Starcom Makes Space for Ideas in Chicago

The new Starcom office in Chicago was among the most compelling submissions for our 2014 Work Design NOW series, sponsored by Haworth. The top three — announced here — will be profiled in depth in the coming months, but we also want to show off the finalists in short project profiles like the one that follows. Stay tuned for more!

All photos courtesy of Padgett and Company.
All photos courtesy of Padgett and Company.

The media company Starcom recently finished a 125,660 square foot revamp of their offices in Chicago, Ill. The renovation, completed in March of 2014 with architecture and design firm NELSON, emphasized Starcom’s evolving culture. Starcom, already a leading media agency, is now focused on becoming a space for ideas and making human experience a top priority.

Together, NELSON and Starcom created a space that fosters creativity and reflects the changing nature of Starcom’s approach to advertising. Creative thinking also became a key element of the renovation, as Starcom’s rebranding and the addition of another branch of the company partway through the project necessitated an innovative reworking of the original design plans.

According to Theresa Williams, a design director at NELSON, “Starcom wanted their existing location to better reflect their vision and evolving culture.” Williams and her team incorporated the agency’s brand throughout the renovated spaces in both the color scheme and the open nature of the floor plan.

Starcom emphasizes the human experience not only in the work they do, but in their new office. The space makes it possible for employees to meet and work in a variety of ways, including individual conference rooms, large community lounges for more informal meetings, individual desks, and long benches. Williams said that these features support Starcom’s creative strategy process.

The newly renovated office includes furnishings from Herman Miller and Coalesse, and fosters a creative environment for employees through the addition of an “energy room”. This room exists for employees to find inspiration, play games, talk, eat, or just meet with each other. Starcom’s dedication to innovative ideas starts with its employees.

All photos courtesy of Padgett and Company.
All photos courtesy of Padgett and Company.

Additionally, NELSON incorporated Starcom’s brand logo and color scheme wherever possible throughout the renovation. The logo is featured prominently in the office space, including on video screens and in a burst of color behind the reception desk. NELSON was also able to salvage the existing office wall and dress it up through graphics and color to match the Starcom brand. When rebranding occurred partway through the renovation, NELSON responded creatively to this problem by “rework[ing] colors/materials and graphics to their new Pantone colors for the remainder of the floors to be built,” said NELSON Senior Marketing Coordinator Bob Snyder. This adjustment seamlessly incorporated the old with the new.

All photos courtesy of Padgett and Company.
All photos courtesy of Padgett and Company.

NELSON and Starcom also had to respond resourcefully when another brand was permanently moved into the office space. As Starcom’s needs changed, some original design elements were revised and an entire floor was re-planned in the midst of the construction process; these changes ultimately accommodated more employees and combined the visions of both brands.

Starcom’s new office was designed with an eye to the future, in keeping with their forward-thinking approach to business. This renovation gave Starcom a physical space consistent with their mission. Said Williams, “NELSON transformed Starcom’s space into one that showcases the agency’s brand and their thoughtful approach to creating human experiences.”

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