When Kabam decided it was time to transform an office in 2016, the game developer knew where to turn for inspiration: a Transformer.
The iconic Optimus Prime stands ten feet tall in one of Kabam’s three Vancouver locations, nearly reaching the lobby ceiling. Passing Optimus with java in hand is an invigorating start to the day for employees of Kabam, itself an icon in the city.
Since 2006, the studio has developed several dozen mobile titles, with a focus on massively multiplayer social games. Titles worth mentioning include “Transformers: Forged to Fight”—that explains something—and “Marvel Contest of Champions,” each of which have been downloaded from app stores tens of millions of times.
Kabam boasts more than 300 employees in Vancouver (with more in Charlottetown, Montreal, and the US).
The studio is experiencing some awkward growing pains; employees in Vancouver are currently spread across three different offices scattered around the downtown core.
In order to accommodate future growth and consolidate current operations, Kabam will soon take over several floors of a gorgeous new building rising up nearby.
That is not to say employees are suffering in the interim, however.
Those at Kabam’s Alberni Street location enjoy what was once a blank canvas and now a fully customized office. The company’s Georgia Street studio was a 2018 expansion of the first location and also custom-designed for employees.
Most recently, Perkins and Will has impressively beautified yet another of Kabam’s Vancouver offices, this one on Bute Street.
The architecture giant does modern well; Kabam employees now work in a living portfolio of interior design excellence.
Plenty of white throughout the studio’s freshest office keeps things looking and feeling spacious, while sizeable windows allow for ample natural light.
Pale woods with black accents create rich contrasts that please the eye, while groovy murals stretch wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, adding drama and energy to each distinct area of the office. Bicycles hang neatly from walls, a reflection of Vancouver’s love affair with two-wheeled commutes.
Recognizing and embracing the culture of its staff, Kabam carefully considers the distribution of space in each remodel. Open concept offices foster communication and collaboration while anchoring each space.
Meanwhile, themed rooms are available for private meetings and single-person workstations provide opportunities to focus in peace.
“We have social events that happen each week so teams who may not normally work together can meet new people, collaborate, and socialize,” notes Callie Jenkins, a Senior Director of Product Marketing for Kabam. “We also rearrange seating plans to accommodate changes on project teams to ensure teams can stay efficient.”
There are even sleeping pods for power naps.
Indeed, the care and comfort of employees seems top of mind at Kabam. Beyond flexible work environments, the company ensures offices are dog-friendly—a huge boost to work-life balance in a city as adoring of pups as Vancouver is.
“It allows staff to bring their best friends to work, which is great at reducing stress and bringing people together,” explains Jenkins. “It’s also great for our furry friends.”
This attention to local culture is reflected in many of the design elements: a Salt Spring Island company supplied custom-built furniture for the Alberni studio, for example, while local artist Chairman Ting was commissioned for an expansive mural.
Kabam’s most recently reimagined space is complete with all the perks and amenities provided at its other locations. A balance of open concept and privacy, charming canine accommodation, and dangerously cozy napping pods—each are essential component’s of the company’s work culture in Vancouver and therefore implemented across all offices in the city.
“We wanted to ensure that the space was functional and comfortable for staff,” says Jenkins. “We worked closely with the designers to ensure this.”
With the dogs happy, Kabam added more perks for the dogs’ owners. “Beer Friday” is a regular occurrence at its offices, and you can imagine how that goes. Snack bars fuel hustle during the day, while dinner is hauled in for those finishing up projects after-hours.
And employees of the office don’t just work together—they play together, too. Clubs for everything from board games to sports help cultivate their community and boost team morale.
“What really makes Kabam a great place to work is the people,” says Jenkins. “Kabam staff care about the games we make and care about each other.”
With a name like Kabam, an industry like mobile gaming, and a city like Vancouver, fun and cool office vibes are almost expected. Kabam and Perkins and Will have certainly delivered.
“Our mission is to entertain the world,” Jenkins affirms, and it’s clear this includes Kabam’s own. “From a disco ball in our all-hands social space, to snack bars, themed rooms, and inspiring artwork—there’s a little bit of fun everywhere.”
If that sounds like fun, just wait until you play their games.
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