Third Coast Interiors x Panopta
We loved working with Shabbir Karimi & Jason Abate of Panopta on their space for a rapidly growing team and are excited to present to you their office in Chicago’s Loop!
I first met the Infrastructure Monitoring Tech Startup, Panopta, when they were in a shared space on West Institute. I worked with them to create fast, functionally driven solutions for their growing team. A little over a year later Shabbir called me wanting to work on their brand new space in Chicago’s Loop and I was thrilled! As an entrepreneur myself, the process of enabling a business owner’s dream space to manifest is pretty thrilling. It’s so important to me that their enthusiasm for what they do be visually translated for the team and visitors. I want everything to function seamlessly so that they can focus on the big picture.
The Space & Challenge
We were working with a loft space in The Vogue Building. While it had beautiful bones, it was totally outdated. Think Home Depot special on hollow doors and 80’s country moulding - not to mention all that 80’s beige. Our challenge was to create a functional, flexible space for a rapidly growing team. That meant being able to take up all of the current space in an intentional way while at the same time create space for the desks and team touch points that would later be joining. We had one month to ensure that the raw space was finished and the desks and chairs and essentials all arrived in time for work to start. This was over the holidays, so it was a tall order, but we made it happen.
Our first sweep through focused on paint selections which reflected the Startup’s brand and electric. For the electric we made sure to create pods around existing electric and add in new outlets in essential cases. We worked with the founders and tech guy to make sure that all future employees were accounted for in the right configuration of teams. It was important to space plan for team interaction and give some more privacy than others.
We decided to work with the existing structure as much as possible in order to maximize the budget for furniture and decor. However we made sure to build three call booths. We took out the wall adjoining the South Lounge and the Team Space to bring in that gorgeous Southern light. Doors were changed to solid glass and moulding was was converted to a modern profile to fit the brand aesthetic.
We wanted to create breakout spaces and storage in a variety of ways, one being millwork. This large built-in will serve as book, swag and display that the company can grown into. The wall acts as further sound-proofing near the team of Engineers who need a quiet space. Wanting to maximize the full volume of the North wall, we added a bench where the marketing team can break away to discuss ideas. It also makes a nice lunch seat.
In the Kitchen we added a counter to create an informal workspace and more lunchtime seating. We’re told it’s well utilized. A large map from Panopta’s website was installed by Dennis Quijano. Eventually we added decals representing the companies Panopta represents around the globe. Adding to this we put in two booths near the Eastern Lounge which are great for meals, team working and event overflow seating.
The Eastern Lounge is our informal welcoming lobby. It was important to create a space for guests that will hold up over time and which is also a hangout for the people who work there.
The South Lounge is one of my favorite parts of the space. We wanted to make a space that felt like home, where people can rest and connect. Since it’s open to the main work area it was important that it be visually neutral and non-distracting throughout the day.
The meeting rooms called for large art and it had to be budget-friendly as well as unique to Panopta. In the boardroom we made a sign out of string and nails, installed by our own Connie Kim! Connie also took the lead on some cool grids in the smaller meeting rooms. We used Panopta’s branding, images bought off Etsy and printed words to make a grid of 8.5 x 11’s held up with binder clips.