Inside Chris Breen's Office at Chemistry

A skeleton crew and the wise words of Nelson Mandela

The theory behind Chemistry's office and my personal workspace are the same—strip away the distractions and focus on making. We're a "Culture Lab." As such, our space needs to serve as a place to explore, create, test and then start over again the next day.

Our Atlanta office is housed in a converted warehouse at the edge of West Midtown. It has a uniquely industrial feel to it, but somehow still feels very modern. Every couple of minutes, trains roll past our back windows. It's kind of cool and somewhat therapeutic. 

My office in particular is designed to bring the creative department together. With an open-door policy (literally, I do not have a door), a communal table and glass walls that pour out into the creative department, I wanted it to feel more like a nook within the department. A place anyone can use when they need to hop on a call or take a meeting. 

I have a piece art that a local graffiti artist did for me. It's a quote from Nelson Mandela: "May your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears." I hung it front and center as a reminder to myself and everyone else in the office. It's easy to become a pessimist in this line of work. I think the people who truly do well are those who enjoy the act of making and understand that it's a lot like baseball. You hit .300 with 30 home runs and you're a rock star. You can't let a strikeout get in the way of swinging for the fences. So corny. And I'm not even a baseball fan. 

I do have a few other knickknacks around. I picked up some cool handmade ceramic skeletons of soccer players the day we won the Atlanta United business. I have also placed a bunch of old school clocks around the office. Never realized I was so into symbolism. I just like the reminder that time is the one thing we can't get back. If you're not hustling and trying to outthink the competition, then you're losing. Plus, old clocks look cool. 

Finally, I have a framed quote my dad had in his office for years. It reads, "One word is worth a thousand pictures." It reminds me of him and probably explains my contrarian nature.

I grew up in the business at CP+B, and I took a piece of that with me everywhere I went. I think our lab is probably not too different from their factory. So, I collect things that speak to culture and personal experiences. I think we are trying to create something that is always changing and moving with culture. That's why we don't hang up our work as a symbol of pride. We know it will be obsolete in six months, and something new and different will be there in its place. But a Mandela quote, that will last forever.

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Chris Breen
Chris Breen is partner and chief creative officer at Atlanta-based independent full-service agency Chemistry.

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