Friday, September 16, 2011

Working it

This week's edition of fresh water features my story on some of the hippest places to work in Cleveland.

I am not an envious person. Sure, I love me some cool stuff, but I do not begrudge others their baubles and bangles. Walking through these offices, however, I inflated with one wistful sigh after another. These repurposed spaces combine art with function and modern flair with vintage style. Cleveland history haunts every hallway.

The buildings I stepped into for this article delighted and amazed me. You might even say I was intoxicated by the tours. Here's a few pix of the spaces, their interiors, exteriors and details. There's plenty more tagged pictures within the article.

Confidential to Clevelanders: Larsen Architects occupies the space that housed the Marius, where your humble hostess bussed tables at the tender age of 15 in 1980. The continental restaurant was part of the once-famed Lake Shore Hotel.

The Tower Press Building and the Artcraft Building were originally constructed as part of Cleveland's garment district, where the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union (ILGWU) staged significant strikes in the early 1900's. Your humble hostess's great grandmother, Emily Krial Doubler, was a card carrying member of that Union.


Erin O'Brien said...


I just discovered that blogger has added a slideshow type feature. Just click any pic in the post and it should launch automatically.


danb said...

Love it!

I immediately recognized the building in photo #3, but I don't remember where it is exactly... is it off of I-90 between W44 and W25th?

I love re-using the previously used. Makes more sense to me.


Erin O'Brien said...

That's the Artcraft building at E. 25th and Superior downtown, Dan--so utilitarian outside and breathtakingly beautiful inside.

Extreme. Cleveland. LOVE.

lori said...

I work really close to Artcraft - have always wanted to go in there.

Leslie Morgan said...

I'm not even a Clevelander, and I get it, EOB. Some things transcend location. Cool, retro, nostalgic, hip, slick and cool translate into all languages. I'd put my funky little workspot up with the best of them and should take the time to feature it. Though in my world, the quirky vintage people outshine all the best of the "stuff".

LOVE the ILGWU Organizer's Commission, but of course! Ex was a union organizer, a different stripe of animal from a representing advocate which was my role. All of it wonderfully challenging and fulfilling. Thank you for today's wonderful post!

twinkly sparkles said...

I covet everything anybody else has and therefore I live in constant sin.

For instance, I want all of those colorful vintage dishes in that photo up there. Which office are these from?

Even in our tiny town, empty spaces sit and sit while town planners and far-off developers plan and build new buildings. The short-sightedness and waste makes me crazy.

Every American industrial city has beautiful old buildings--factories, warehouses, department stores, offices. I think it is fantastic when the dollars available are used to restore and refurbish.

Great article. It's positive, fun, and refreshing. I love the quote from the guy who says the space likes when people are in it.

I am not from Cleveland, but rather the really big town to the north and west, Detroit. I understand that they simply razed most of downtown. Poof, dust. American tears as we shipped the manufacturing to places where owners didn't have to take care of their workers with things like a living wage. It's the great short-sighted tragedy of our recent history. Consume but don't produce...

Keep up the good work, Erin. Excellent!

g. said...

pregnant dress forms?


Erin O'Brien said...

Aw Leslie, I hope you do a post on your workspace.

Twinks, that photo was taken in the prop room of the Kalman & Pabst Photo Studio.

G: And note how the dress forms represent different states of pregnancy. WOW!

Anonymous said...

Erin-I worked at @24th 7 Superior, before they started cleaning up anything down there. Cool buildings with a very utilitarian bent. It's a little more pleasant down there than 10 years ago...

philbilly said...

I have heard a story that claims the tower concealed a water holding tank for the operations below. The founder had not greased palms and his access to sufficient water was being curtailed in retaliation.
Around the corner was the old City Jail, built in 1939, demolished in the 90's. As forbidding a building as you've ever seen. It looked like a place you didn't want to be.
Fastened around the cinder block loading dock wall out back were deteriorating sheets of steel that were beautifully stamped to look like a sandstone brick wall. An attempt during a later addition to mimic the original behemoth. I always wanted to snag some of that stuff as it rotted away, but I didn't want to go to jail.

Erin, the table sans canopy facing the Lake Erie looks like Quay 55.
There appear to be two storefront vacancies there. A coffee shop just closed. Run properly, a cafe there could attract a big Downtown/Midtown crowd. If the service and java were excellent, I would be there every day. When I scheduled meetings with associates there, they loved the lakefront view, the surroundings and the ability to jump right off and on the Shoreway. Service, not so much.
Just sayin.

Erin O'Brien said...

Hey Lori, if you're still with us, thanks for dropping in!

Mike, we can only hope the upward swing continues.

Phil, that's the back deck of LeanDog, which is in the old Hornblower's barge next to the USS Cod. They reportedly have skateboard riding pooches there.

Now the readership will excuse me while I swoon over a fresh batch of Lecho.

twinkly sparkles said...

Erin O'Brien said...

At first, Twinks, I thought that Bidwell fellow was Bill Gates. Have to check out the new gallery. I think I know just where it is. Thanks.

Joe said...

I spent a number of years working in an old 1920's era art deco building. The lobby was marble, each of the five floors sported a brass and glass mail chute that led to a massive brass mailbox in the lobby. Each floor had a built in vacuum connection for the janitorial staff. It no longer worked.

Alas, for most of the five plus years I kept my sales office in the building I was the only tenet. I used to walk the floors and stairs at lunch time seeing 'what was' in my mind's eye. The collective histories of the doctors and lawyers and businesses that came and went through good times and bad haunted me every day.

Today the building sits vacant on the town square. Its five story edifice looking over a dying downtown.

I loved this post and article.

Erin O'Brien said...

Thanks, Joe. I loved writing it.

I sure hope the right lover finds your lonely Grande Dame.

Leslie Morgan said...

Today I bought and planted a "Peace" rose bush in my yard next to the pool. I'm working on a little sign saying the roses are dedicated to the memory of Emily Krial Doubler and other flowers of similar sensibilities. I'll send a pic when I've completed my little project. Thank you, Erin, for so many, many things.

Erin O'Brien said...

Leslie, that is so sweet and charming, I cannot thank you enough!

Lord Basil said...

Cleveland was destroyed by union goons, and union goons still dominate the city scape.

And leave it to a liberal to inject union goon politics into a perfectly nice photo essay.

But that's what liberals do - destroy anything they touch.

sarahm59 said...

yes lord basil. things worked much better when garment workers could not take potty breaks and could burn to death in horrific fires...