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Omaha Magazine

Zaiss & Co. New Offices Swimming in Unique Touches

Aug 01, 2022 11:49AM ● By Jeff Lacey
zaiss co lounge with ceiling lanterns

Photo by Bill Sitzmann        

 When Zaiss & Co. decided to move locations, they knew they had to stay true to their company’s official tagline: “think like a fish.” But what did this mean? It meant that Zaiss & Co. needed a space that served their workflow needs, one their clients and employees would find appealing.

The result was their new offices on the ground floor of the recently renovated Blackstone Plaza building, located on 36th and Farnam streets. Wendy Wiseman, president and chief creative officer of Zaiss & Co., said that when they were imagining a new space, some ideas were non-negotiable. Wiseman valued an efficient, elegant floor plan that would encourage collaboration, and location. “I wanted to be where people wanted to be,” Wiseman explained.

The whole office is thematically connected via the marketing concept of ‘blue ocean.’ “When you are thinking deeply about something, it’s like going into a blue ocean of thought. That’s what we try to do constantly,” Wiseman said.  

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

The conference room is dubbed ‘blue ocean’; a room dubbed ‘the think tank’ is a library meant for reading and reflection. The office includes the ‘fish bowl,’ which features a combination of assigned individual work spaces and float/flexible work spaces; ‘the plank,’ a large corner area used for large group meetings, featuring a sectional couch and a ceiling-mounted projector; and the ‘anemone room,’ a multifunctional private room that can be used by anyone from a nursing mother to someone suffering a migraine.

There are also some special touches throughout the office’s 5,066-square-foot floor plan. One unique feature: The majority of the executive offices don’t have doors. “I’m just a real believer in collaboration and open communication,” Wiseman explained. “Someone in the office said, ‘You know, Wendy, everyone will hear your conversations,’ and I replied, ‘I know. I want people to hear how I talk to clients and vendors. If you want to hear something, and want to know more, come on in.’”

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

Another unique feature of the office is a long row of low-profile, old-school cabinets placed as a separator between the fish bowl and the traffic area. These cabinets echo back to marketing firms of the past. Zaiss & Co. use these cabinets to house memorabilia and physical elements of their 33-year history, making it a design element that serves as an archive and conversation piece.

The entire space is tied together by a bold, multicolored carpet, which was an important touch from JH Interior Design. “We love it. It has gotten a lot of positive visceral reaction from people,” Wiseman explained.

The other important piece for Wiseman was location. “We’re in the heart of where Omaha is thriving right now,” Wiseman said. 

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

Josh Sullivan of Lueder Construction, senior project manager for the Blackstone Building, said his team worked hard to synthesize the historic elements of the building with the tenant’s needs. “The original design had a lot of the existing wood wall paneling back from the ’60s when it was built, so it was a great starting point,” Sullivan said. “The modern touches and the history of the building give it a really nice finish overall.”

Finally, there is the ‘cloud room’: a heavily windowed, large space on the top floor that Mad Men ad executive Don Draper would be proud of, complete with a stone fireplace and chandeliers. Occupants can look over the skyline of Omaha, and beyond. It is the kind of touch that Wiseman loved about the building. “We want our team members to love where they work, and be proud of where they work, and this room helps.”

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This article originally appeared in the August/September 2022  issue of B2B Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

Photo by Bill Sitzmann


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