Chicago-based integrated design and delivery firm Wight & Company has completed the new headquarters for Legacy.com, the nation’s leading online publisher of life memorials and end-of-life resources. The 18,000-square-foot space located at 230 W. Monroe Street in Chicago’s Loop, consolidates 100 of Legacy’s technology, customer service and administrative employees from two different suburban locations.
The design job presented some unique creative challenges, according to Janet Lougée, AIA, director of interiors at Wight & Company. “Working with a technology client comes with certain expectations regarding the look and feel of a typical tech office,” said Lougée. “This tech firm, though, needed to be anything but gray, white and edgy.”
“Our business is about honoring people and their families by sharing their life stories with the world,” said Stopher Bartol, Legacy’s founder and CEO. “So when it came to designing our offices, we wanted to create a space that was not only superbly functional but also warm, inspirational and aspirational.”
The design team, led by Lougée, created a bright and flexible space that fosters collaboration, supports the daily work of employees and enhances the recruitment and retention of talent. “Our creative vision and inspiration came from listening to Legacy’s employees,” said Lougée. “They wanted happy, uplifting and functional spaces that supported their strong community culture. It called for a bright palette, incorporating vivid color.”
Wight & Company provided a variety of workspace options, including open desks and common areas along the perimeter of the office with smaller meeting rooms and private phone booths at its center, allowing the common areas the best views. Floating panel systems help define the spaces and bring natural light and city views into the heart of the office.
A large conference room is connected to the communal kitchen and dining area by a transparent garage door, which allows the spaces to be combined for larger employee gatherings. To mitigate the noise of an open café environment, Wight chose to use TURF boomstick felt baffles in ceiling panels of various geometric shapes, sizes and vibrant hues to bring interest and energy to the space.
Contrasting with the openness of much of the office, Legacy also provided more intimate spaces that give employees a unique environment in which to collaborate or work independently. Besides the popular phone booths, the Living Room draws in employees, especially creatives, with walls saturated in deep tones and leather furnishings, suited for concentration and reflection.
The Wight & Company design team also infused the space with memorable elements that were inspired by the Legacy.com mission to celebrate a life well lived. To reinforce Legacy’s brand, all of the headquarters’ conference rooms and gathering spaces are named for notable American figures ranging from Rosa Parks to Christopher Reeves, whose life stories are celebrated on the walls. And the open ceiling in a number of rooms throughout the office is painted Porch Blue—not only a vibrant color, but also one that is a popular choice for the front porch ceilings of homes in the Deep South, due to its purported power in guarding positive vibes.
“Even with the compressed timeline we presented to Wight & Company,” said Bartol, “the design team was able to deliver and exceed our expectations.”