Office N Illinois

Cicero's Development reinvigorates Chicago photo studio offices

Located in Chicago, Clutch Studios creates, produces and distributes brand marketing content for clients that range from Walt Disney to Harley-Davidson. With creativity at its core, Clutch Studios envisioned a renovation of its 4,000-square-foot offices into an open, uncluttered space that fostered fresh thinking and collaboration. But there was a catch: work had to be completed on an especially tight deadline, within the two-week window in late December when employees were on vacation.

Cicero’s Development Corp., a Chicago area general contractor specializing in commercial renovation, stepped up with a day-by-day construction plan to keep the project on schedule and within budget, aiming to have Clutch Studios open for business on January 2, 2018 in its fresh new space.

“Commercial renovation can be a challenging experience for contractors during the holidays,” said Sam Cicero, Jr., president of Cicero’s Development Corp. “Our 50 years of experience have given the Cicero’s team a clear understanding of the logistics of scheduling material deliveries, third party vendors and employees to get the work done on-time so it doesn’t drag on longer than necessary. Some vendors and suppliers are closed during this time of the year, so if anything’s missed or needed, there can be delays.”

On the upside, doing renovation work in an unoccupied space comes with advantages. The offices being closed ensured that Clutch Studios employees wouldn’t be inconvenienced or put in harm’s way. “Also, it allows for a far broader scope with more work done in less time,” Cicero said, “because sequencing is more flexible during holidays to schedule activities.”

Notable design considerations included the removal of existing wall partitions, doors and hardware that served to separate employees from one another. Large expanses of new flooring would emphasize the openness, while the walls provided a canvas to showcase inspirational blowups of the studio’s best work. On the more practical side, Clutch Studios also required additional workspaces to be installed, along with electrical wiring and data lines as it scaled to meet the demands of a growing client list.

The project began December 18 and was wrapped up on January 5 when a final walk-through was performed. The layout is now an uncluttered space that clears employee’s minds so they can focus on creating big ideas for their Fortune 500 clients.

As with every project, Cicero’s team ran into obstacles to overcome. For one, during the first week of demolition the team could only perform work from 6:00 PM to 8:00 AM. Next, the building lacked the necessary parking for the delivery of materials. Thankfully, a nearby elevator and dumpster made loading and unloading trouble-free. Finally, because of a strong year-end workload, a scattering of Clutch Studios employees were called in over the holidays to finish up creative projects. As a result, safety precautions needed to be quickly put into place to protect the workers.