Built In Chicago celebrated their January Built In Brews event at Braintree's new office in the Merchandise Mart last week. The company moved into the space in October 2014, and has since outfitted it with all the features startups crave — think ping-pong tables, arcade games, a cereal and snack bar and even a piano. Not to mention the fully stocked, English-themed speakeasy bar hidden away behind the kitchen.
Interior architecture and design firm Partners by Design created the space, focusing on the mobile payments company's need for "a fun, but more grown-up space that still served as a way to connect their rapidly growing workforce."
"Braintree's office is different from most tech spaces by its simple, modern aesthetic," Michael Berger, Partner at Partners by Design said. "It is not flashy, contrived or trendy, but rather simple, classic and historically respectful of its context while still being young and energized."
They also worked hard to create a space that reflected the existing historical context of the mart, utilizing raw exposed concrete, clay tile walls and the textured concrete floor.
All of the glass-enclosed conference rooms are named after popular emoticons except three, which exist to honor Braintree's past. The smallest is named after the suburb of Bartlett, the second after Wicker Park, and the largest is known as '111 N. Canal,' in honor of the company's previous space, which it now subleases to Signal.
Braintree is one of several tech powerhouses headquartered in the Mart, along with 1871, Motorola Mobility, and Razorfish. But Braintree is the only one with its own atrium.
Aside from indulging in Revolution brews and a selection of Dark Horse Wines, attendees of the event feasted on Pleasant House Bakery pot pies and other snacks.
Built In Chicago CEO Maria Katris introduced the event, followed with remarks from Braintree COO Amit Jhawar on the growing culture of the mobile payments company.
"Our success comes from our people. We encourage referrals and tend to hire and recruit through current employees," said Amit Jhawar, COO of Braintree. "We're growing quickly and using our employees and their networks to help find the right people to join our team contributes to our success."
The rapidly hiring company's new space showcases the continued trend of the open office layout, with an emphasis on technology accessibility.
"Since the Mayor visited for the opening of our last office in 2012, we've tripled the local Chicago team and expanded to more than 40 countries,” said CEO Bill Ready at the ribbon-cutting in October. “Together with PayPal, we're building the future of commerce and we couldn't be more proud to be doing that from our home town here in Chicago.”