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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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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