Six Cool New Offices
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What would the dream office include? Foosball tables? Copious amounts of craft beer? A climbing wall? Several Baltimore companies have figured out that coming to work is more fun if you have fun amenities instead of a sea of gray cubicles and fluorescent lighting. Designing a unique space helps spark creativity, retain workers and make a good impression on visiting clients, company execs say. Here’s a look at six smaller firms that have moved into cool offices within the last year.
1. Mindgrub Technologies
Company: Mindgrub Technologies
Number of employees: 55
Office size: 20k SF
Cool features: Ping pong table, climbing wall, game room and café
Mindgrub Technologies debuted its new Baltimore office in April with an office warming party featuring a DJ, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake, and party guests making good use of its climbing wall and ping pong table. The web development and design company moved from Catonsville to the former Phillips headquarters in Locust Point. The office also houses a café with two Keurig machines, a stocked Red Bull cooler and a beer fridge for after hours.
2. Hack|Stone Film Group
Company: Hack|Stone Film Group
Number of employees: 5
Office size: 1k SF
Cool features: Rolling barn doors that open into the video editing suite and exposed light bulbs in the “brain lounge.”
Hack|Stone Film Group’s video editing suite also includes a giant dry erase board flanked by theater curtains and Otto—a puppet the video production firm made for recycling videos on behalf of Anne Arundel County. Several leather sofas and lounge chairs give the place a relaxed vibe and make it feel less “cubicle-y,” owner Daniel Hack says. The goal in designing the Power Plant Live office, which debuted in May, was to re-create the energy of downtown Baltimore. “When clients come to visit you it’s a place they want to be,” Daniel says. Clients include Toyota, Papa John’s and Under Armour.
Number of employees: 80 in Baltimore office
Size: 20k SF
Cool features: Craft beer, foosball tables and gourmet coffee bar
Many shared office spaces house a common copy machine and receptionist. The Cordish Co will take the collaborative workspace to a new level when it debuts Spark in the Bernstein Building at Power Plant Live in October. Spark will include a lounge and kitchen, foosball and shufflepuck tables, and a giant flat-screen TV, says Spark general manager Beth Workman. The space is a mixture of co-working desks, private offices and office suites. Cordish has signed up web development and software development firm Fearless Solutions, which is taking up 1k SF.
Number of employees: 80 in Baltimore
Office size: 15k SF
Cool features: Open spaces with standing desks and industrial design with exposed duct work and large columns painted OrderUp red
OrderUp expanded its footprint fourfold in January when it moved into the former Millennial Media space in the Can Company in Canton. The office features a loft space for brainstorming and the occasional cornhole game and a refrigerated keg (kegerator) when coffee isn’t enough to get the creative juices flowing. The online food delivery company gets some of its own office food delivered: fruit on Mondays and Kinderhook Snacks on Fridays.
5. Key Tech Inc
Number of employees: 35
Office size: 11k SF
Cool features: Roof deck, open floor plan and multiple lounge areas
Product development company KeyTech expanded its Federal Hill office in April. Located in the former McHenry Theatre, the office contains many features from the original theater, which dates to 1917. These include the theater stage and floor-to-ceiling Roman columns. It also features a theater dome with LED lights that change colors.
6. KAO USA Inc
Company: KAO USA Inc
Number of employees: 55 in Baltimore
Office size: 15k SF
Cool features: A wall that is lined with pics and info about each employee; the company’s taglines are also featured on the wall in raised letters.
As a professional hair care company, KAO USA wants its downtown Baltimore office at One Charles Center to match the style of the products that it sells. Walls are painted in bright colors to reflect its line of professional hair coloring products. There’s also a mock salon where employees can test products on mannequin heads.