While working together at the ad agency powerhouse Mullen, Ted Nelson, Jim Garaventi and I cultivated our knowledge of advertising and gained a deep understanding of the industry. It was at Mullen that we first began to reimagine not just the mechanics of advertising, but how an agency office could be better designed to foster creativity and build community. While we brainstormed a new model agency that could help guide top innovative brands through a fast-changing digital/analog landscape, we also began envisioning an artful and purposeful office environment that would reflect our shift from an advertising-based model to one more holistically focused on nurturing the convergence of design, entertainment and engagement, which requires a space that fosters a much more open model of creativity.
The brainstorms that the three of us had at Mullen were soon relocated off-site, to a small carriage house on the North Shore, about a half-hour outside of Boston. In this rugged, open space, which was drenched in natural light, our years of experience at Mullen helped us to define what the brand development world was missing and what we could do to fill those gaps. Our ideas about reacting to restless marketers with data and strategy eventually formed a concrete business plan and a company mission focused on three pillars: putting strategy first, practicing agile creativity, and being humanly fixated.
It was in that carriage house, where we had converted the horse stalls into a kitchen and conference rooms, that Mechanica was born. As Mechanica began to grow, the additional employees, and all the cars they drove, resulted in the eventual expansion of Mechanica’s workspace into a campus of four buildings, with our main building situated in the heart of Newburyport, overlooking the Merrimack River. A Google Earth view shows the all-glass building, located in between the U.S. Coast Guard, multiple coffee shops and other small businesses. The space is full of elegant and playful design elements, and the open workspace includes the amenities of a city corporate office, but with a small coastal city vibe.