Companies far and wide have long tried to inject the boring and sometimes soul-sucking office cubicle layout with a splash of energy to entertain potential clients, infuse energy into the team culture, and drive forward innovation. H2M, a creative marketing agency that occupies the third floor of the McCormick building in downtown Fargo is one such organization.
Off the elevator, the first things visitors see are a screen showing the latest video projects, a fully stocked bar (that is, if you only prefer Jameson and vodka), and a wall dedicated to H2M’s mission. “Advertising deserves its reputation. We’re trying to change it.”
There is no reception area at H2M or traditional lobby seating. Managing Partner, Dan Altenbernd, says that this assures there’s no pretense for visitors. “The first office is mine, and more often than not, the door is wide open.”
In the lobby you might be puzzled but charmed to find the company’s “family portrait,” a collection of the H2M staff showing off their favorite animal in colorful, upcycled picture frames.
Leaving the entryway, visitors see a long hallway washed in natural light leading to work stations. It’s easy to hear the construction of two large downtown buildings on either side. When asked about the noise, Altenbernd says, “That’s the great thing about downtown. It’s alive. It’s flourishing. There’s nowhere else we’d rather call home.”
The second of the two conference rooms sits opposite the hallways with enough space to fit H2M’s entire team.
The crown jewel of H2M’s beautiful office sits proudly in the office area. H2M’s creative team conceptualized the design of this 12’ x 8’ hand-painted mural, and it was executed by designer Adam Wiedman, who has painted a few other murals in the region.
“We took inspiration from early MTV logo treatments back when they first took the world by storm and actually played music. We tried to make something approachable and yet a little, rebellious, a little grotesque,” Wiedman says, “It’s dripping. It’s oozing. But that’s what makes a doughnut and desserts so appetizing.”
In addition to the animal-themed “family portraits” sits this meerkat, which is similar to Altenbernd’s portrait.
“It’s another element of playfulness we wanted to add into the office,” says Altenbernd.