Alongside customers, local community leaders, and executives from both its Swedish headquarters and two Asia offices, the Swedish tech company Configura
celebrated the expansion of its downtown Grand Rapids offices with a grand opening event earlier this month.
Maker of the CET Designer software, Configura was founded its original Sweden headquarters in 1990, only beginning to lay down roots in Grand Rapids in the early 2000s when company leadership began looking at cities throughout Midwest to establish a new North American presence.
While company leaders considered locations in Wisconsin and Illinois, as well as Michigan, it was The Right Place
CEO Birgit Klohs who helped them settle on Grand Rapids, touting the city’s rich history as a furniture industry capital with potential for growth into other sectors as a common-sense move toward larger goals of operational growth.
Johan Lyreborn is CEO of Configura and says Grand Rapids is his company’s second home.
“We’re proud to have a major presence in this city and to be close to the world’s largest office furniture makers as well as manufacturers in other global industries,” he says. “We’ve created a space that’s a pleasure to be in –designed to attract and retain the best talent – a space that’s great for productivity, interaction and relaxation for our employees and guests.”
Led by Sweden native and Vice President Peter Brandinger, Configura opened its Grand Rapids office in 2006 with a total of just five employees -- including Brandinger, three other Swedish staff members, and two new hires they made upon arrival to the states. Operating out of an office located at 100 Grandville Ave. over the past decade, the Grand Rapids team has grown to a staff of 40 employees, prompting company leaders to relocate to a larger space with more potential for expansion last spring in the nearby Blue 35 building on Oakes Street.
Using its own space-planning software, CET Designer, to design its new 12,000-square-foot space, the project’s lead designer Kendra Steinhaus began the planning process with a few rounds of small, casual employee meetings to give the staff a chance to talk about what kind of space they wanted to see come together.
“Although we’re the developers of CET Designer, it’s not every day that we use the software ourselves to design and bring an entire space to life. Using CET Designer to create our new office space helped me see how our users experience the software,” says Steinhaus, adding that the software was particularly useful during those small group meetings, or “design charrettes,” because it allowed for real-time collaboration.
With its recent expansion opening up the final two floors of the Blue35 building, the top floor of the new space is now home to marketing, sales, human resources, and finance teams along with a large communal kitchen and relaxation area. Research and development, along with training and support functions, are housed in the floor below that, and both floors feature big windows with lots of natural light afforded to the open-concept desk space.
Configura’s new office space also features a rooftop deck on the outside, while its interior includes a large communal area with a full kitchen, soft seating, pool and ping-pong tables, a popcorn machine, darts, and a shuffleboard alongside a “quiet room” available for taking naps and for nursing mothers.
“People need opportunities to step away from their work,” says Steinhaus. “They need fresh air and private spaces. And they need places to connect with one another we designed the new office to meet these needs.”
For more information about Configura and its CET Designer software, visit www.configura.com.
Written by Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor?
Images courtesy of Configura
Configura: A Swedish Company with a Grand Rapids Home
Swedish tech company Configura expands into GR’s Blue35 building with high-tech digs