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HqO at 16 Tech: Serving up innovation, creativity, and connection

As the heartbeat of activity for 16 Tech tenants and visitors, HqO fosters connections and inspires innovation.

HqO at 16 Tech: Serving up innovation, creativity, and connection

With a vision to create opportunity, cultivate community, and facilitate discovery, 16 Tech Innovation District is a 50-acre, mixed-use downtown community under development in Indianapolis. For the district’s innovation hub—HqO—16 Tech Community Corporation needed a space that would give entrepreneurs, makers, and visitors a unique opportunity to grow their networks, further their ideas, and enjoy a spectrum of experiences.

“HqO is like the student union of 16 Tech,” said Emily Krueger, chief operating officer at 16 Tech Community Corporation. “When people talk about going to 16 Tech, this is the building they will want to go to. From that perspective, it’s integral to the overall district, and the activities taking place in the building are key to the innovation ecosystem we’re building.”

Those activities occur in HqO’s flexible work and incubator space managed by national operator 1776, the Machyne makerspace, and the AMP food hall. 16 Tech Community Corporation selected OfficeWorks to furnish the spaces for 1776 and Machyne, as well as the organization’s office, which also resides in HqO.

Bringing new meaning to “adaptive reuse”

By transforming a facility built in 1959, 16 Tech Community Corporation wanted to embrace existing elements like exposed columns and brick walls while introducing a clean, contemporary look and feel that would attract entrepreneurs, service providers, and partners. And 16 Tech’s focus on innovation meant HqO needed to continue adapting well into the future as needs and tenants change.

“We worked to make the furniture as flexible as possible so it can be moved around and used in a variety of ways,” said Ashley Stanton, account executive at OfficeWorks. That spirit of flexibility also applied to the color scheme.

“The HqO logo has a lot of color and energy, but we also wanted to create opportunities for our member companies to show off their signage and space,” Emily said. “OfficeWorks worked with us to select pieces that create a palate for people to build on.”

For 16 Tech Community Corporation’s office, OfficeWorks explored multiple solutions to address the ever-changing nature of work and the needs of the 16 Tech team.

“It was exciting to partner with OfficeWorks to design our own space, especially since it’s the first time our team has had an office that we own,” Emily said. “This allowed us to talk about how we wanted to work as a team and to choose furniture that promotes our ideal culture.”

Designing for diverse partners and experiences

Having created spaces across the country, the leaders of 1776 and Machyne had a clear vision for their facilities.

“Each partner has a unique culture and identity, and we wanted that to come through in this single building,” Emily said. “OfficeWorks achieved that through working with the different partners and architects to develop solutions that made sense for each user. We appreciated how OfficeWorks engaged with the multiple stakeholders to meet their needs.”

According to Emily, OfficeWorks’ approach also applied to how the team collaborated with one of 16 Tech’s preferred manufacturers, Poppin.

“We appreciated OfficeWorks’ willingness to work with Poppin to develop design solutions that met our goals,” Emily said.

The OfficeWorks team placed certain types of furniture in specific areas depending on location and function. For example, iconic HAY pieces are in a prominent area of HqO. As a more permanent fixture in the building, 16 Tech Community Corporation’s office features more storage as well as Herman Miller’s Canvas Vista system, which provides the functionality the team needs in an aesthetic that compliments the overall design.

“Since we moved in, I’ve been working my way through the building, trying out spaces,” Emily said. “I love the variety and the fact I can have different experiences throughout HqO.”

The mix of furniture extends to the meeting rooms, where members have plenty of options. For example, “clubhouse” rooms feature a blend of seating options—like lounge areas and high-top table and chairs—that create a casual space with a unique atmosphere.

“HqO has more amenity and conference room spaces than a typical office building,” Emily said. “OfficeWorks helped us identify the range of intended uses and furniture that would support them, all while providing a vibrant, energetic, and modern feel.”

Overcoming complexities to deliver a new workplace environment

As with many projects initiated in 2020, the COVID pandemic added complexities to HqO’s development, highlighting the importance of a conscientious, collaborative approach.

“OfficeWorks’ customer service, teamwork, and flexibility helped us move the project forward,” Emily said. “Throughout the project, Ashley was on top of things and provided us with options that met our goals and budget.”

“I’m thankful that the 16 Tech team was incredible to work with and that we got through it together,” Ashley said. “It was fulfilling to be a trusted partner on the design side and to provide value beyond the furniture. I also enjoyed seeing the impact 16 Tech is making on the community and am grateful to have had a hand in that through this project.”

Now that HqO is open, 16 Tech’s members are excited about their new environment. They’re personalizing their spaces and using them as intended, which is always an important goal for the OfficeWorks team.

“As the nature of work has changed over the past year, it’s rewarding to see how our spaces are even more relevant,” Emily said. “People and companies are excited about returning to the office and collaborating but also want their workplace to be different than it was before the pandemic. With HqO, we’re delivering on that expectation.”

Project Team:
Owner’s Rep: CORE Planning Strategies (now J.S. Held)
Architect of Record: DKGR
Architect: ISA (Office) and Meticulous Design (Makerspace)