Visitors get to know Sandbox Industries the second they walk through the door. And when you are greeted by a metal rhino, the message is clear. This is not the typical office.
At Sandbox, part of the business is to build startups, which involves bringing people together to generate ideas, driving a culture of teamwork and creativity. And because the office space makes the culture tangible, taking down walls, both literal and figurative, is key at the company’s three-floor West Loop office.
The second floor, home to most employees’ desks, is reminiscent of a vintage family room, with old hardwood floors, broken-in couches and slightly frayed rugs – comfortable enough to feel safe, yet edgy enough to take risks. The first floor houses conference rooms, meeting areas, and an open kitchen where employees gather for lunch, sometimes over two dozen at a time.
From rotating artwork and sculptures to having employees move around to different seats every few months, change is constant. There is logic to the chaos: in addition to fostering the family environment, sitting with people from different backgrounds sparks ideas which can become viable business ideas and investments for Sandbox.
Chalkboards are everywhere and fill-in-the-blank questions get passionate responses (a meticulously drawn Breaking Bad logo was one employee’s recent answer to “What is your favorite TV show”). Signs encourage employees to “work like a captain, play like a pirate,” “stay hungry/stay foolish,” “make it simple but significant,” and “do what you love and the rest will follow.”
It’s all part of the culture of Sandbox – taking risks to create, invest and explore.
Says Max Eisenberg, VP/General Counsel: being at Sandbox is “truly freedom to be yourself – in every way.”