Inside the Offices of Mono Minneapolis

Inside the Offices of Mono Minneapolis

Sonia Zjawinski
Nov 10, 2009

While we like to concentrate on the home here at Unplggd, we often find inspiration in the offsite offices of large companies like Facebook and Suicide Girls.

The offices of Minneapolis-based company mono are no exception. The firm, which does design consultation for Apple, Herman Miller, and Blu Dot, recently moved into their new digs, dreamt up by founder and creative director Chris Lange, along with architect Charlie Lazor. The 10,000 square-foot office in Uptown Minneapolis -- ironically, south of downtown Minneapolis -- is a complete embodiment of mono's simple and clean design aesthetic. The folks at mono were kind enough to give Unplggd a tour, while answering a few of our pesky questions...

As designers yourselves, did mono have a lot of input on how the space would be laid out and what equipment/furniture would be included? Yes. The majority of the equipment and furniture is from Herman Miller (one of our clients), Blu Dot (another client of ours) and Knoll. All of it was chosen, just like the design of our space, to reflect our commitment to simplicity.

How many people work within mono HQ? There are about 30 people right now.

How would you describe the office? Simplicity was the starting point. After that, we wanted to build the space around how we work. One unique way we work is having the work in progress out in the open for everyone to comment and critique instead of hiding it in a back room until presentations happen. So, we built the four large glass walls to act as the "heart" of the agency. We built a large roof skylight in the middle of the heart to bring in a lot of light to that area. The rest of the space builds off of the openness with a lot of glass meeting rooms, white walls and process blue highlights. We have a "monotunes" through iTunes connected, in which people can play songs from their playlists or create themed playlists that everyone can contribute to.

Favorite thing about the workspace? The work walls. They are a constant reminder of what we are here to do; create amazing creative work for our clients.

Least favorite? No parking :)

Is your work reflected in your workspace? We don't frame or champion past work around the space. The "wall" keeps us always working on the next big thing. It keeps us on our toes instead of looking back.

Favorite tech/electronics that makes mono life easier? We have a Turbochef oven (a previous client) in our kitchen that can cook a frozen pizza to golden-brown perfection in two minutes. Along with that, the office was equipped with Herman Miller's Embody chair the day they came out. I think we were the second office to be outfitted with them. Embody is the task chair on steroids.

Any tips or advice about office décor, layout or organization? Start simple. Don't just think about the now. Create something that you can see yourself in five years later, maybe even 10. Foster an environment for movement, creativity, innovation. End simple.

Who came up with those fabulous workpods? The workpods are from Knoll. They are a great solution for privacy, style and openness all in one. When you work in the work pod, you feel like you are part of the larger space, but you also feel like you are in a separate space too. The mesh white fabric lets in a lot of light too, so it feels larger and more open than it looks.

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