Recently, we read this awesome post by Hubspot on the creative office environments around the globe. Then we thought, "Hey, we have a creative office too and people should know about it."
We're a marketing agency, but we feel like we're more than that. We're in the business of "creating"... of solving problems... of making something out of an idea that never existed before. Our space reflects that.
Originally the home of a local Akron beer distributorship founded in 1948 — Tramonte Distributing — our 15,000 square foot building serves as both the creative space where ideas are conceived and content studio where we bring them to life. So read on to learn a little more about us, our history, and the space where we turn inspiration into content.
Our City is in Our Roots
ATA is based in Akron, OH, and that fact is rooted in the history of our building. Since our space used to be a beer distributorship, and we retained a lot of the industrial, converted factory feel that gives the building unique character and capabilities. For instance, we keep our network servers in what used to be the cooler to take advantage of the temperature control.
Just over the hill from our building sat the Akron Brewing Company. Before that building was taken down in 2015, we struck up a relationship with the owners and they allowed us to salvage many treasures that we would repurpose for our space. From what we know (none of us were around back then), when the brewery rivalry was at its peak in Akron, competing breweries would attempt to burn each other's buildings down. Not the friendliest of marketplaces, we'll admit. As a result, almost everything in the brewery was made of metal, except for the wooden floor. So took pieces of those wooden floors and up-cycled them into our enormous 9' x 25' conference room table, and then we built a room around it.
Industry Meets Nature
Our enormous conference table isn't the only wood accent in our office. In fact, our idea was to use wooden pieces to soften the industrial feel of the warehouse-like space. Affectionately referred to as "The Superdesks", our workspaces are all made from wooden door blanks fastened together with 6" wing nuts. So, our desks are as big and sturdy as we need, but we also have the option to change and rearrange our setup should we decide we need to. Not only does our office reflect our creative mindset, but it can change its style as we change ours.
When we salvaged pieces and parts from the Akron Brewing Company, we brought some metal back with us too. For one thing, we used the brewery's steel windows to build walls to set off our principals' offices—a nice compromise between privacy and accessibility, we like to think. Our own Anthony up-cycled some more of that steel into heavy-duty tanker desks. What we're trying to say is that in designing this workplace, the overarching style intent depends on the way our wood accents soften the industrial steel that makes up a lot of the guts of our building. From desks to doors to desks made out of doors, the tone in our office is industrial that's been mellowed by earthier elements.
Bringing the Outdoors In
Our skylights aren't the only feature that lets us feel like we're getting some of the outdoors inside our space. While the glass-paned garage door in the lunchroom allows us to let some fresh air in on the few and far between sunny days in northeast Ohio, it's our content studio where we bring the most in from outside.
A couple of huge warehouse doors — which we also got from the brewery — divide our creative space and offices from our Content Studio. Back in the day, this doorway opened to a loading dock which allowed Tramonte to pack their product onto trains that ran along the train tracks right outside. Those tracks are still right down the hill from us, and though we occasionally have to halt a video shoot until a train goes by and the noise subsides, we're thankful that we could get these beautiful warehouse doors courtesy of the area's connection with the tracks.
What used to be a loading dock has become our content studio, and we've taken full advantage of the space we have at our disposal. The content studio is extremely versatile because of its size — approximately 10,000 sq. ft. of wide open, multi-leveled space with incredibly high ceilings and a huge garage door (which let's us pull in cars and trucks). This has allowed us to design and build several different video and photography sets for various clients and leave them up for as long as necessary. From an old-school garage to a yoga studio to a fashion runway, this space has us to create episodic content for our clients because they're not limited to a 1 or 2 day shoot. We've also built a 60' x 100' Cyclorama Wall which allows for everything from "green-screen" effects to seamless backgrounds for large scale photography and videography. Check out some of the sets we've built on our Content Studio Page.
The floors in our creative and office space are dyed concrete, which allows the garage feel to flow from the studio into our office space, but the bricks on our patio are perhaps our crowning indoor/outdoor touch. Just before you enter our office, you're walking on yet another bit of local history. The original road outside the Akron Brewery was built from those bricks sometime in the early 1900s. We salvaged those bricks into something new and inviting (and if you haven't noticed, that's kind of a theme around here).
A DIY Space for a DIY Agency
Almost everything in our office was crafted with our own touch and creative vision, and we think that's pretty cool. Not only does it make our space unique, but it gives us a feeling of true ownership over what we've created. And this is a natural extension of how we work with our clients — all of the services we offer are in-house... with the exception of printing (and the occassional voiceover), we don't outsource anything.
We love our space. We love that we get to come to work in a place that just inspires creativity and makes you feel like you're contributing to something that matters. We hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into our space... and we extend this invitation to stop by if you're in the neighborhood. Beer's on us!