By Star Hughes-Gorup
When most people think of Quicken Loans, they think finance, mortgages, and credit scores. And if they tried to picture what Quicken Loans’ office space should look like, they probably think of traditional private offices, dropped ceilings, and building standard carpet.
But you can’t judge a book by its cover – because Quicken Loans is anything but traditional. Their Detroit headquarters is best described as cutting-edge, innovative, trendy, and raw. It’s the kind of space that most companies dream of working out of – but the type of building that is extremely hard to find, and even harder to replicate.
So what is the secret? Simple. Find old bank space in your local Federal Reserve, and turn the vaults into conference rooms.
Okay, so that might not be so simple after all. There aren’t many historic, bank-vault-filled buildings sitting vacant waiting for creative companies to lease them.
What you can do to achieve your own unique look, though, is embrace the distinctive qualities that your own office space has to offer. If you have a bank vault sitting empty in your space, more power to you. If you have funky metal support braces, restore them to their original glory, or paint them a bright, bold color. If your space has brick walls, clean them off and let the natural red color bring your space to life.
If you have spray paint markings on concrete pillars from when they were originally poured years ago, honor the building’s roots by leaving them exposed and embracing their grit. Quicken did.
The same goes for cinderblock walls. Most companies are quick to drywall and paint a cinderblock wall – but sometimes leaving it in its raw (albeit cleaned-up) condition can add a lot of character to a space. With the right décor, such as a unique light fixture or marquee lights, it can bring texture, design, and style to your office.
Quicken’s unique, patterned wall coverings are another design idea you can borrow to add style, flair and personality to your space without breaking the budget. Pick one or two key accent walls (I usually recommend the wall behind the reception desk), and design a wall covering for your brand. Reclaimed wood, chalkboard paint, and cork are three great materials to add texture and visual interest to your walls.
Kudos to Dan Gilbert and the Quicken team for breaking the mold, revitalizing the old, and creating space that inspires even the most accomplished of developers.
Star Hughes-Gorup is a senior vice president and director at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate firm with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Seattle. Star is a key member of Hughes Marino’s San Diego brokerage team, where she specializes in tenant representation and building purchases. Star also makes frequent media appearances to speak on business issues from a millennial perspective, and blogs about life as a woman in a male-dominated industry at starhughesgorup.com. Contact Star at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT, or firstname.lastname@example.org.