Originally posted on DCI’s website Member Spotlight section
Enter Tamara Schwarting, a former Procter & Gamble manager. As a consultant, Tamara noticed a lack of local options for mid-to-late career independent professionals who desire attentive service and high-design; much like the coworking spaces, she had experienced in bigger cities around the world. With her experience at P&G and her passion for art and design, it was a gap she knew she could fill.
She began with a research process to fully understand the needs of her potential users. She determined that her brand must solve fundamental problems for driven, successful, and passionate people lost in a sea of home offices and coffee shops. Before she had a name or a logo or a lease, she set down key insights that would drive every decision from development of the brand identity to the design and layout of the space to the type of paper available for note-taking in conference rooms.
“Everything flows from the brand,” says Schwarting. “We are not just providing space or desks, we’re offering our members an experience so seamless that they’re not even aware of the level of detail, they just feel this sense of comfort and security so they can focus on what’s most important to them.”
The name, 1628 was chosen to invite a sense of history and place as well as intrigue and elegance. The 6000 square feet space spreads across two floors in the historic Doctor’s Building, 11 Garfield Place, across the street from Piatt Park. The building also houses LPK, a global brand and innovation consultancy. The first floor of 1628 features contemporary clear chairs around sturdy wooden tables, multiple soft-seating areas, a large conference room and two smaller rooms for meetings and calls. The interior design, by local firm, HighStreet, is solidly contemporary with classic accents, such as the high-backed navy velvet chairs seated in the waiting area. Sheer curtains separate the three large work tables on the first floor to give teams a sense of privacy and separation without feeling cramped.
The second-floor features open seating and three smaller conference rooms with jet black tables and soft purple chairs. The windows look out towards the historic skyscrapers for which downtown Cincinnati is known. The upstairs invites collaboration and conversation with its dedicated whiteboard wall and more relaxed ambiance.
The art on the walls is a rotating collection curated by partnerships with local art collectors, galleries, and institutions. Each time they hang a new exhibition, 1628 hosts an opening for members and artists. “I believe the art on our walls should inspire and challenge. Art creates an environment in which people want to do their best work and be their best selves. It’s very important to 1628 to continue to bring in new artists that will push our perspectives and spark creativity,” says Schwarting. The 1628 team is constantly observing and collecting data to determine how to better serve the membership. There are simple lunch ordering systems built into iPads around the space, products for sprucing up before a meeting, and wine and beer for winding down after a long day. But that just scratches the surface. Every object serves a purpose: to satisfy a need or to awaken desire.
People are noticing. Schwarting consistently receives feedback from members and guests expressing surprise that a space like hers exists in this corner of the Midwest. Companies like Schwarting’s represent the Midwest of the 21st century and are bringing design aesthetic and services that were historically seen only on the coasts. In addition to office space, 1628 hosts a variety of private events and meetings for companies based in Cincinnati or companies looking to grow a presence in the region. More information about 1628 can be found at www.1628Ltd.com.