American Society for Surgery of the Hand  - Creativity Room


Create a space within the new ASSH offices where employees could work either individually, in small teams or host meetings for the entire office or visiting doctors. The room needed to have enough private areas for multiple individuals to work and concentrate, yet be flexible and able to be easily reconfigured for a total group convening. One wall needed to be a dry-erase wall. The main directive was for the space to be inspiring, a creative environment and to have one "wow" component.


  • Empty room with reclaimed wood floors, some exposed brick walls

  • 11 ft. ceilings

  • Industrial lighting

  • An entire wall of windows


We started by taking advantage of the high ceilings and designing a tree house! Our carpenter artisan created the bark by collecting all the scrap wood from other projects and layering them around the base of one column which acted as one of the supports and created another around the opposing support. Branches were gathered and wrapped with colorful yarn from which painted pine cones were suspended. Underneath we hung a hammock swing and created a coffee table from an old tree trunk.

We sourced all the furniture from vintage stores and reupholstered the pieces which needed new fabric. All the art was purchased from resale and vintage stores. The curtains and pillows were all hand sewn by a textile artist. The barn door was made by our artisan carpenter from reclaimed wood.


I have admired Eva Niewiadomski’s work since my first trip to Catalyst Ranch in 2009.  I would rent a Catalyst Ranch space at least once a year for staff retreats.


When I moved our office downtown to our own building, there was an opportunity to have our own “Ranch Room.”  I commissioned Eva to design a room from scratch for a space I had, and she executed the project flawlessly.  Although every one of our staff members has her or his own work station, it’s not unusual to find a quarter or a third of our staff working in what we call the Innovation Ranch in the afternoon in their own areas of the Ranch.  One of the most popular spots has become a treehouse, which Eva built into the Ranch.  We do most of our staff meetings now in the Ranch.  It is the center piece of our new office.


Most of our staff are millennials, and they don’t like traditional boxes.  The spaces Eva creates support and facilitate creative problem solving.  I know we have gained efficiencies, productivity, and break through solutions by being able to work in a creative space.  Our Ranch spaces have become one of our competitive advantages as an organization.


Mark C. Anderson

Executive Vice President & CEO


American Society for Surgery of the Hand

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West Loop Chicago