A Home for Ideas

Cramer
Norwood, Massachusetts

“A team of tinkerers, hackers, wordsmiths, filmmakers, designers, and builders.” This is a group of individuals defined by creativity. A group that trades in ideas and inspiration. A group of storytellers. This is Cramer."

 

A 150-person brand experience agency, Cramer competes on a national level with many of the country’s largest marketing houses. After decades in their Norwood home base, their spaces had grown insufficient for supporting the organization's aspirations, and were not reflective of Cramer’s energy and culture. The client sought to transform its workplace environment, making it an incubator for ideas and a launchpad for the next winning client campaigns.

To deliver a space the client would be proud to call home, we aimed to address both the building’s nondescript, warehouse-like exterior—specifically, its entrance—and its voluminous, but inefficiently programmed, interior. 

 

The structure’s location on the site—set back, visually barricaded by parking—kept it essentially hidden from street view. To change this, SMMA’s proposed design included an increase in green space, particularly in front of a heavily trafficked intersection, to create new “front yard,” augmented by a prominent Cramer-branded sign. Other proposed site interventions sought to capitalize on shade, provide shelter, buffer adjacent amenities, increase plantings, promote accessibility, and include moveable seating. 

A Grander Gesture

Although, originally, the project only encompassed the interior, we believed there was an opportunity to transform the building’s entrance, making it a grander gesture than the simple glass box that it was. Client visits and tours are an important part of daily life at Cramer, and we strove to create an entry that would impress and act as a prelude of what to expect inside.

We began by proposing subtle landscape enhancements that would draw the eye to the front door upon entering the parking lot. For the entryway itself, we offered one- and two-story solutions, both of which extend from the building, capitalize on natural light, and “announce” the building’s presence on a level commensurate with the company’s sense of purpose.

The directive from the client was simple, but multi-pronged. They wanted a space that would: showcase the Cramer story; attract talent; prioritize studio-based collaboration; cater to global brands, as well as support local ones; and last well into the future.

Bringing the Space to Life

The interior of the two-story facility is large, but lacked a sense of flow. An ample dining area bottlenecked at the lunchtime rush, but sat largely unused for the majority of the day. The reception area lacked energy. Opportunities for branding were being missed.

Cramer envisioned a space where meetings could happen spontaneously, where informal interaction could yield the next brilliant campaign strategy, where clients could come and be wowed by a pitch. They also wanted it to be something they could grow into. These objectives perfectly suited our interiors and graphics teams.

Our concept involved the use of shipping containers as meeting spaces. These fit nicely within the context of the building and are fun “alternative” environments that stray from the formality and stodginess of the traditional conference room. We also provided a number of options to add color and life to the large walls, as well as elements of branding that reinforce the Cramer name.

This project highlighted the effectiveness of SMMA’s integrated and multi-disciplinary composition, as it necessitated several areas of expertise working in concert toward meeting the client’s varied requirements and exceeding their expectations.