Technology companies are often known for their whimsical office spaces, relaxed atmospheres and shake-your-fist-at-convention attitudes. Think: hammocks and giant slides at Google or picnic tables and video games at Zappos.
Rackspace, a global web-hosting and cloud managing firm headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is not one to be outdone. The company purchased the deteriorating Winsdor Park Mall in 2007 and has steadily revamped its corporate offices into spaces with themes like breakfast cereals, toys and movies. The former mall is now known as “The Castle.”
Rackspace’s workplace experience team tapped the creative brand imaging and signs experts at Cold Fire to bring their playful vision for The Castle to life.
“We’ve done about 100 rooms so far,” says Chris Jackson, Cold Fire’s founder and president. “They’re trying to create an environment where you don’t feel like you’re in a corporate work environment … to spur creativity and employee engagement.”
The workplace experience team typically comes up with the ideas for each of the sections, Jackson says, and his team then finds the best media to print the wall murals on. He often chooses dreamScape wallcoverings, thanks to the wide variety of finishes that are compatible with his HP Latex 360 printer. The latex capabilities, he says, allows him to print durable, scratch resistant wall murals that do not need to be laminated.
Two of the more recent rooms that Cold Fire has completed are The Dollhouse and The Lodge. The Dollhouse is actually a conference room with wooden furniture centered in a room with murals that look like the rooms of a child’s dollhouse, giving it a nostalgic feel.
The exterior of the room is framed by a white fence and a wooden deck that holds a handful of rocking chairs. “The idea is to increase employee morale,” Jackson says. “So you’re not going to the same old mundane work environment every day.”
The Lodge is a smaller meeting room, complete with brick fireplace, tree stump side tables and the mounted head of a wildebeest. The room’s overstuffed, dark brown leather furniture gives it the ambiance of a true lodge — a dramatic departure from some of the other more whimsical rooms.
“They give me the room dimensions and create the graphics from scratch,” Jackson says. “What I do is suggest the media. In The Lodge, the log cabin-like walls were printed on the dreamScape wallcovering with the wood grain texture on it, which is applied with wallpaper paste.”
Jackson says the rooms in the renovated mall are nearly all completely reimagined by the Rackspace team. But this creative duo’s work isn’t done yet. Cold Fire is currently working on Rackspace’s New York City sales office, with urban wall murals of graffiti and maps.