It’s weird for something as common as string and nails to represent a competitive advantage, but for us, it does.
Think about every consulting company you’ve ever visited. Chances are when you were sitting in the lobby, waiting on your meeting, you saw the same thing. A large, flat-screen TV mounted right in eyesight of everyone who walks in. Maybe it had the company logo, a recent Twitter feed, a dashboard or two. Perhaps a motivational quote.
That’s fine for most consultancies. But at Table XI, we know our culture drives our clients’ success. And we wanted our collaborative culture that’s always focused on building unique things to be the first thing our guests see. So when we moved into our new loft space five years ago, we wanted to design something that reflected the passion, curiosity and creativity of our people.
Drawing inspiration from the artists at Tactile Typography, we plotted a unique interpretation of our logo. Armed with hammers, nails and various colors of green string our team got to work looping and tying and connecting hundreds of nodes, until our logo popped out of the white space on the wall.
The finished project is a metaphor for how we work together.
- We collaborate: This project was an all-hands effort — our designers, developers, strategists and project managers all had to work together to make the finished artwork.
- We like to build things: Normally that building takes place in Post-it notes, wireframes and code, so lifting a hammer was a nice change. Still, we applied the same rigor we use to make software to our artwork. The design is engineered so that no matter the angle, the myriad string intersections really do evoke our logo.
- We like to design unique experiences: We don’t want our clients to have a cookie-cutter website. And we don’t want our office to have a cookie-cutter lobby with a TV front-and-center. This artwork feels much more like Table XI than a dashboard or Twitter feed ever could.
When we had our golden anniversary a few years ago — a play on the XI in our name that some mistake for an 11 — we commissioned artist Ethan Orbach to draw the first 11 years of our history. Not only did he capture some of our favorite moments and early clients, he also captured the message about our company rendered in string.
A few months ago, our art came under threat. Our design team needed us to expand one of our offices so it could be used to facilitate our new Google Ventures design sprint process. We needed to move the wall our artwork is hammered into, and so we brought an unusual request to the architects in charge of the project: Save our artwork! Our brilliant builders were able to pull off their own engineering feat, picking up and moving the wall without so much as damaging our art.
Now, when you walk in our doors, you won’t see a TV. You’ll see Ellen, who makes our whole operation run. You’ll see the Lego models our team has built together, a tiki hut where impromptu meetings happen and a bookcase full of quotes that inspire us — in book format. And then you’ll see our art, knit together by all the members of our team and a few members of our community. It says much more about us than any TV monitor ever could.