Six offices. Nine years. By the time Fuzzco hit address number six, they knew what they wanted in a workspace.

• Plentiful conference rooms and private spaces

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Creative Directors John Nissenboim and Helen Rice founded Fuzzco in 2005 in a Charleston Single House, a type of long, narrow home with multi-story porches called piazzas. Since then, they’ve grown into a 15-employee agency tackling a broad range of projects: everything from logo design to app development to video production to good, old-fashioned brochures. They moved into their sixth space late last year.

From the outside, Fuzzco looks like the happy marriage of a sardine tin and a shoebox. A former warehouse that previously housed a restoration woodworker and a stash of medical supplies, the building stretches up two stories and out across 7,800 square feet, six-and-a-half times bigger than Fuzzco’s last office. When the agency moved in, they added a large burned-wood structure that protrudes from the front, creating a covered entryway and hiding a second-story porch. The building says “fun” as spoken in an industrial tongue.

To get to Fuzzco, most employees walk or bike through the surrounding neighborhood, a thriving mix of personal residences and commercial properties. Rice describes her typical journey: “I enjoy the little rituals like saying good morning to the guys at Hominy Grill, checking out the squirrels drinking out of faucets and taking a shortcut through the parking lot.”

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She then ducks behind the wall hiding Fuzzco from the neighborhood. Here, the agency has found privacy in the midst of bustle that allows them to be both part of the community and apart in a way that supports their work. The same holds true for the inside of the office: privacy within community.

Fuzzco is busy; current projects include creating an identity and website for Modest, a mobile commerce platform venture led by Harper Reed. They’re also branding Charleston nonprofit Greenheart, which works with urban youth to build urban gardens. Busy agencies need meeting rooms and areas for working alone. One of the benefits of the company’s latest space is … space, for all of it.

Team members can choose from a variety of spots, depending on need: client meeting, company meeting, brainstorming session, break, quiet time. “We wanted to create distinct environments throughout the space to accommodate different moods and use cases,” Rice explained. Dark and cozy, downstairs offers several conference room riffs: the traditional “boardroom,” anchored by a big marble table; a long-tabled conference room, a library, and a lounge so comfortable that Senior Web Designer Melanie Richards said, “a lot of us have ended up hanging out here instead of at our respective homes.”

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Upstairs features the main studio with employee desks, a comfy living room, and mini-conference rooms that welcome pairs of collaborators with small tables and whiteboards. These last spots also serve single employees looking for alone time. “Sometimes my headphones aren’t enough solitude and I need to get away from my comrades to just read, draw, or think and the office has plenty of small, quieter spaces for that,” said Designer Colin Pinegar.

• Plentiful Bathrooms

Or, really, even one. When Fuzzco took over, the property offered nary a toilet, outhouse, or chamber pot. “Rumor is that the woodworker would walk across the street to use the restroom at Hominy Grill every single day for 20 years,” Rice said.

• Natural Light

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Like many a young and creative company, Fuzzco offers its employees small diversions, several with a sting. In addition to taking a bumper-pool break, employees can Zen-out while watching the jellyfish tank or seek productivity inspiration from the company’s observation hive. Bees come and go through a tube; the hive is located inside the building behind glass. (Buzzco?)

"Watching someone else work hard for a while is kind of satisfying," said Design Director Brandon Oxendine. “It’s beautiful to watch them move around and work in their hive.”

Beyond these quirky elements, the company has kept their interior basic. Many a modern office aims at minimalism, but Fuzzco has resisted any gloss that demands the adjective “sleek.” Cement floors, raw pegboard, unfinished plywood, unadorned walls, and exposed ductwork bespeak commitment to basics and flexibility that allows for repeated reimagining, both of the space and the company.

"We didn’t want to go in with fixed ideas about how each space was really going to work so we kept a lot of it spare," said Rice. "The whole building is still very much a blank canvas that will evolve over time."

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Natural light illuminates that blank canvas. Skylights welcome in the sun, making the second floor, in Rice’s words, “airy, bright and fresh.” Each of the four Fuzzco designers who spoke to Dribbble heralded the light.

Ryan Hubbard, designer: “Our old space, great as it was, felt like you were working in the hull of a ship, so the skylights have been a game changer, for sure.”

Colin Pinegar, designer: “I like the skylights. Having natural light is crucial to my sanity.”

Melanie Richardson, senior web designer: “The light in here is really great. The windows and skylights let in plenty of sunlight, and the light color scheme makes everything feel airy and pleasant.”

Brandon Oxendine, design director: “Shiny white enamel desks and fresh natural light make this space [upstairs] feel like a totally different building than the downstairs. … I also really love the windows on the ceilings. There’s this huge tree right next to our building that hangs over the roof, so when you look through these windows, it’s just like you’re in a forest.”

• Standing desks

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In addition to the natural light, each of the designers touted their shiny, white desks as central to their success. When Fuzzco moved, they chose adjustable standing desks for the studio, plus chairs that can be raised for the sitters. Health benefits motivated the new desks: Standing to work helps posture, blood flow, energy level and metabolism. “I feel good and nimble through the day,” said Pinegar.

Plus, you can boogie. “It’s great to be able to just crank through work standing up,” said Oxendine. “A few of us find ourselves dancing to our music from time to time. Sitting down is less conducive to dancing.”

Fuzzco™Sample Fuzzco’s work below, then go visit their account and their Dribbblers: Ryan Hubbard, Brandon Oxendine, Colin Pinegar, Helen Rice, and Melanie Richards. Thank you, Helen Rice, for all your help.

  1. Engine Yard Redesign
  2. Jelly
  3. Positive Electric
  1. Baby's First Typeface
  2. Mailchimp
  3. Joe's Office

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Spaced features interesting Dribbbler office spaces. Does your space fit the bill? E-mail susanna@dribbble.com to be considered for a future article.

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Draugiem Group

Ziedleju Street 1, Marupe, Marupes Area, Latvia

Alvis likes the huge mess covering his desk and the floor-to-ceiling window that allows him to ignore it. Artūrs likes the fact that everyone can see his screen and pop in with feedback before he’s done hours of unnecessary work. Gustavs likes knowing when dinner has arrived and when the toilets are free.

Gustavs Cirulis does not sit next to the bathroom, nor does he stand by Alvis’ big window watching for the takeout guy. Cirulis and Alvis Rozenbergs and Artūrs Vanags work at the Draugiem Group, parent company of Latvian social network Draugiem (“for friends”), more popular in Latvia than Facebook (!). Monitors show employees not only which toilets are available, but also who is at their desk, which conference rooms are open, and the temperature inside and out. At the front door, an iPad secretary greets visitors and summons the appropriate Draugiem staffer.

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Draugiem’s office exemplifies what practical science can do for employee efficiency and comfort, and highlights co-founder Lauris Liberts' entrepreneurial obsession with all things tech. The bug bit Liberts in the late 1990s, when the young Latvian was busing tables in New York City and watching Internet bubbles swell and pop. Back home, he teamed up with tech-savvy Agris Tamanis, and the two started a localized social network in 2004. Today the € 15 million ($20 million US) company comprises not only the social network, but also 15 other ventures including Startup Vitamins, whose posters bear zingy motivational exhortations such such as “Move Fast and Break Things" and "Fuck Mediocrity.”

While the rigged office space certainly reflects the founders’ tech-affection and the company’s dedication to employee comfort and productivity, the building itself reflects recent Latvian economic history.

In 2007/2008, Latvia shuttled downward into a severe economic depression. Support for the arts stagnated. To “save” modern art, a family of artists built a massive gallery space on the outer, industrial edges of Riga. The city was born in the 12th century on the shores of the Baltic, and today is Latvia’s largest city and a cultural hotspot.

Taking cues from European minimalism, the artists aimed for an open, neutral space framed by glass and concrete and outfitted with fiber optics; a welcoming showplace for an array of cultural offerings. However, the family soon fell prey to the same economic struggles as the rest of the country and had to rent out the space.

After inviting in several potential tenants, the artists found their ideal in Draugiem. Where others queried about wallpaper and carpeting, Draugiem’s principals appreciated the building’s essence. Adding an orange mega-logo to the rooftop and greenery inside and out (including an interior living wall in a conference room called “Tropics”), Draugiem celebrated, rather than squashed, the open spirit of its new space.

"The interior is planned by our designers," Julia Gifford told Dribbble. Gifford serves as Draugiem’s content marketing director. “They have a knack and feel for the company’s identity.” Workspaces are open and communal. Eclectic, friendly, comfortable chairs ranging from beanbags to plastic geometrics fill the conference rooms. The kitchen holds long tables where employees enjoy family-style catered meals. “We don’t work close to any shops or restaurants, so it’s more convenient,” Gifford said. “It also means we don’t take as much time for lunch — eat, and come back to work. Also, it’s a hell of a team building experience. You’re breaking bread daily with each of your colleagues.”

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Up top? Draugiem’s crowning glory: a hangout complete with (fake) grass. Take it away, Julia:

"Our rooftop is a source of pride for us. One half is entirely green … with comfy seats to go out, work, have lunch, meetings or just hang out with coworkers and party together on Friday nights. … The other half used to be just black tarmac. But we built a sort of meeting room [the “Guest Room”] out of wood and glass. It would be our space to invite larger groups, since we often give group tours … and have inspiring people come and talk."

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The rooftop also encourages building-to-building visual camaraderie. “There seems to be a rooftop culture in the neighborhood,” Gifford said. “From where I sit if I look in one direction, I see a rooftop terrace with a barbecue where the employees enjoy the occasional drink and kabob, the Latvian grilled meat of choice, and in the other direction I see a large blue swing on the roof of a tobacco company’s building.”

All Draugiem’s extras, from the faux-turf lounge to the toilet monitors, not only make the company an attractive place to work, but also arguably contribute to the bottom line via increased employee satisfaction and efficiency. Draugiem’s now attempting to figure out which internal tech elements would be most popular in other office environments. The results will be packaged and sold as 1work.

Products such as 1work have been born of a company need or process and generalized to appeal to a broad audience. Draugiem arrived at its marvelous office in reverse: Creatively retrofitting someone else’s architecture with elements that meet the company’s practical needs and express its designers’ visual sensibilities. The result: respectful transformation.

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Go visit Draugiem’s Dribbblers: Gustavs Cirulis, Alvis Rozenbergs and Artūrs Vanags.

Thank you for your help: Julia Gifford, content marketing specialist, Draugiem Group. Draugiem also has an office in Burbank, California, USA.

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Spaced features interesting Dribbbler office spaces. Does your space fit the bill? E-mail susanna@dribbble.com to be considered for a future article.

Maestro

401 East Michigan, Suite 202 Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

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Photo: Miller-Davis

Jennifer Randall received the one thing she wanted for Christmas 2011: Planet Maestro.

Randall is co-founder and president of Maestro, which develops apps; creates training programs; and offers strategic consulting services to clients as diverse as Facebook, Dannon, Twitter, Johnson & Johnson and Netflix. The company’s 29 employees (AKA Maestronauts), 7 of them Dribbblers, affectionately call their office Planet Maestro.

From the start of Randall’s 2011 search for a bigger office for her growing crew, she was drawn to the heart of Kalamazoo, Michigan. “I felt the energy and excitement of … this cute little historic town that has a lot of things going on,” Randall told Dribbble. “I felt that our youthful team would really benefit.”

Her search took her to a cavernous space in a renovated, three-building block on East Michigan Avenue, hard by the train tracks on the edge of downtown. “It looked like a ballroom,” she said. The “ballroom” hadn’t attracted tenants, perhaps scared off by too much possibility and too little structure. Where others saw nothing, Randall saw Maestro.

“I fell in love immediately,” she said. “This is where our company needs to be.”

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Photo: Miller-Davis

Only five years previous, Maestro’s block comprised two neglected buildings, dating from the late 19th/early 20th century. They had housed everything from a grocer to a boarding house and witnessed the birth of the Stryker medical device company, still headquartered in Kalamazoo. After an $11 million renovation in 2007, the block’s duo became a trio with the addition of a 1930s-influenced building with an aluminum façade. The result garnered attention from up-and-comers such as chef Julie Stanley and her popular eatery Food Dance, and entrepreneur Jennifer Randall and Maestro.

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Photo: Miller-Davis

At the time Randall was looking for Maestro space, the company was shifting identities, from an elearning-focused company to its current iteration. Randall wanted the physical space to embody the company’s new core values. Collaboration sat at the heart of Maestro’s redefinition and guided Randall in transforming the “ballroom” into an “extension of who we are.”

Explaining the process she and caterer-turned-office-admin Annette Pikaart took to designing, Randall said, “I didn’t want to overcomplicate it. I didn’t want to destroy how gorgeous it was all by itself. I had been to Facebook’s East and West coast offices and felt like everything we were doing was similar to the types of things they were doing.” And so Maestro features a centerpiece kitchen, a cooperative space for chowing and chatting, as well as an open, conversation-friendly layout: no cubes, glass internal walls.

“The company is built on collaboration,” said Zach DeYoung, Maestro creative director. “We’ve always had this sense that none of us is as good as all of us. This space being open really makes people accessible. It also mimics our company structures. … We try to keep it as flat as possible. We try to reflect that with the space.”

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Photo: Maestro

The morphing company’s focus on collaboration might explain its success with new team-friendly apps such as Rally. The software grew out of Maestro’s event work with big corporations, and helps individual conference attendees connect with one another and with information from speakers and conference organizers. Current Maestro efforts include custom development for existing clients, new builds such as Rally, ongoing work with Facebook, and a role-playing app tailored for sales teams.

As Randall envisioned, Planet Maestro is about more than work. In the names of community service and team building, Maestro partnered with local nonprofits to provide local children with bikes built by Maestro staff. Another team-building activity featured chair Olympics, in which staffers raced around the office in desk chairs. (DeYoung took the gold.)

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Photo: Maestro

Randall has opened the offices for a Dribbble meetup, Kzoo Hack, regular CocoaHeads meetups, and Pitch Zoo, a monthly competition affiliated with Western Michigan University. Additionally, Randall has invited the staff’s personal lives into the office, which has hosted two baby showers, one bridal shower, a high school graduation party, and Randall’s 35-person Thanksgiving dinner.

“I wanted it to be fun, I wanted it to be hip,” she said. “People come to our office and they go crazy over this space they didn’t know was in downtown Kalamazoo. It’s a separate entity. It’s a personality at Maestro.”

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Photo: Maestro

*Go visit Maestro’s Dribbblers: Zach De Young, Doug Eklund, John Furrow, Adam Girton, Amy O’Donnell, Andy Peninger, and Pete Rix

Thank you for your help: Zach De Young, creative director, Maestro; Sharon Ferraro, historic preservation officer, City of Kalamazoo; Nicole Marques, business development manager, Miller-Davis; Jennifer Randall, president, Maestro; Beth Timmerman, local history specialist, Kalamazoo Public Library

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Dribbble HQ

Spaced is a brand new series where we’ll be featuring interesting Dribbbler office spaces. Your space fit the bill? Email susanna@dribbble.com to be considered for a future article. As Susanna is based in Salem, and not wherever your cool space is, she’ll need some research leads if you want to be considered.

Dribbble
Pickman Building
22-26 Front Street
Salem, Massachusetts, USA

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The early-19th-century Pickman Building sits along Front Street in Salem’s historic Derby Square. Once a spot where unruly Colonists went to the stocks for timeout, the square is now home to Salem’s bustling Farmers’ Market and summertime jazz concerts. The building boasts a number of Federal-style components: Flemish-bond brickwork, arched windows and doorways, a gable-end fanlight, and a basketball.

Wait, what?

In the corner of the fanlight, inasmuch as a fan-shaped window can have a corner, is a basketball. Not a medicine ball, or whatever the hell Ye Olde Celtics used to sling before Spalding. A basketball. More than the nameplate in the nondescript mini-lobby, this detail marks the building Dribbble’s home.

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Dribbble occupies portions of the Pickman’s second and third floors. The upstairs, heart of Dribbble HQ, meets the requirements of a 21st-century web startup: cool visuals, brew-stocked fridge, IKEA furniture, Ping-Pong court/conference table, wide-screen TV, skylights illuminating three desks in various states of disarray, over-the-door basketball hoop, and, directly above Community Manager Samuel Fine's desk, a handsome, gable-end, Federal-style fanlight.

An upstairs eating nook and lounge looks over the downstairs, which features the aforementioned arched windows, a seating area, a quiet and lovely corner fireplace, and Dribbble’s order-fulfillment department, whose bagged t-shirts and logo-stamped swag creep along two walls. The overlook inflates the sense of space both up and down. It also provides Dribbble minor leaguers Jack Cederholm and Wes Thornett, both 7, opportunities for multi-level, historic-window-threatening dodgeball.

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Before Dribbble moved in, the office had a fantastical, impractical, winding iron staircase. Dan and Rich admired it on multiple visits to the space. Or the one time they toured the space. Because they needed a new office. Or they didn’t want a new office but liked the space. Or knew a guy. Or, you know, forget the narrative, here’s what they said:

Dan: We were running out of space.

Rich: Not really. We walked over here and we loved it. Why did we come over?

Dan: I think the guy down the hall told us about it. Did we just walk over?

Rich: I feel like we had a tour.

Dan: The first floor had a big glass wall dividing off a conference space.

Rich: It did?

Whatever the origin story, they loved the space. The landlord wanted them installed in the office, which had become an albatross in a building full of more traditional square footage. After some months spent ogling from The Old Office across the street, the guys signed on and move to 16 Front Street.

Sadly, the landlord demolished the helix-icious staircase to create a more functional, if slightly less funky, office. No matter, Dribbble has made much use of all of the space, inviting in a new resident employee (Sam) and visiting remote employee (Tristan), hosting two Dribbble meet-ups, family movie nights (Hotel Transylvania, popcorn, Tenley Cederholm and Annalise Thornett smushed and giggling on a giant pink beanbag), Ping-Pong battles, a National Poetry Month meet-up, and a round of Dungeons and Dragons.

(Wizard Franklin Turbosteel and halfing Gresql would turn pinker than their logo if this writer shared their role-playing exploits, so she won’t. She will note that, before he ODed on geek, Gresql told her his halfling name comes from PostgreSQL, the popular open-source database on which Dribbble runs. Swilling from a thick stein of nerd, Mr. Turbosteel added that, when times get desperate in the ancient wood, the team throws Gresql, transforming him from fellow traveler to weaponry.)

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A regional office of South Carolina’s History Press occupied the cavernous space before Dribbble; the entire second and third floors have been devoted to office space since the 1970s when a local architect renovated the entire block.

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Photo: Bill Conti

Before the 1970s … mystery.

In a town you can’t walk around without tripping on fragments of history; in a city that markets itself as bowl full of the past, the lack of knowledge is notable but not worth dwelling on except to list the parties who knew nothing: the Salem Redevelopment Authority, the local historian, the historic preservation society, the research librarians and their history books. All were exceedingly helpful, interested, and flummoxed. The most informative subject proved Salem architect David Hart.

"In the early 70’s I toured the upper buildings on Front Street … . I recall that the space was empty at that time. I recall that it did not look finished. I also recall that [another architect] remarked, ‘let us carefully and quietly leave this space as the structural system is in terrible shape and the roof and floor is totally inadequately supported.’ So indeed it could have been storage space."

The storage speculation fits neatly with the street’s history. While Dribbble’s building currently faces a yarn shop and a women’s boutique, Front Street once faced the water. Known commonly as Wharf Street and sometimes Water Street, the thoroughfare fronted the South River. Traders in ships pulled up to Front Street like so many Colonial cabbies, dumping their wares for storage in one of the several warehouses that lined the street.

From “Salem in the Eighteenth Century”:

Hogsheads of molasses, casks of indigo, barrels of sugar, and casks of rum and wine would be seen moving from ships to warehouses already piled with bales of English goods lately received, or barrels of salted beef and piles of dry salt codfish ready to ship. Cargoes were coming ashore to the noise of hand-turned windlasses and capstans, while lumber and barrel staves, hickory barrel hoops, firkins, buckets, and all sorts of woodenware went aboard. Cheese, barrels of pork and beef, and boxes of Yankee notions helped in a small way to make up the cargoes.

Pixels got nothing on a boatload of firkins.

Once the South River became Salem via one of several landfill projects expanding Salem’s land mass, Front Street became a street proper and the Pickman Building joined the bustle. A string of businesses moved in and out of building’s first floor: tobbacconists, lunch counters, liquor stores, billiard parlors, grocers and purveyors of everything from poultry supplies to bananas. Salem Hardware occupied a chunk of the first floor for much of the mid-20th century.

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Photo: Bill Conti

After the building’s renovation in the 1970s, the ground floor remained retail. Currently, Dan, Rich and Sam sit above a candy store, a clothing store, and a coffee shop. They share the second and third floors with respectable professional types such as lawyers and accountants, who tolerate their shenanigans, perhaps out of fear of flying halflings.

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While Dribbble’s geographical forefather’s might cry “witchcraft” at the sight of a laptop, they might well feel a kinship to Dribbble’s mission: finding, housing, and sharing items of value. In the 21st century, the products are born not of physical labor but creative endeavor, and the wares are stored in ether.

 

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