Guest Editorial: Office Space

By The Happy Wanderer

In Old Town Scottsdale, we shatter stereotypes. Instead of building a boring history museum, we created the interactive and entertaining Museum of the West. Instead of erecting an ugly run-of-the-mill apartment complex (the Broadstone Waterfront notwithstanding…), we built the Optima Camelview Village, which has garnered national architectural acclaim.

Even Old Town’s gun stores shot through the mold and were anything but ordinary. Remember Mandall’s Shooting Supplies off Scottsdale Road? Its owners eschewed generic logos and chose to advertise their wares with a sign of cute and cuddly teddy bear caressing a machine gun.

After Mandall’s closed in 2014, native Arizonan and photographer Michelle Biely stepped in to convert the empty store into something different. In a short amount of time, Biely renovated the vacant space into The Creative Center of Scottsdale. Since 2016, the Creative Center has helped redefine office space as we know it. Check it out here.

Typically, the word “office” conjures banalities that bore us. Cramped cubicles with headache-inducing fluorescent lights. The Mr. Coffee coffeemaker that drips everywhere. And let’s not forget, the obligatory red Swingline stapler that all employees fight over.

Biely’s coworking space has none of that. Though it’s geared primarily towards artists, it exemplifies Scottsdale at its best, as Mayor Lane loves to say. It’s a 4,000-square-foot facility with two studios and 12 10-foot by 10-foot cubicle areas. Design-wise, there are large windows everywhere, letting the 15 artists who work and create there to take in the ample Arizona sunlight, as well as interact extensively with consumers who are walking by and are looking for the next great artistic masterpiece. Finally, this work environment enables the artists who work there to adopt the four Cs: creativity, collaboration, comfort and congeniality.

Scottsdale hasn’t always been kind to artists and their endeavors. We’ve written extensively about the Scottsdale adventures of Aaron Bass. He’s the local muralist who has worked extremely hard to raise funds and paint a mural honoring the late Senator John McCain but has faced more obstacles than an Olympic track athlete.

In the case of Biely and the Creative Center, we are reminded that Scottsdale still is a great arts city, its McCain mural conduct notwithstanding. Kudos to Biely, “the West’s Most Western Town” latest pioneer.