Since our inception, we’ve kept our roots in nearby Providence, the ‘Creative Capital’ of New England. Our office is located in the innovative “Box Office,” a truly incredible, colorful collection of used boxcars, stacked and fused to create a design masterpiece. It’s a space that gets us truly inspired and energized to work, and so we wanted to share a little about our Rhode Island office with you.
Here’s what makes us inspired, excited, and hungry in Providence.
What: The Box Office
The first of its kind, this office space is made of 34 used shipping containers, and has quickly become a Providence architecture icon since its creation in 2009. It’s a truly “green” structure, using 40% less energy than an equivalent, conventionally-built space.
The story of the office’s inception really spoke to us as a tale of resourcefulness and tenacity. Designer Joe Haskett had an environmentally friendly, modern office building on the brain, but in the hard economic times of 2009, he realized he couldn’t afford anything like his vision. He went back to the drawing board, eventually devising this “out of the box” (pun intended) idea for modern mavericks. In his words, “We didn’t set out to do a container building; we kind of backed into it.”
Fun fact: Each container features a “truth window”, which is where the container’s label was left unpainted so everyone can see its serial number. We love the details of this place, and its humble beginnings inspire us to always start with what we have, find new solutions, and work toward the future.
Where: Providence, RI
Providence (or PVD, for short) was founded in 1636, making it one of the oldest cities in America. It used to be a huge center for industrialism, and you can still see the remains of its working-class reputation. A lot has changed since then, mostly spurned by new universities, 8 hospitals, and big pushes for civic development. It’s now consistently ranked one of the best cities for civil rights, and keeps its academic community involved with annual art shows and festivals, including the renowned Waterfire.
Our office is in the West Side, specifically: Olneyville. You may have heard of it as the home of the New York system weiner, a hot dog of fantastical proportions. It’s an area that’s often cited as “up and coming,” as many of its old factories are being converted into luxury housing. It’s a place to grow. As our whole team can attest, it’s also a place to get some serious tacos (That’s you, El Rancho Grande).
Who: The Oomph Team!
We keep two boxcars/offices, which gives our team plenty of room to host team-specific gatherings, meetings with clients in the area, and of course the Providence Drupal Meetup, which our guys founded (#humblebrag).
Why: It’s more than meets the eye.
Providence is a strange but beautiful mix of the old and new: Eerie, still-life abandoned factories sit next to the cutting edge in art, design, and cuisine. The presence of Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts make the city scene hip, but in a way that’s distinctly different from PVD’s more stuffy neighbors. This juxtaposition of so many elements has turned the once industrial center into New England’s “Creative Capital,” now home to countless exhibitions, theater companies, and galleries.
Providence beckons to underdogs, in every walk of life. Years ago we were one ourselves, toting only our laptops and a few team members to set up shop with bright eyes. We may be a lot larger now, but we’ll always have a soft spot for Providence. Whether your dream is one of food, art, education, or technology, PVD is a hotbed for innovation and growth. It’s an awesome place to call home.