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The Undeniable Siren Song of Archrival: Calling Out to Creativity

May 27, 2021 02:12PM ● By Chris Hatch
graffiti covered conference room with ping pong

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The German word wunderkammer means “cabinet of curiosities,” an idea that arose in 1500s Europe as repositories for all manner of wondrous and exotic objects. Those who follow the wunderkammer that flows through the heart of Archrival’s offices like an atrial artery might find themselves drifting back through a wooden time portal, learning about the beginnings of what has become one of Lincoln’s premier youth culture agencies.

That’s not a mistake.

“I’ve always really liked the wunderkammer. The stories that are found inside the objects in the wall,” said Archrival CEO and Founder Clint Runge. “There’s a bit of warmth to all these different chapters of Archrival that are found along the way.”

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He pointed to the upper right hand corner of the cabinet, eyes suddenly glittering. 

“When I see that book up there, in that very top corner. That piece, at that time period was the single coolest thing I’d ever made.” Runge leaned forward and talked about one of the earliest pieces of marketing materials he had created, where it was placed in the wooden trophy box to serve as inspiration some decades later. 

“I was so proud of it and I’m still proud of it,” he continued. “And it was so different at the time. No uniformity, all the pages were different. All my energy, every ounce of creativity I had went into that. I remember the goosebumps I got when that came back from the printer.”

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Underneath the asphalt umbrella of four lanes heading East and West, nestled in the hub of the Railyard district in Lincoln, Archrival and their offices continue with that same level of nonconformity and passion.

The short brick building has cheese-grater metal steps, and the singular front door has one word on it: “Hello.”

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Next to the front desk, a few steps past the neon company logo and the custom-branded arcade game, visitors can follow the exposed bricks and silver ductwork past a freshly constructed podcast studio—completed in an effort to counteract some of the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic—into the thick of the office.

“We teamed up with BVH [Architecture],” Runge said. “Getting to work closely with them allowed me to do what I’m good at, which is some of the design thinking. We ended up with something better than we would have, independently.”

“[It’s] something that represents who we are,” said Amy Filipi, the head of communications at Archrival. “A work hard/play hard space that can evolve as we continue to evolve.”

Every bit as illuminating as the multitude of windows that let in cityscape and sun in equal parts are the murals that adorn the walls. Murals from San Antonio and Portland featuring the canine grins of the company’s many dog friends and pingpong-playing robots.

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 “We wanted a flexible space that reflects our values,” Runge said. “We do a lot of creative problem solving, so it’s great if our space reflects a place that creatives would want to be in, be a part of, do their best work from. We wanted to invest in a space that felt like it could be anywhere in the world.”

The art at Archrival doesn’t stay restricted to the inside of the building. In the alley is the neon, benign black hole of a full-building mural, designed to gravitationally pull at the frontal cortex of artists and dreamers and creatives.

“The alley mural is great.” Runge said, beaming. “It’s a part of the fabric of the Haymarket that’s fun to explore. Part of the fact that I know that it’s accepted is that no one has tagged it. No one has come back over the top of it. That says something in and of itself, right?”

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This article originally appeared in the June 2021 issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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