Check Out 37signals' Gorgeous Office In Chicago (PHOTO TOUR)

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37signals isn’t just a software company — it’s a way of life.

From its simple, elegant web software tools, to its popular new business book, “Rework,” the Chicago-based company is synonymous with good design and rewriting the rules.

Its new office in downtown Chicago is no different: Simple but luxurious. 

There are desks, yes. But there are also custom conference rooms, which even inspired an iPad app; a soundproof recording studio; and a 37-seat auditorium — last week’s $1,000-per-person event will pay the rent for two months.

We recently toured the company’s office with founder Jason Fried.

We get off the elevator, and there's 37signals' logo frosted into the glass door

Hey, it's 37signals founder Jason Fried, showing us the space

The company's entry way is also a library

Here's the company's auditorium, with (surprise!) 37 chairs

37signals' office used to be a Crate and Barrel photo studio, but these aren't leftover fixtures: The 37signals crew had the place fully redesigned from scratch.

Takeout menus! Some of Chicago's best restaurants are nearby, in the West Loop neighbourhood.

Here's the big communal eating area. But it's after 5 p.m., so most of the crew has gone home for the day.

Another scene seemingly ripped from a high-end furniture catalogue. When you have multi-million-dollar annual revenues and profits, you can afford the nice stuff.

Letter from a happy customer

Here's the main desk area. (It gets dark early this time of year!) As you can see, everyone has gone home for the night. But 37signals is also largely a virtual company -- many people don't ever come into the office.

There's the man, Jason Fried, looking like he's hard at work. We asked why he didn't have a huge second computer display like everyone else, and he said he enjoyed the single laptop screen, to keep him focused.

37signals has a bunch of these conference rooms, where people can go to chat or have meetings.

One of the meeting rooms, with notes on the board from some customer research the company did.

The chalk and cork boards actually inspired one of 37signals products, a web app for sketching called Chalk.

Direct your iPad to chalk.37signals.com to try out their totally free, HTML5/web-based sketchboard app. No App Store or downloads required!

Of course, every serious design shop needs a Steve Jobs doll...

Neat! Grass trough for pens.

Fried shows us some swag he got sent to him

iPhone holders that you can get your logo printed on

Chalk illustration of the Hancock Building, the REAL favourite-tall-building among Chicagoans

There's also some sound-insulated phone booth rooms for private calls

And here's a soundproof studio for podcasts

We're back to the beginning!

That's about it! There's a bunch of companies nearby, including Threadless. And Groupon is up the street -- we'll run our photo tour of their new office later this week.

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