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FCB Chicago wins with modern but comfortable office design

Article - Chicago , 18 October 2014

In February, ad agency FCB Chicago, the largest of a global network, relocated to a five-floor, 167,000-square-foot headquarters in the John Hancock Building. With the help of TPG Architecture LLP in New York, FCB Chicago CEO Michael Fassnacht and Chief Creative Officer Todd Tilford designed an open space meant to facilitate collaboration. “The old space was all about nooks and crannies. We wanted people to bump into each other,” Mr. Tilford explains.

Enter the front lobby, and there's a coffee bar staffed with three full-time baristas and up-tempo music. A half-wall clad in reclaimed wood separates the visitors' waiting area from an employee lounge with 25-foot ceilings and contemporary wing chairs that overlook the city. Throughout, wood elements and upholstered furnishings add warmth to the black, white and gray palette. “Michael and Todd didn't want it to feel corporate and stuffy,” says Larry Berger, lead architect and designer at TPG.

Open meeting areas on each floor are designed for brainstorming sessions. Mr. Fassnacht cites a one-third drop in internal email traffic as proof that the focus on collaboration is paying off.

That same creative vibe permeates the print and video production areas, which include state-of-the-art soundproof recording studios and a private video screening room for client showings.