By Cindy Bailen
When you first step into Kaminario’s collaborative office space on the sixth floor of the Hillsite Office Building in the N2 Innovation District, you might assume it’s all about grand views and the flood of natural light.
The next thing you notice: a Lego table in the middle of the room.
The Legos provide a fun way for the site’s 40 employees to relax during the workday. They also represent the modular nature of the company’s data storage products.
“Our storage architecture is built to scale. We help our customers scale their businesses easily and cost effectively,” said Chief Marketing Officer Josh Epstein. “The data storage industry is crowded. To succeed, you have to do things differently.”
One way Kaminario did things differently was to create this open-concept office. The award-winning space, beautifully conceived by Israeli architect Yuval Samuelov, boasts exposed brick, funky concrete floors, mid-century modern furnishings and reclaimed lumber nooks. Supplies are tucked away in blue gym lockers. Glass-enclosed rooms have numbers worn by Boston sports greats, including Ted Williams’ #9 and Bobby Orr’s #4. There’s even a putting green set up next to a pod of desks.
Colorful, large-scale graphics, many with musical themes, enhance the walls. The James Taylor conference room displays images of old school phonographs. A working turntable sits beside a box filled with classic rock vinyl. An attendee can kick off a meeting by spinning a tune related to the topic at hand. On the practical side, conference rooms are equipped with state of the art AV and unified communications.
Hard-working employees can chill in the living area, which rocks a magnetic world map and a comfy sofa. At the far end of the space, the diner-themed kitchen offers coffee, gourmet water and an espresso machine. During a recent visit, a tray of sandwiches sat on the table for employees to enjoy. Every Thursday afternoon, Kaminario holds a Happy Hour with mandatory attendance.
When Dani Golan, the Israeli company’s founder, decided to set up a Boston area office three years ago, he was drawn to the Bulfinch Companies-owned Hillsite Office Building at 75 Second St. in Needham. And Samuelov’s design recently won an International Interior Design Association award.
The Hillsite’s immediate proximity to the Sheraton Needham Hotel and its amenities is a plus. An attached parking garage gives commuting employees a convenient place to park and its roof is the site of summer yoga classes.
“It’s the most flexibly commutable space in the Boston area,” Epstein says of the N2 Innovation District. “It’s accessible from the North Shore and the South Shore.”
From his office, Epstein has a panoramic view of the Innovation District. Most of the time, though, he’s facing inside, looking toward the office.
“It’s open,” he says, “But with enough space so you can always find a quiet place to take a call.”
Epstein, who has been with the company for about 18 months, says he joined after seeing pictures of the workspace.
“Space matters,” he says. “Collaboration matters. The culture matters. “
VC-backed Kaminario raised over $200 million last year and is looking to grow. Says Epstein, “The only way you can do that is if your employees like coming to work.”
Cindy Bailen is a real estate reporter and architectural color consultant. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.