PKWARE, Inc. - Milwaukee Office

PKWARE knew location is the key to visibility and recruitment so the security software firm moved their global headquarters to Milwaukee’s Walkers Point neighborhood, amongst entrepreneurs, engineers, and creative thinkers. The 1901 Art Deco building, originally home to Pittsburgh Plate Glass Enamel and on the National Register of Historic Places, had open floors ripe for collaboration and creativity. Natural lighting through factory windows, open concrete structure and a view of Milwaukee’s downtown were attractive features.

The space is comprised of a full floor and partial floor joined by an open staircase left by an abandoned project.  We co-joined the two spaces separating the collaborative “mind factory” work environment and the open “3” playroom, making sense of both spaces.

The major challenges in transforming the space into a 21st Century technology hub were the extremely tight timeframe – 8 weeks from the signed lease to move in – and an equally tight budget. We selected materials with immediate availability and worked directly with the contractor to find dimmable lighting appropriate in level and color to software designers and engineers, working through how the lighting would look and bounce off the rough concrete ceiling and perimeter glass with the building standard blinds breaking the glare.

An additional challenge was to determine the best way to position open offices for the executive team.  Previously, all had private offices.  These individuals are now visible while maintaining a sense of privacy with clear glass sliding barn doors creating a sense of access.  Additional space considerations revolved around the intensity of the work, and the level of concentration and focus required.  For balance, the space for rejuvenation and play called “3” (and on the third floor) features a pool table, ping pong tables, a fireplace, cowhide seating, stainless steel kitchen, and an open board room.  The space combines the edginess of a boutique hotel with the playfulness of a college union.

Each element (carpet, lighting, furniture, art, paint, and color) was selected to enhance and inspire the occupants’ ability to perform world-class work.  For example, carpet tile sensitive to the rough concrete coloration of the columns and exposed ceiling offers enough color and large scale pattern to create movement and a sense of connection from the far west executive end to the far east software development end.  The density and nap assists in acoustical control and to further mitigate noise, the HVAC was designed to act as white noise.

The artwork at the entrance and above the open staircase (see photos and section), is a  double sided painting by Ron Kempton,   one side named “Arm Yourself” and the other “Challenge Yourself.” On “3,” the “Guardian Bell” sculpture by Brock Rumohr is based on biker lore. 

The space plan allows the company to expand and contract and always feel that it was right-sized.   Teknion height adjustable workstations and cushion topped credenzas are standard issue for all.  Lockers keep with the “factory” theme and act as a barrier between the workspace and east – west walkway. 

Note: You will find a case study by Milliken, PKWARE: A Case Study, included with the pictures to the left.

Photos © Tricia Shay Photograph

Photos 1,2, & 3 courtesy of PKWARE



'Guardian Bell' Sculpture @ PKWARE

The Guardian Bell sculpture is installed at PKWARE in the hub area as a reminder that collaboration and working together can accomplish any goal.

The idea for the HDM Guardian Bell Sculpture is based on the biker lore that the hanging of a small bell gifted to you by a fellow biker on the underside of your motorcycle will ward off evil road spirits and present a clear and safe path for travels. By combining Harley Davidson parts into a bell form, the artist wanted to pay homage to the history and kinship that Harley riders feel for each other in a large scale, chromed out, visceral way. When the Guardian Bell was installed for the Blazin’Yule event in the HDM entrance, museum- goers were encouraged to sign a strip off cloth and tie it to the piece. Over the course of the event, the Bell was transformed into a record of community energy and reflected the HDM world-wide reach as people visited form a multitude of countries.

The sculpture was created by Brock Rumohr, a Wisconsin visual artist.

Guardian Bell Photos © Chemistry in Place






PKWARE, Inc. - Video Walkthrough

PKWARE's Matt Little takes us on a walkthrough of PKWARE's Milwaukee office. Video courtesy of PKWARE.















PKWARE, Inc. - Milwaukee's Coolest Offices

PKWARE's newly renovated office was recently included in the Milwaukee Business Journal's 'Milwaukee's Coolest Offices' feature. The Milwaukee Business Journal regularly features some of southeastern Wisconsin's coolest office spaces on their website, with a story and photos.

Please follow this link to read the entire story.










PKWARE, Inc. - Tatto Painting Art Installation

Title: Arm Yourself  (Painting facing west -  elevators/entrance)
Title: Challenge Yourself  (Painting facing east – teams)
Artist: Ron Kempton (Mid-career artist, resides in Denver, CO, work in private and corporate collections globally)
Media: Acrylic on canvas
The paintings were commissioned as a statement to who PKWARE is and how PKWARE  products positively impact the ability for companies to function, compete and thrive in our world of ever increasing security threats and breaches.
The back to back canvases are messages to PKWARE’s customers and to PKWARE’s   teams.
On the side that greets visitors as they enter the space, PKWARE appears as a tattoo on the outside of an outstretched arm. PKWARE is a permanent and lasting (physical) encryption.  An encryption and expression that says: “We arm and defend against risk, empowering customers to take control.”
On the side that faces PKWARE’s teams, the inside of the outstretched arm has tattoos depictive of armor. Skin remains yet to receive tattoos. It says: “Your mission is to create solutions to defend our customers against threats. Leverage your intellectual capacity and collaborative genius. Create world class products worthy to be tattooed on this open arm.”
Our world is in motion.  ‘Arm Yourself’ and ‘Challenge Yourself’ capture what is and what will be. They are challenges  to take PKWARE into the future to come up with new products that PKWARE can proudly add, tattooed to the inside of  open arm.