Embarking on a new chapter in its 40-year history, AbelsonTaylor, one of the world’s premier health and wellness advertising agencies, has relocated its headquarters to Chicago’s newly renovated Old Post Office.
Occupying 80 thousand square feet in the reimagined Art Deco landmark, the space has been strategically designed to foster creative collaboration among employees and facilitate future business expansion.
AbelsonTaylor founder and chief executive officer Dale Taylor says that the “dozens of inspiring spaces” within the location provide exactly what it takes for the agency needs to serve its roster of more than 50 healthcare brands.
“You not only have to adapt to change, you have to plan for it,” he explains. “With changes in the size and composition of our agency and the way we work, we needed a more open, collaborative environment and the ability to grow and change in place. Our new workplace gives us that.”
Unprecedented workstyle freedom
Jeff Berg, president of AbelsonTaylor, says the versatility of the agency’s new headquarters gives employees a welcome freedom to choose how and where they work.
“Everyone has a dedicated workspace, but no one is confined to working there,” he says. “If you need a quiet place to write something highly clinical, maybe you choose one of our 27 focus rooms. If you want to work somewhere lively, maybe you choose one of our five open collaboration spaces, 19 conference rooms, or 17 flex rooms. Or, if coffee is what fuels your creativity, you can always set up shop in one of our two large cafes. The number and variety of spaces gives us unprecedented workstyle freedom.”
Stephen Neale, executive vice president and chief creative officer, likes the way AbelsonTaylor’s new space exposes the creative process.
“Unless you’re directly involved in a project, you usually don’t see anything but finished creative,” he adds. “You don’t see how a concept evolved or how many ideas were proposed, tested and rejected. In our new space, everyone has the chance to witness the act of being creative, which piques their curiosity and invites them into the process.”
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The AbelsonTaylor workplace encompasses the entire sixth floor of the north building plus a portion of the south building. It was designed by national architecture firm HED.
Olivia Danielson-Veed, lead designer, says that vibrancy and connection were key drivers of the plan. “Our goal was to promote a strong sense of community and brand presence while providing multiple opportunities for interaction and collaboration.”
Bold wall murals by AbelsonTaylor staff create one-of-a-kind visual experiences throughout the new workplace. Selected in an agency-wide competition, the original works, by Colin Craig, Rich How and Eric Pernod, present vivid color and diverse artistic styles that highlight AT’s distinctive brand personality.
HED incorporated the few post office artifacts that remained within AbelsonTaylor’s raw space into the final design. Green and black floor tile, original to the building and carefully restored, greets visitors at the agency’s entrance. And two large postal vaults, once used to safeguard valuables traveling by mail, were transformed into focus rooms.
“Working with AbelsonTaylor was a great experience and we’re delighted by the agency’s response to its new headquarters, Danielson-Veed says. “The space not only honors the legacy and future of AbelsonTaylor, but also the history and rebirth of the Old Post Office.”
Bocce court, fireplace, lounge, etc.
AbelsonTaylor staff enjoy exceptional on-site amenities as tenants of the Old Post Office, including a bar with a bocce court and pool table, a lounge with fireplace, a library, and a large fitness center with a boxing ring.
A massive 3.5-acre rooftop deck will soon offer tenants basketball courts, a running track, and open green space. A public food hall and riverfront plaza are also planned for the site.
The Old Chicago Post Office
Many have compared the Old Post Office to a skyscraper laid on its side.
Built in 1921 and expanded in 1932, it’s a sprawling Art Deco building with a footprint equal to four football fields.
In its heyday, the Chicago Post Office handled a massive volume of packages for Chicago mail-order giants like Sears Roebuck, Montgomery Ward and Spiegel.
After being vacant for more than 20 years, the landmark building was bought in 2016 by New York-based 601W Companies, which, with global design and architecture firm Gensler, is nearing completion of an $800 million renovation of the property.
The building is considered the largest adaptive re-use project in American architecture.
AbelsonTaylor was the fourth company to take space in the Old Post Office, which is now approximately 80 percent leased. Other tenants include Walgreens, PepsiCo, Uber, Cboe Global Markets, the Ferrara Candy Co. and Kroger Foods.
In addition to the many staff who played key roles in AbelsonTaylor’s move to the Old Post Office, following is a partial list of partner companies that brought the agency’s new headquarters to life.
Cushman & Wakefield – Project management
HED – Workspace design
Skender – General contractor
Syska Hennessy – MEP and AV engineers
Charter Sills – Lighting consultant
Forward Space – Furniture consultant
Gensler – Architect and designer, the Old Post Office
The Telos Group – Leasing agent, the Old Post Office
601W – Owner, the Old Post Office
Chicago-based AbelsonTaylor is one of the world’s premier health and wellness advertising agencies, offering strategic, creative, interactive, media and client service expertise. The agency’s new address is 433 W. Van Buren St., Chicago, IL, 60607. To learn more, visit abelsontaylor.com and follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.