Work Space Geared For Battle
By Ronda M. Parag
Driving along Cypress Street in West Tampa, there has been ongoing construction behind the metal fence that was once Hector-Elisa’s Health Club. For the past eight months, Michael Hettrich of Octillion design + build, inc., has been transforming the space into a state-of-the-art office for Michael Martin’s branding, sales and marketing company. Michael Hettrich, and his team at Octillion design + build, is comprised of skilled carpenters, welders, furniture makers, and two full time buyers, that search the world over for treasures to be used in their one of a kind space transformations. Martin emphasized that he is interested in “function over design” and working with Hettrich has been “awesome.” As a WWII buff, Martin was interested in incorporating military objects and design into the space. His goal was to use colors, contents and fonts to create a comfortable, engaging space, nothing stuffy or uptight.
“We gutted everything except the exterior wall,” Martin says. “The building was like a time capsule from the 70s.” Hettrich designed the entire space around four red steel beams in the interior, to create the circular conference room, while the spokes of the wheel offer other offices and meeting spaces. The entrance is wrapped in dark walnut, with inset photos from the Indy 500. The photos from the 50s and 60s are sliced to show only parts of the race cars. There are no light switches on the walls, each room has occupancy sensors that will adjust the light when someone enters. Along the interior wall are pathway lights that can cycle through a myriad of colors. Inspiration can be found on the front word wall that pops with its bright orange color. Located just outside Martin’s office is a built-in bed decorated with Balinese art, handwoven fabrics with a Moroccan feel and pillows with fabrics from Uzbekistan. A wood barn-like door can be closed to offer privacy.
Martin’s office was created with a guns & money theme. He is also a huge fan of Iron Man and an authentic helmet is on display. Hettrich had a movie prop company create the money and gold bars that are inside a coffee table. To honor Martin’s Jamaican and British heritage, there are numerous accessories, including a painted Thomasville chest with the Union Jack and the Jamaican drum that rests in the corner. Above a set of file cabinets that have been painted with “Game On” there is an Elk, whose antlers have been painted a metallic red. Desk lights have been created with painted AK47’s and softened with leopard lamp shades.
Continuing around the round hall is a glass window that was installed for a perfect view of the one-acre playing field. With health and fitness as Martin’s passion, he had a synthetic grass field installed as an outdoor workout space. In addition, there is a full fitness studio with a trainer. All employees are encouraged to workout and be healthy. The full kitchen space allows for easy meal preparation. Jokingly, Martin did say that he asks potential employees how many push-ups they can do.
Many of the accessories found around the office have been gathered at government and police auctions. Hettrich admitted to being a compulsive shopper and recovering shopaholic. Recent finds include a Piggly Wiggly sign, a Mobil Gas sign and vintage industrial factory carts that have been re-purposed into tables.
The heart of the operation is what is referred to as the War Room. The room has a 14 x 16, custom-designed table with a map of the world underneath. Sitting on top of the table are authentic metal tanks and army men. In this room, they are ready for battle. Other details include an entire White Board wall used to facilitate ideas. Work stations around the room have been fashioned out of bowling alley floors. Martin is a big fan of Winston Churchill and his quotes can be found throughout the office. The War Room wall quote by Churchill says “If You’re Going Through Hell, Keep Going.” M
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