Forget stuffy cubicles and fluorescent lighting—how are designers and artists supposed to produce clever creations in cookie cutter spaces? Here’s a hint: They’re not. At least that seems to be the belief of Seattle-based design firm Smashing Ideas. With floor-to-ceiling windows and an incredible view of Puget Sound, the firm has done everything they can to ensure the health and happiness of their team.
Chad Otis, executive creative director of Smashing Ideas, says the space was designed to “foster collaboration, ideation and outside-of-the-box thinking.” These powerful words come to life as part of a 50-ft mural located near the firm’s in-house pub. Yes, you read that right—Smashing Ideas has a Pub in their office where “you’ll often find employees discussing the latest development build while playing ring toss … ping pong, or even partaking in a very serious round of beer pong.”
The aforementioned mural, designed by Chad Otis and executed by local artist Don Rockwell, “incorporate[s] a playful element into the space,” by “[telling] Smashing’s story of taking things from fantasy to reality … ” The firm’s mythically named meeting spaces only add to the fantastical allure: “‘I’ll meet you in Sassie’ is a phrase you’ll find yourself hearing more often than not,” says Otis, explaining, “Sassie is, of course, short for Sasquatch.” If you’re not hanging out in Sassie, you might find yourself in Kraken, Unicorn, Ogopogo or even Jackalope.
The office isn’t full of fun for no reason, Otis explains. “Having a space that employees are proud of is paramount to the happiness and long-term retention of our staff,” and with a track record like theirs (having produced work for Toys’R’Us, Nickelodeon, Gannett and many others), it’s no surprise the firm believes so deeply in the “power of play.” In an office that stretches 1/12 of a mile, it’s not uncommon to see coworkers whizzing by on scooters, or even holding “scooter meetings” as they do laps around the office.
“[O]ur space was designed to inspire a wide-variety of personality types and skillsets. You won’t find a cube-farm or an endless array of filing cabinets and water coolers that can separate employees,” says Otis, who believes their firm meets almost any employee’s needs—“from heads-down introverts to scene-stealing extroverts.”
With bike racks, locker rooms, freestanding desks, a fully stocked kitchen and plenty of healthy snacks and drinks, the firm has really turned their creative space into a home away from home. The hope is that the beautifully unique and functional workspace will inspire “the best and brightest in the industry” to join their team and stick around.
Hey Smashing, got any open positions? I have my own scooter! Her name is Nessie! You know, like Loch Ness?
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