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Omaha Magazine

A Gallery of Artists Showcasing Their Crafts

Jan 20, 2020 12:02PM ● By Carrielle Sedersten

At OBI Creative, walking up the stairs to the second floor as the hallway rounds the bend leads to floor-to-almost-ceiling glass panes reflecting sunshine from the west basking the hallway in a glow of warm, white light.

A wall of glass panes encases the office. Where a ceiling would normally hit is a row of rectangular mirrors extending from the glass wall at an angle that grows larger as it stretches the length of the entrance. The effect reflects the words ‘hope is not a strategy’ on the ground.

“The idea [behind the mirrors] was that we understand that you as a client or a prospective client, this is about you,” said Mary Ann O’Brien, founder and CEO of OBI Creative. “It’s not about us.”

OBI Creative produces aesthetically charming work. The office is a showcase of that brilliant work—with light gray concrete floors and crisp white walls accented with an array of saturated pink, green, blue, and purple jewel-tones. But nothing in this office exists solely for pleasure. Every detail is intentional—from the dark brown plank brought from their previous office in Midtown that hangs outside O’Brien’s office as a reminder to be brave to a writable wall with artwork depicting the right and left brain in the main collaborative space.  The wall’s artwork is a visual to help the strategic and creative sides of the business to come together and share ideas.

The open office concept is a hit at OBI Creative. It allows them to have the kinetic energy that comes from organic collaboration that O’Brien feels is essential for a business. It is something they didn’t have at their old office.

The old office also didn’t have a lot of natural light. When designing the office at the Lumberyard District in Millard, having lots of natural light was non-negotiable.

The office has so much light coming from the windows on both sides of the building, the skinny fluorescent lights hanging diagonally across the exposed white ceiling are hardly noticeable.

As things are rarely straightforward in advertising and marketing, at the OBI office, 90-degree lines are hardly visible.

“Nothing’s normal at all,” O’Brien says. “I don’t like predictable at all. Even the way we hung the lights was by design. There’s lots of angles. I like color and lights. I wanted everything to be art.”

giant Lite Brite at OBI Creative

That goes for the overall design of the office space, as different textures of wood and concrete mix with plaster and plastic as well as physical artwork on the walls like the custom giant Light Brite that spans from floor to ceiling to the lion spirit animal made of the brand’s colors to a framed shattered glass pane representing breaking the glass ceiling. It’s not beautiful for beauty’s sake. It’s functional art with intention.

A big theme at OBI is that everyone is an artist of their own craft. And what does every artist need to thrive? Inspiration.

O’Brien knows that, which is why it’s her intention to have everything in the office “light you up.” In the same way walking through a gallery and stopping to admire pieces of art gives perspective and sparks the imagination. Creativity gets results.


Visit obicreative.com for more information.

This article was printed in the February/March 2020 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

the lobby at OBI Creative