By Owen Rice
Seattle’s Pioneer Square has long been known for its rich history as one of the innovative gallery sections of the city, so when creative agency Tether was looking for a location to call home in 2008, the neighborhood was a perfect fit. Stanley Hainsworth, Tether’s founder and chief creative officer, wanted to be in a part of town that could support his vision of combining an agency, open art gallery and store all in one location. The unique historical, environmental and architectural aspects of Pioneer Square matched Tether’s creative spirit, and so does their bright and inspiring workspace!
Tether is a multidiscipline creative design and advertising agency that works with companies in creating stories that have substance to reach consumers at every touchpoint with an approach that elevates story over style. Tether is excitedly approaching its tenth year of creating brand stories for its client partners—ranging from start-ups to multi-national brands. With their beginnings in a Seattle gallery space, they have since expanded to additional studios in Portland and New York. Their impressive client list includes global brands such as PepsiCo, Microsoft, Amazon, Under Armor and Vulcan, as well as local brands such as Krusteaz, Caffè Umbria, The Mark (now F5 Tower) and New Seasons Market.
Tetherites (as they call themselves) are drawn to the dynamic neighborhood of Pioneer Square, a revitalized fusion of past and present. It continues to be the center of the Seattle art and culture scenes and has seen an influx of vibrant restaurants to match. It’s common to find many of Tether’s employees enjoying lunch outside in the summertime at bistro tables set up in the neighborhood center, strolling through the art galleries during the First Thursday Art Walk or catching a local band after hours. Tether’s proximity to our local sports’ stadiums also makes it an exciting place to be on game days.
In an effort to be active in their community, Tether has been part of the board of Pioneer Square–an organization determined to revitalize the area and restore it to its former glory as Seattle’s center for business and culture. Tether’s refusal to let this historically significant heart of the city fade affirms the part of Tether that yearns to carve out its own history and place. The nostalgia Pioneer Square recalls is a powerful factor in its preservation. It is the birth of Seattle’s story—a testament to its past, our own future and to the human ability to endure.
Tether’s open-studio concept reinforces their multidisciplinary approach by encouraging connection and collaboration amongst all Tetherites on both a one-to-one and a team basis. Disciplines and teams are intermixed on the main floor, and Tether regularly will rearrange table make-ups to stimulate collaborative energy.
Stanley also has his office on the main floor, with large windows rather than a floor-to-ceiling wall to reinforce collaboration, visibility and approachability. This also allows for unobstructed natural light to flood the studio.
When visitors exit the elevator, they are immediately welcomed into Tether’s café area, which showcases an assortment of curated art pieces and collectibles along an exposed brick wall. The café then extends into a kitchen with a large family-sized table, where Tetherites gather to eat lunch or host informal meetings.
The perimeter of the lobby and the kitchen includes seven conference rooms named after the seven deadly sins, as well as a large collaboration room that acts as an informal, casual meeting area—their version of an office living room. Tether also has a production room that features a 3D printer and large work table to cater to any production need.
Tether’s footprint also extends to the rooftop. The rooftop is home to an urban apiary that was spearheaded by one of their employees as part of Tether’s Inspiration Grant—a program that encourages and incentivizes employees to work together outside client work and in the community, pursuing experiences worthy of storytelling.
Designed to spark creativity, their office is lined with art pieces (both curated and Tether-created) and work they have made for their clients. Every piece has a purpose and a story—as storytellers, this is what inspires Tetherites. Two graffiti art canvases in their café spells out “Tether.” In fact, most of the artwork currently displayed in Tether’s studio was commissioned for the Tether art gallery at their original location.
Tether’s inspiring workspace is a shining example of a thriving business in Pioneer Square, one of Seattle’s most creative neighborhoods, conducive to innovation, creativity and collaborative success.
Owen Rice is an executive vice president at Hughes Marino, an award-winning commercial real estate company with offices in Seattle, San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Contact Owen at 1-844-NO-CONFLICT or email@example.com to learn more.