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Our Gallery of Designs

The Catalyst Ranch Portfolio is a result of embracing and living the vision of what workspaces could and should be for today and the future.


The Birth of Catalyst Ranch Design (although we didn’t know it at the time)

With brave convictions, belief in the possibilities, Catalyst Ranch Design began officially on a small scale with corporate giant, The Quaker Oats Company. Utilizing found objects, bright colors, dedication to the principles of fun and whimsy, a transformation occurred within the high towers of Corporate America’s drab windowless halls, colorless rooms and cubicles. Two “Innovation Hallways” and a “Creativity Room” bloomed in thriving little areas which pulled employees like “creative catnip.” It worked. It made a difference. Teams wanted to go there to think and create.


The Creation of Catalyst Ranch

Fanned by the acceptance and embrace of the little corner at Quaker, the creative stage was set for a full rollout of Catalyst Ranch Design. A barren meat and fish smoking warehouse in Chicago’s West Loop evolved into a comfortable and barrier eradicating space where companies could shed their corporate skins and reignite the creative thinking of their employees. Utilizing the same principles of design, but applying them to a completely unique place for corporations to go for offsite meetings, Catalyst Ranch was born. Playing off the natural light, exposed brick and wood with vintage furniture, brilliant color combinations balanced with ethnic nuances, international artwork, toys and books resulted in a space that touches a cord. Today the basic tenets of the design have been proven to be sound -- clients thrive through the experience of being at Catalyst Ranch and have provided numerous testimonials as to the effectiveness of the space. To such an extent that another floor with two additional rooms was added 2 ½ years after the initial opening.


Two University Projects walk through the doors at a Book Signing Event

We were innocently chatting with a woman during a book signing event at Catalyst Ranch, when all of a sudden, she asked whether we could bring some of the Ranch design sensibility to a challenging project she had before her – taking a University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) dreary, underutilized study area and turning it into a space where students would choose to linger. Turns out this person was actually in charge of all Campus Environment Renewal Projects for UIC, had done five other “Student Oases” and was fresh out of ideas.


Our response: “Turn us loose!” We “ranchized” the study area where seldom a student was seen and created a flourishing place within the university. The area became an Oasis where the multi-ethnicity of the students was glorified through a multitude of patterns and designs representing nations from all over the world. The area is now conducive for inspirational study.


Thrilled with the student response to the new Catalyst Ranch Oasis, UIC asked us to do a pilot classroom. The challenge was to provide a design which would recycle/reuse – keep the existing lighting, keep the student desks, minimize demolition – yet remove the prison-quality grade of the current classrooms (the campus was built during the 1960’s when universities were constructed to be “riot proof”). Once we were through, the classroom became the talk of the campus.


Catalyst Ranch runs out of space for itself!

Coming full circle, The Catalyst Ranch Design team’s most recent assignment came from the need to take on additional office space for ourselves, including a private conference room for internal meetings. As the two rooms reside within another tenant’s office space (including wall-to-wall carpeting), we were much more limited in how we could “Ranchize” the space. But, never fear, we rose to the occasional and created a space we love working in.


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West Loop Chicago