The Crane Group's office bucks the minimalism trend.
For 10 of the 71 years the Crane family has been running a business, it's been out of the Belmont Casket Co. Building in the Arena District. When CEO Tanny Crane first laid eyes on the space, she wasn't really impressed with any part of it—except for the floors.
“We walked in here, and it was very cluttered,” Crane says. “I'm not good at visioning, but I liked the floors, and I liked the feel of it.”
When she looked at a remodeled office upstairs—one with an open concept—she caught a vision for what the floor underneath it could be. One thing the office wasn't was institutional—something Crane definitely did not want. So, drop ceilings were removed, and bricks were taken out of windows. As someone who loves light, windows are important to her.
“We wanted to utilize all the light we could and make sure that people who don't have offices that have windows can see outdoors,” she says.
Windows line both the space's edges and also the offices within it. Glass gives partial privacy to occupants, but openness is an important part of Crane Group culture. Crane herself has an office that is also a pass-through into another part of the office. She says people walk in and chat with her before exiting on the other side. She loves workplace openness so much that she has considered knocking down the walls on either side of her office completely.
The décor also exudes warmth. Floors are golden and rustic, filled with the imperfections of age. Oriental rugs in deep reds create soft spots on the floors. Dupler Office, located on the first floor of the same building, helped with the furniture. Crane's best friend from birth who is an interior designer helped with everything else.
Another warming aspect is the homage paid to the Crane family around every corner. Walls are decorated with old signs from previous iterations of the company, portraits of Crane's father and uncle grace the reception area—along with a collection of long-legged cranes that serve as puns—and a kitchen wall full of tissue paper drawings of light fixtures that a Crane family member designed. And although her 91-year-old uncle has retired (for the third time, and officially), he still comes in every day for what Crane calls “second shift.” He eats downstairs at the Belmont Deli and wanders upstairs to sit at his desk and check emails.
During an era of office décor minimalism, Crane Group's office stands out. “Walking in, it feels very warm and welcoming,” says Crane. “We have a culture of collaboration and warmth and everyone feeling like they have a voice, so I think we want our offices to reflect that, that it's a place where everyone's opinion counts and it's fun but productive. We do a lot of managing by hanging out, walking around.”