Irreverent, off-color, insulting, hilarious: Cards Against Humanity, a independent board game created by eight friends from Highland Park High School, has earned numerous words of praise since a Kickstarter launched the "party game for horrible people" back in 2010. But considering the myriad ways its new shared work space and community media studio Some Office, designed by
von Weise Associates, provides an outlet for local creatives, community-minded would also be an appropriate moniker. Curbed toured the 10,000-square-foot converted warehouse — variously a candy factory, pickle factory and mechanics shop during past lives — and discovered a spacious main floor, massive game collection, and hidden Japanese Zen and Moroccan rooms.
[Exposed trusses, vents and shipping containers provide a minimal, industrial feel for the main floor at Some Office.]
According to Kevin Reader, the director of operations and business manager of Some Office, when Cards Against Humanity moved into the new space in an industrial corridor of northwest Chicago in early January, they wanted to be as discreet and bland as possible when they named the office, to avoid attention and maintain privacy.
Inside the main entrance and past the bike racks and shipping area, the main work space spreads out around a series of decommissioned and redecorated shipping containers, all of which previously held Cards Against Humanity products on their overseas trip from China. Currently about 30 people total utilize Some Office, split between 10 company employees and 20 friends working in game design, graphic design and web development. Private workspaces within the containers, as well as offices in the back, accommodate meetings and serve as breakout rooms. Forthcoming artwork by Matthew Hoffman will hang above one of the blocks of desks.
While there are more serious offices build into some of the containers, the highlight is probably the Japanese Zen room with tatami mats (please remove your shoes before entering) and the dimly lit Moroccan room with multi-hued lighting and a hookah, yin and yang in terms of mood and atmosphere. As Reader says, in the midst of a Chicago winter or a cloudy day, its fantastic to just go inside, shut the door and escape. The rear office space also includes a Lego Room with a wall layered with baseplates and a study that Ron Burgundy would covet.
[The theater lights, taken from a local CBS studio, were actually used during the Kennedy-Nixon debates, according to Reader.]
The Zen and Moroccan rooms offer just a taste of the amenities within the office, which include: a podcasting studio; curated gallery space focused on Chicago artist, currently Matthew Hoffman; a print studio with risograph, dark room, screen printing and a Makerbot; and the black box theater, above, which can hold about 90 people. Used for lectures, comedy shows and movie nights, it's another community-oriented space the company bills as a local resource. While the company's initial success was predicated on having a great sense of humor, they're very serious about social good, as the nearly two million dollars they've donated to charity suggest.
"We wanted to invest back in Chicago and be part of the community and help out," says Reader. "That's a huge part of what we do. Cards was never supposed to be a thing. I know the founders really well. They set out to make a game with friends and put it out on the internet, and then a bunch of people started downloading it. They didn't necessary expect this. So why not give back?"
[It goes without saying that the game collection would be pretty impressive.]
[The office has its own Killer Queen console, a massive 10-player arcade game that can also be found at Logan Hardware.]
[Star Trek action figures based on seven of the eight founders of the game.]
·Curbed Inside archives [Curbed Chicago]