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Culture & History In Our Chicago Office

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LBB invited Partner/Editor Matthew Wood to chat about the culture, history, and architecture behind our Chicago office as part of their Chicago highlight series. Check it out here on LBB and read the full piece below!

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When did you move into your current office and where is it located in the city?

We’ve been in this building in River North since 1995.  We’ve since renovated and a lot has changed in the neighbourhood since then as well.  It used to be pretty seedy at night, but nice restaurants have replaced most of the porn shops.

Approximately, how many people work at your office?

There are about 60 people in our Chicago office.

What features does your place of work have that makes it unique? I’ve seen photos of sleek modern design and chillout areas in the Chicago office?

Our space is really unique, mainly because it is a modern office set in a historic landmarked courthouse building that was built in 1893.  The building has hosted several legendary trials and Al Capone was questioned here.

Juxtaposing the historic architecture in the public spaces, our office has a light and airy feel to it.  Our floor is double story, so we have very high ceilings and light floors which keeps things bright and helps to combat the long, grey Chicago winters.  We’ve also incorporated pops of colour and a healthy dose of vintage mid-century furniture (much of it manufactured here in the Midwest).  The thing we’re probably best known for is our wall of awkward portraits. 

Who designed it?

We worked with our architect Bruce Bolander, he also designed our spaces in New York and Los Angeles.

Do you have any special monthly events for staff or any onsite leisure facilities people may not know about?

We’re lucky to have the space for several leisure activities including a pool table, table tennis, foosball and PlayStation.  We often have client events, right now we’re doing Friday summer cocktails.

Are there any local spaces like parks or useful shopping areas that are well used by your staff?

Because we’re in the heart of River North, we’re in a really great spot for restaurants. There’s great food in every direction.  We’re also a short walk from the Chicago river, where there are lots of great places to grab a drink and sit by the water. For shopping, we’re a fast walk to Michigan Avenue, also known as the Magnificent Mile-a shoppers paradise.

Do you have any memorable stories about your workplace?

As I mentioned before, this is a historic courthouse building with a bit of a storied past.  There’s a story I’ll spare you about a sausage maker and his missing wife.  In addition to the many murder trials that took place here, a few people were actually executed by hanging on the premises.

There have been a number of ghost sightings reported, particularly from editors working alone late at night.

Does the building reflect your work culture of people, purpose, participation and prosperity?

Our space definitely stimulates creativity.  It’s a pleasure to work in this building. It’s inviting and our clients feel it. We also share the space with our sister production company Cap Gun and Visual Effects company Carbon, which adds to the feeling of creativity and collaboration. 

Any recent events that took place at your office?

Our office is laid out well for events and Chicago loves a good theme party. In recent years we’ve had a Kentucky Derby party, a Sweet Sixteen, and a Tiki event.  We also had clients ask to get married here; their wedding was beautiful!