Walking into the main lobby of 35 W. Wacker feels just like you would expect of a loop highrise lobby: a cavernous expanse of marble, soaring ceilings, and tall windows. But take the elevator to the 21st floor and you enter a different world. Spotlights hang off the exposed ductwork, painted black to draw the eye toward a huge mural showcasing a bizarre and colorful version of Chicago, above which are the words “Welcome to a HumanKind agency.” On the wall behind the reception hangs an enormous pair of horn-rimmed glasses, the signature spectacles worn by Leo Burnett.
The headquarters of one of the world’s largest agencies only gets more surreal from there, from enormous cupcakes sitting on cubes to an elaborately framed painting of “Tubby” the cat leaning against a column. Paraphernalia from the agency’s accounts is strewn about the two main creative floors, with the personality of each team on display for all to see.
But the space has a deeper meaning to employees. It’s about embracing “certain rooms, certain spaces where you know you had a great moment in moving an idea forward,” says Chris Clark, Director of Music.
The space also helps bring employees together, which is critical. “You can’t change the world alone,” says Susan Credle, Chief Creative Officer. Open spaces abound and offices are in short supply and even for those with offices, Credle included, the doors are never locked.
“We’re never done; everything evolves,” says Credle. “And to have someone come in and say that we’ve set this place – it will never happen.”
That’s really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Constant evolution and great moments that help bring ideas to life. And a space that can help that process? That’s one hell of a head start.