Venture Investors Office

Venture Investors Office


International Interior Design Association (IIDA) WI Awards

Office under 9,999 SF Award of Excellence



First Impressions

Venture Investors is a Madison-based venture capital firm that works closely with some of the nation’s leading researchers and clinicians. Strang partnered with them to create a new 1,435 SF office space that provides a subtle, yet impactful first impression.

Venture Investors’ goal was to “wow” investors, clients, and other users of the space. Additionally, the office desired a professional, modern, and clean working environment. With Strang’s help, the existing tenant space was reworked and refreshed to include tasteful and deliberate design details that leave a lasting impact.


Small Space, Large Impact

Strang’s main project challenge was working within the parameters of a small space. Feature elements in the space had to purposefully serve as both visually impactful and functional—every detail needed to count.

A primary example of the interplay between form and function was the L-shaped form that wraps from the office walls to above the reception desk. While offering an aesthetic visual, it also serves functionally as the doorways into the offices. This required our design team to custom design both the doors and door frames so that they appeared to be a seamless part of the L-shape. We continued this feature throughout the office creating a visual rhythm as you move deeper into the space.

Design Dialogue

Another key objective for this space was creating a dialogue between each separate design element. Offices traditionally aren’t visible from the main building corridor, but this office suite offers an extended view into the space from the corridor. The relationship from the corridor to the suite is parallel to the wooden door feature, complimenting the desk to the door, and the outside to the inside. The wooden L-shaped ceiling feature runs in a continuous line to the custom doors, further drawing visitors into the office.

The front entry desk design mirrors the ceiling waterfall effect, forging a strong dialogue between the desk down low and the large feature above. Like the doors, a desk is a necessary element to any office reception desk, but with our purposeful design, it blends seamlessly into its environment while adding a dramatic effect.

Down to the Details

At 1,435 SF, this office packs quite the punch into every square foot. Maximizing the space while keeping the design clean, modern, and open, meant every detail was designed to make an impact on users. The rhythm and flow of the user’s experience and visuals were considered before they even step into the space. Often the simplest forms can be deceiving—but like this project, it takes a clear design point of view and understanding of the space to achieve both function and beauty within simplicity.

Strang Offices

Strang Offices


LEED Gold Certification

Strang Madison Regional Office


WELL Gold Certification

Strang Madison Regional Office


American Society of Interior Design (ASID)

Bronze Design Excellence Award for Contract – Office/Corporate 9,999 SF and under

Strang Milwaukee Regional Office


International Interior Design Association (IIDA) WI Awards

Strang Waukesha Regional Office



A Culture of Collaboration

When we got the chance to design our own space, it was the perfect opportunity to bring Strang’s own culture to life within our future offices. At Strang, providing a comfortable, safe, and efficient work environment for our staff is of the highest priority. Our offices were designed to encourage safe collaboration, promote teamwork, and enhance professional growth. Our Madison office is located on the second floor of the Gebhardt Building.

Our company mission and culture are an invaluable part of our ethos. We are proud to be able to showcase these values through the very environment we work in.


Working WELL in Madison

Strang’s office was designed to optimize versatility and flexibility with the ability to accommodate client/internal meetings, VR demonstrations, and BIM technology sessions. With the various break-out areas, meetings have the option to be formal or informal, engaging people in a social working environment where spontaneous meetings occur routinely.

Branded elements were captured throughout Strang’s office spaces with a nod toward our company’s heritage. For example, a custom digital wall covering was designed to showcase past archival projects. This wall showcases the firm’s history while simultaneously acknowledging a future vision.

Employee well-being and comfort were key considerations, and our space was designed with WELL Building standards in mind. We are proud to say that our office has been awarded the first WELL Gold Certification in Wisconsin. This prestigious distinction was awarded through the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard™, a performance-based certification system for measuring features of the built environment that impact human health and wellbeing.

Strang’s Madison office earned this recognition based on seven categories of building performance— Air, Water, Light, Nourishment, Fitness, Comfort, and Mind. With expansive glass windows across the suite, each employee has a view of the natural surroundings. Ergonomics also come into play with sit and stand desks. It is a great honor to be recognized for our efforts within our own Madison offices and to demonstrate how Strang provides thoughtful design centered around employee health and wellness.

Waukesha Growth

When designing Strang’s first regional office, our objective was to create a space that reflected our history, values, and sense of community. A major part of the design influence focused on the material finishes we use with clients every day: metal, wood, concrete, and glass. Our team strived to keep costs in line and accommodate the ever-changing needs of a growing staff. To maximize versatility, permanent walls were limited to encourage collaboration throughout the space. Our designers also identified furnishings that were easy to reconfigure and adaptable.

With the open concept, there is almost an unlimited number of configurations for the staff to work with. The engaging entry sequence leads directly into the workspace, eliminating the need for a formal reception area. Intuitive wayfinding directs visitors to the open spaces and eventually leads them into the kitchen, workroom, and conference room. Areas are defined by differing finish materials, floor patterns, and ceiling grid layout. Each workstation is equipped with a 6’ x 6’ full height-adjustable surface, also featuring adjustable height-screens, ergonomic chairs, white boards, and pin-up space.

Branded elements were captured throughout the Waukesha space with details like a custom digital wall covering of Strang archival blueprints. This parallels similar design elements in the Madison office. The blueprint wall also reiterates the foundational design concepts of the AEI industry and showcases projects that were the building blocks for our firm.

Hamel Music Center

Hamel music center
This project was designed in partnership with Steinberg Hart


AIA Wisconsin Award of Merit


PCI Design Awards

Best Theater Building


PCI Design Awards

Theaters Honorable Mention


LEED Certification


ACEC National Honor Award


Engineering-News-Record Midwest’s Best Cultural Project



Multifunctional and Flexible

The 63,300-SF Hamel Music Center on the UW-Madison campus was created to serve as an anchor of the East Campus Arts Gateway and as a showcase for the Mead-Witter School of Music. The Mead-Witter School of Music is ranked in the top 5 percent of public schools of music in the U.S. and has earned international stature. By engaging the public through over 350 performances and events each year—from symphony and chamber orchestras to soloists and choral performers—it’s true that (after sports) the music program serves as the main public face for the university.

“I’ve been nothing but pleased with Strang’s meticulous attention to the details and mission of our complicated performing arts project.”

Susan C. Cook, Director, UW-Madison Mead Witter School of Music


Frozen in Time

The venue, created by Strang in conjunction with Steinberg Hart, includes a 315-seat recital hall, large rehearsal room, and spacious lobby. Designed to spotlight the breadth, power, and purpose of musical exploration, this new facility elevates the program to the highest levels of collegiate music education.

As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “Architecture is frozen music.” The folded, faceted forms of the precast panels evoke the imagery of flowing stage curtains frozen in time. In fact, one of the major themes of the building, is objects frozen in time. The interior scheme is inspired by Wisconsin’s landscapes: deep blues reflect our lakes while plum, gold, and maroon are the colors of our state tree, the sugar maple, in various stages of transformation. The Hamel Music Center is designed to evoke the musical experience as one experiences architecture through time. The exterior curtain wall façade of the main entrance invites the public to “enter the sheet music”.

Acoustic Concerns

The scheme for the building required unique approaches to acoustical challenges. Rather than burying the performance venue in the core of the building, the Collins recital hall was placed prominently right at the busy intersection. Fully isolated double wall construction, which incorporates the iconic folded precast concrete panels, accommodates this placement with total acoustic isolation.

The main concert hall also features a unique approach to acoustics, although in a more subtle way. Flanking the hall, acoustical reverberation chambers allow the venue to sound much larger than its physical volume would suggest. These chambers, four stories tall made of solid concrete, also contain acoustical curtains, which allow them to be uniquely tuned. The space is totally customizable based on the particular needs of each performance. These reverberation chambers, while not directly visible from within the performance space, are represented by large circular penetrations in the shell of the side walls. These forms are representative of the sound holes that allow reverberation and projection of sound in many string instruments, like a guitar.

Hamel Music Center Interior

A Shift in Convention

Lastly, opposite from the recital hall, in full view of University Avenue, the main rehearsal space is prominently featured as an iconic element of the building. Featuring the rehearsal space so publicly is unconventional; generally, artists are only showcased during performances, while their preparation remains unseen. Here, the preparation is on full display, framed perfectly for view by the isolated double-curtain-wall construction at the sidewalk level for any passerby’s to see.

M3 Insurance

M3 Building
M3 headquarters


Invest in Impact

M3 Insurance is a growing insurance service company with a long history of community outreach and employee satisfaction. M3 wanted its new headquarters to be highly visible, serve the broader community, and facilitate positive change for employees. Strang worked with both the developer and M3 to design an exterior to this facility that maximizes the developer’s investment while striving to meeting M3’s cultural vision.

M3’s corporate priority was to move their headquarters to a location that would have a positive neighborhood impact. It was essential that the building be easily accessible to users. The selected John Nolen Drive location offers a highly visible attention-grabbing design on a major gateway for Madison traffic. Even though the soil could not support a conventional foundation (thus adding to the project cost), M3 was determined to build where visibility would have a maximum impact.

“We initially had three objectives for our new space: providing a well workplace, shifting from “me” space to “we” space, and space as a reinforcement of our brand. This space has met all those objectives and more. Our employees are so proud of this space...The amenities and the flexibility of the space have exceeded our expectations. And the Madison space has been a foundational element of M3’s physical brand since we built this building.”

Thomas J. Golden, Executive Vice President,
Corporate Service, M3 Insurance Solutions, Inc.


Solid Site Design

This project’s site design is in response to its unique location. Strang took care to enhance views of and from the project in its context on Lake Monona. The tree-lined entrance drive is on axis with the building’s visitor entrance, creating a strong relationship to the public. Decorative 12’ light fixtures reinforce the rhythm of the trees, while providing light to the entrance driveway and pedestrian walkway. An outdoor patio with two grills and a fire pit, immediately adjacent to the “Work Café” provide an informal and relaxing space for occupants to gather.

This highly visible location at one of the most traveled entry drives to downtown Madison originally looked bare and unfinished. The site was overrun with weeds and had become a dumping area for garbage and construction fill. The M3 development cleaned up this site, extended clear views to Lake Monona, and provided new vigor and uses along the bicycle path that surrounds the lake. The facility’s state-of-the-art conference and training suite has also become a valuable asset to the Madison community. Many local non-profit agencies use it for special events.


Flexible Reuse and Function

To maximize the developer’s real estate investment, the building was designed with flexibility in mind for future uses. The facility is designed as a multi-tenant building, with core areas for restrooms and vertical circulation, corridor zones, and MEP systems that support multiple tenants. Each floor plate is carefully designed to accommodate a variety of options of leasable tenant suite configurations.

M3 regularly brings clients to the facility for training and special programs. M3 therefore wanted to build a conference and training suite that could be shared with local agencies that need room to host special meetings. By designing flexible meeting spaces with access to the main entry, sweeping lake views, catering setup and toilet facilities, the building can serve a broader function, even after business hours.

M3 headquarters at night