The Grand Rapids Ledyard Launch and a Lightness of Being
When first walking into the new UM offices in the Ledyard Building in Grand Rapids, my mouth fell agape. I paused upon crossing the threshold, amazed at the floor-to-ceiling windows that flanked three sides of the building. With the light walls and finely appointed art and furnishings, the space was so new, so fresh, so exciting! Thankfully, I regained my composure and was able to present myself to colleagues in a semi-dignified manner.
What struck me more than the amazing views overlooking Ottawa Street or the thoughtful, decorative and practical touches throughout was the sense of openness conveyed by the space. Maybe it was the 10’+-high ceilings, maybe it was the sun pouring through the many windows, maybe it was the white walls and gleaming glass, or maybe it was the sense of optimism for our ever-brightening future, but my spirit seemed buoyed, lifted by what can only be described as a lightness of being.
At nearly 4,000 square feet, with the bulk of that space being in the open and main area, the pairing of white and UM green was both clean and fertile, creating the perfect environment for the immediate exchange of ideas, thoughts, feelings, possibilities and more. I couldn’t wait for our guests to walk through the door later that evening - I was hoping to spy reactions similar to mine.
As 5:30 pm rolled around, guests began to arrive. The office looked stunning: high-top tables were erected around the open and welcoming space, each holding gorgeous white and green blooms. Gift bags greeted guests by the door, filled with UM goodies celebrating the event. Food, beverages and desserts were strategically placed throughout the office. Even a photo booth sat at one end of the space, waiting to take snaps of attendees.
As more and more folks began to fill the space, checking out lounges, conference rooms and “phone booths” (windowed but private areas that run along the Ottawa St. wall), it was fun to watch our crew meet and greet and mix and mingle with our honored customers and guests, all of whom seemed to behold that same restrained look of wonder as they moved from area to area within the space.
But, our guests weren’t the only ones checking out our space…in passing other Ledyard tenants in the hallways throughout the day, I was stopped and asked about our office - complimented on the space, with folks expressing their envy at our having scored such a beautiful office. In fact, one tenant actually stopped in to survey the space before the event started. And yes, his gaze bore that same wide-eyed awe…
In making my way around the room throughout the evening, a smile would crawl across my face each time I heard guests pass along their “Congratulations!” and “We’re so excited for you!” and “My goodness, do you guys love this space or what?” sentiments to myself or my UM brethren. See, it’s the emotional contagion - positivity spreads positivity, excitement wields excitement, hopefulness bears hopefulness. Those comments were heard so frequently, I was smiling from ear to ear most of the evening and happily noticed I wasn’t the only one doing so.
Like the space itself, everything flowed smoothly throughout the evening. Guests dined, laughed and chatted with UM team members; music floated through the airy rooms, much like the laughter and congratulatory vibe.
It’s always refreshing to be surrounded by those who share an appreciation for beauty, craft, style and purpose. Because really, at the end of the day, our purpose, drive and commitment were really what was showcased. While the gorgeous building, prominent locale and stylish furnishings are all lovely and can easily serve as tangible representations of all that UM has accomplished over the years, in my opinion, it’s that lightness of being that truly speaks to the essence of Universal Mind.