Creed Interactive Office Tour
Update: We are proud to announce that our office space took first place on Commercial Office Design at the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Gala in December 2017. One of our designers, Lisa Antenucci, from Shelter Architecture, also received the Best Project by an Emerging Talent for her leadership and design on our space! Just another reason we are proud to call this office our home!
In light of our feature in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business ‘Cool Offices’, we’d like to share a deeper look at the creation of the space.
It has already been a year since we celebrated our ribbon-cutting ceremony with Mayor Chris Coleman at our 5,000 square foot office in Lowertown, and yet the appeal of the space is still as strong as ever. Our move brought us from a small, rented space to our newly purchased office in an old historic building only one block away. Our new headquarters enables us to scale up to a whole new level by providing significant room for our team of 20 to expand. We fell in love with the old Market House building—a turn-of-the-century historic property—so an essential goal of our renovation was to create an environment that retained the character and integrity of the building but with a modern feel you’d expect from a tech company. Besides open-plan personal work areas, the new Creed office boasts plenty of space for client meetings, collaboration, creative thinking, and even a cafe and recreation area (stop by for a game of ping pong!). Shelter, the architect on the project, worked closely with our President, Jonathan Anderstrom, and his wife and Co-Founder, Stacy, whose vision for this project was the guiding force of the new buildout.
This is an interview with Stacy about the nitty gritty design details and thoughts that went into transforming this century old space into a fast-paced interactive shop.
What was the main goal when moving the Creed team into the new space?
Stacy: Do I have to pick only one?! We are a growing company and the short term goal was MORE space but we needed to look beyond short term. Our main objective was creating a space where our employees felt they were being well taken care of, giving them ample areas for productivity and creative collaboration. We also wanted to have a great environment for client meetings. Our digital solutions have a clean and fresh design, and it was important to us that the same aesthetic that is displayed on the web was translated into the space where we work.
Why Saint Paul?
Stacy: We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary at Creed this year! For all 10 years we have been in the Lowertown part of Saint Paul. When it came time to look, we poked around a bit in Minneapolis and surrounding areas, but nothing had the charm that we have grown to love so much about Lowertown. To our benefit, others have felt the same and we are privileged to look out our front window to the Saints baseball stadium directly across the street. Also close by is the Farmers Market, Train Depot, and some of the best and newest Saint Paul eateries.
What was the biggest “uh oh” moment when renovating the space?
Stacy: Yep, I had one of those. We have an exposed limestone wall in our lower level and we wanted to take off part of the sheetrock on our main level to expose more of it. A few days before demoing the wall our contractor saw through a small hole in the sheetrock a brick combination with something else we couldn’t quite make out. We knew there was a chance of something different than we initially thought, but decided to go for it. Demo day came and a photo was sent to me…I cried! And it was not tears of joy. There was tar covered brick with century old plaster covering three-fourths of it, and to top it all off graffiti was written across the wall. Looked straight out of a haunted house. Shelter Architecture and I quickly got to work on brainstorming how we could turn this surprise into a statement. We knew we couldn’t remove all the plaster because the brick was in rough shape, which could have created even more problems with heating and cooling. So the majority of the plaster needed to stay. We had our contractor, Bauer Design Build, take a chisel to create an organic edge to the plaster and they used a crystallized sandblasting technique to clean the tar off the brick. The final result is a one-of-a-kind feature wall that we think turned out beautifully! It looks as if the wall has taken years to age gracefully. This is one of those uh oh moments that ended better than we could have originally thought up… whew!
How did you incorporate the Creed branding into the new space?
Stacy: Two members of Creed’s creative team, Bill Gunter and Jayna Sinn, are the masterminds behind our branding. We worked closely together as a unit to make sure the interior design elements didn’t compete with the branding elements. Our goal was to create a consistent flow throughout the space, keeping things clean and intentional was something we worked hard at. One of my favorite features that Bill and Jayna came up with was displaying icons inside the window frame of the street facing window. Each icon represents interests and individual representations of what different members on the team do for work or fun. We turned this window area into another working space, extending the bottom window frame into a table top which looks to be hung by thick cotton rope to add more interest. Along the long wall by our desk area we have some of our “Creedologies” displayed, it’s a fun way to describe our values as a company. Also, we named each of our four conference rooms by our four core values: Excellence, All In, Resourceful and Serving.
What is your favorite item in the space that you purchased?
Stacy: Hands down our chandelier above our stand up table, it has a huge 5 ft diameter dome with gold gilding on the inside. We purchased it from Budapest, Hungary. It took two tries to make it over, the first fixture was smashed by the shipping company. This has been a long awaited purchase, but so glad we stuck it out and waited for it to arrive. After it was hung, I thought, “Yes, that was the missing piece!”
How did you keep the space feeling open while having to incorporate so many different designated areas for working?
Stacy: Glass walls! We loved the idea, but putting up glass walls everywhere was not in the budget. So we needed to think more creatively. Our ceilings are 14ft high, to cut down cost significantly we had the glass walls extend 8 ft high and incorporated the storefront metal frames which also dropped costs. In our Excellence Room we added a drop down wood ceiling for privacy. In our other rooms we had sheetrock extend from the glass to the ceiling.
Tell me more about the wall when you first walk in, it’s very unique?
Stacy: I love how this turned out so much! I wanted this wall to look like an art piece. There were two things I knew I wanted the entry wall to include: the Creed logo and a round window looking into the conference room behind the wall. I asked Lisa Antenucci, from Shelter, who has a background in art installations and sculpture, to brainstorm what this could look like. She nailed it! Using our “All In” branding, she designed a wall with acrylic arrows going every which way and eventually all the arrows come together as you look inside the round window into the conference room. On the back wall of the conference room there are 4 large arrows that come together perfectly. It’s a understated way to communicate our brand message.
Turn of the century space meets modern – how does that work?
Stacy: It’s all about juxtaposition. I love when two completely different design aesthetics come together. They balance one another out and create a much more interesting environment. An example: we found century old beams in the lower level that were left over from the building, and I wanted to incorporate them somewhere in the space. Branton Smith, Bauer Design Build Project Manager, was up for the challenge. He built coffee tables and surfaced the fronts of the kitchen island and the entry reception table out of the aged wood. After white washing the wood (because the wood tones were uneven) and pairing it with the sleek white table tops, those areas became much more interesting and unique.
Anything you would change?
Stacy: Nope, except maybe a fireplace along the limestone wall in the lower level, but that could be because of our long Minnesota winters!
Sources for furnishings, will you tell us?
Stacy: Sure, happy to!
All desks, extra large white stand up table (custom made) desk chairs, blue stools (color matched to Creed blue), gold chairs by front window – Rypen
Navy entry chairs, lower level sling chairs, main conference room chairs, kitchen tables – Blu Dot *note: check out the Blu Dot outlet in Minneapolis, so good!
Round coffee table, pillows on booth, sectional sofa, gold kitchen stools, desk file cabinets – CB2
Kitchen chairs (from their outdoor collection), light fixture against limestone wall – Crate and Barrel
Wood slab table in conference room – Arhaus
Sconces above booth, lower level sofa – West Elm
Rugs – FLOR
Chandelier – Adam Lamp
Kitchen island chandelier – Lightworks (custom made)
Ping Pong table – Amazon
Architect: Shelter Architecture
Contractor: Bauer Design Build
Photography: Brandon Stengel of Farm Kid Studios