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The 'WOW' - Then & Now

My first 'real job' out of college was not in the art world, but in the sales department of what was Austin's Z102 and KEY 103 radio. We were in a Class B building and our offices were depressing and dingy to say the least. The sales team would commiserate while smoking in the tiny, grimy breakroom. I assure you, no one in management was particularly concerned about whether we were happy at our jobs, only if we were hitting out targets. Turnover was high and empty positions were quickly refilled.

Fast forward 25 years and it is mind-blowing to see the 180 degree flip that company culture and design has taken and the ways in which the two support one another. Our clients intentionally consider how they can structure their space to encourage chance encounters and collaboration. They provide for the sub-sets within their employee population by creating versatile spaces that maximize productivity for different kinds of work and for their people’s different working styles. They are thoughtful about inclusivity and have rooms for nursing mothers, prayer, meditation and exercise. Company culture is on display and employee experience is top of mind.

When we are brought in to work on a project, we start with the big picture. What is the culture and vibe of the office? Who works here, and who will visit? What is the space going to look like? How does the company want people to feel throughout their entire office or specifically on different floors and areas? What do they want you as a visitor to know about their company? The answers to these questions inform the artists and art options that we present.

We select art that best expresses the story, values and culture of our clients and help visually weave them throughout the space. Art sets the tone of the environment, and that can vary greatly depending on if it is a lobby, executive area, workspace or common area. Often, we use a mix of original art and murals, graphics, prints and photography. The mix helps each individual piece ‘pop’, makes the space flow and gives us the flexibility to help maximize the budget. Thoughtful art selection gives companies the opportunity to reflect what they are all about, connect with team members on shared values and positively impact each employee's daily experience. People spend 40+ hours a week at work. If you give them a place where they are engaged, happy and want to spend time, community builds and productivity rises. Now that's a real WOW Factor!

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