Workspace of the Week - Barry Callebaut Offices Chicago

Dynamic spaces, employee wellness and biophilia serve as pillars of the design of Barry Callebaut's Chicago office, a space to show off and experience the company's high-quality cocoa and chocolate products. Solomon Cordwell Buenz mixed bold colours and raw materials to complete the design of the Barry Callebaut offices in Chicago, Illinois.

Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate products, selected SCB to complete a 40,000-square-foot expansion of their Chicago office, located in the landmark Montgomery Ward building.

Employees enter the space through a large, communal café that features a variety of seating and two kitchens. Display shelving features the company’s products, while a “hedge” of plants delineates seating areas and the main circulation path through the space. A communal table is accented with an eclectic mix of brightly coloured chairs. The use of bold colour continues in the rich-hued green kitchen cabinetry and tile backsplash. A demonstration area offers a large island for prep work and a custom product display comprised of spoons, each holding various chocolate creations.

A boardroom is located at the centre of the floor, adjacent to a self-serve chocolate bar. In the workspace itself, the designers preserved the original industrial aesthetic of the space including exposed brick walls, concrete columns, wood ceilings, and large, double-hung windows which provide an abundance of natural light and views to the city and river. Nestled amongst the bench-style workstations are informal collaboration areas for smaller meetings. Conference rooms and private offices are located along the western perimeter of the floor, each fully glazed as to not prohibit natural light from reaching the interior spaces. A library space doubles as a yoga studio, providing a quiet space of respite within the office.