Coolest Offices 2011

37signals

37signals: The company inhabits the space once used as a Crate & Barrel photography studio.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: The theater/meeting area that seats, you guessed it, 37 people.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: With 100,000 square feet, there is room for a sizable kitchen/dining area.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: The kitchen at 37signals is equipped with the kind of conveniences you would find in most office kitchens — plus a dishwasher.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: A composite of 14 images provides an almost 180-degree view of the kitchen/dining area.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: Despite the openness of the shared workspace, the office is very quiet.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: The 100,000-square-foot space includes a sizable open office area along one wall.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: Many of the walls at 37signals are covered with art-filled blackboards.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: Jason Fried, co-founder and president of 37signals, has the corner spot in the shared workspace.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: The main conference room is designed to allow for generous amounts of natural light to enter and has a blackboard that covers the entire length of one wall.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

37signals

37signals: The blackboard in the main conference room.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE: Unique outdoor spaces, each with a fountain and enclosed by 10-foot glass walls, are the focal point of the office.

PHOTO CREDIT: James Steinkamp

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE: A bright red reception desk, designed by the firm, greets visitors to the headquarters at 111 W. Monroe St.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE: Architects build intricate and detailed models of buildings the firm builds worldwide in the high-tech model shop. The space for the model shop was one of the reasons Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill picked the 23-story high-rise, which is the east addition to the Harris Bank Building at 111 W. Monroe St.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE: Brendan Gibbons, director of prototype development, builds a model of a building scheduled for development in Asia in the firm’s high-tech model shop. The shop space was one of the reasons Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill picked the 23-story high-rise, which is the east addition to the Harris Bank Building at 111 W. Monroe St.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE

ADRIAN SMITH & GORDON GILL ARCHITECTURE: The partners work in glass-walled offices that offer a view of downtown Chicago from their 23rd-floor office at 111 W. Monroe St.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

GROUPON

GROUPON: The headquarters space of Groupon Inc. at 600 W. Chicago Ave. was once the Montgomery Ward & Co. catalog house. The building, which flows along the Chicago River, now boasts many high-tech tenants.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

GROUPON

GROUPON: The lobby of Groupon, 600 W. Chicago Ave., is dominated by a giant video wall reminding visitors just where they are.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

GROUPON

GROUPON: A space known as Michael’s Room, in the middle of Groupon’s office at 600 W. Chicago Ave., is essentially a model of a teenager’s bedroom and serves as an inside joke for Groupon staffers. The room changes periodically with the input of staffers.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

GROUPON

GROUPON: Each conference room in Groupon's headquarters, 600 W. Chicago Ave., is designated by a clever title.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

GROUPON

GROUPON: Open seating for meetings plays into the informal feel of the fast-growing online coupon company’s space at 600 W. Chicago Ave.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

PANDUIT CORP

PANDUIT CORP: The lobby of Panduit Corp.’s Tinley Park office offers vibrant views and ample natural light. Panduit wanted to create an office that would help the suburban technology firm keep talent from fleeing to Chicago or Silicon Valley.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

PANDUIT CORP

PANDUIT CORP: The lobby of Panduit Corp.’s Tinley Park office offers vibrant views and ample natural light. Panduit wanted to create an office that would help the suburban technology firm keep talent from fleeing to Chicago or Silicon Valley.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

PANDUIT CORP

PANDUIT CORP: The 280,000-square-foot building is surrounded by an open field of native grass and wildflowers.

PHOTO CREDIT: James Steinkamp

PANDUIT CORP

The Tinley Park headquarters of Panduit Corp. offers a 200-seat cafeteria with floor-to-ceiling windows. In addition, Panduit employs a dietitian who helps select healthy options for the firm's daily menu.

PHOTO CREDIT: Erik Unger

PANDUIT CORP

PANDUIT CORP: Reflective pools surround one side of Panduit’s 280,000-square-foot building.

PHOTO CREDIT: James Steinkamp

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS: A panoramic view of the main trading floor at Peak6, which occupies the former main trading floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS: The space includes a circular conference room overlooking the trading floor.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS: A panoramic view from inside the circular conference room at Peak6.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS: Owners Matthew Hulsizer and Jenny Just have expressed their love for art, and hockey, with various pieces found in the Peak6 space, including a sculpture of hockey coach Herb Brooks by artist Scott Fife.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS: Queen Elizabeth I by artist Scott Fife, 2005.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS: In the foreground, a sculpture titled "Lying Man" by Sean Henry, 1999, overlooks the trading floor.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS

PEAK6 INVESTMENTS: The office artwork includes "Self Portrait," a limited-edition silkscreen by artist Chuck Close.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

SCHOPF & WEISS

SCHOPF & WEISS: The office of Schopf & Weiss looks more like that of an advertising or design firm than a law firm. Far from the stereotypical wood-paneled law firm space, clean lines and geometric patterns dominate this office.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

SCHOPF & WEISS

SCHOPF & WEISS: Tucked beneath the huge slanted glass roof is the law firm's main conference room.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

SCHOPF & WEISS

SCHOPF & WEISS: Smaller conference rooms line this corridor, which terminates with a view of the Civic Opera House office tower just across South Wacker Drive.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

SCHOPF & WEISS

SCHOPF & WEISS: Just off the main conference room is a bright, modern sitting area.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

SCHOPF & WEISS

SCHOPF & WEISS: Another unique feature of the Schopf & Weiss space is that offices are all 130 square feet to allow for flexibility and eliminate the perceived hierarchy of a larger “corner office.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

SCHOPF & WEISS

SCHOPF & WEISS: In keeping with the firm’s efforts to shake up law office design, visitors to the kitchen are met with bold green walls

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: Located at 4611 N. Lincoln Ave., the building enjoys a rich history, including being the home of the Krause Music Store in the 1920s as well as a funeral home. Adding to the uniqueness of the building: The facade was the last commissioned work by noted architect Louis Sullivan before he died.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN:

STUDIO V DESIGN: The rich, if not morbid, history includes the fact that the building's first owner committed suicide in the second-floor apartment. This is one of the reasons Studio V Design owners Peter Vukosavich and his wife, Pooja, had a cleansing ceremony performed when they purchased the building in 2005.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: The company moved into the space in 2007 after extensive remodeling, which included sealing up the casket elevator that was once used by the funeral home to move bodies from basement level, where they were embalmed, to the chapel on the first floor.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: The conference room is located in an unlikely part of the building: behind the huge storefront window. “It makes for nice breaks during meetings when pedestrians stop and look in to see what is happening,” owner Peter Vukosavich says. (A composite of two images.)

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: Work spaces are designed to allow light to travel from one end of the floor to the other while maintaining separation between workers.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: The building has received several awards, including the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Restoration in 2006. The actual award is a model of the trading room of the old Chicago Stock Exchange that was torn down in 1972, recognizable to many as the same room that was reconstructed inside the Art Institute of Chicago.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: Owners Pooja and Peter Vukosavich (right) meet in her office. Glass partitions allow for a degree of privacy while allowing light from outside to enter the space.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: Peter Vukosavich occupies the last office on the first level just off the large glass doors that lead to the garden.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: As a design firm it is not surprising that much attention to detail, like ample counter space and display shelves for completed projects, has gone into the design and decor of the office.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: The garden area in the space behind the building.

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

STUDIO V DESIGN

STUDIO V DESIGN: The Chicago Landmark plaque, which reads, “The facade of this small building was Louis Sullivan’s last commission, and it reflects the attention to detail that characterized Sullivan’s work.”

PHOTO CREDIT: Stephen J. Serio

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8 = Coolest Offices 2011 - Photo Galleries - Crain's Chicago Business