Uncorked's New Home: 811 Stark

At Uncorked we build things every day. It’s the common bond between all team members.

But when so much of what we build exists as code, or in production runs where it’s relatively straightforward to make changes, the big things deserve special mention.

On May 1, 2017 we launched something on an entirely new scale for Uncorked, something for us that’s truly monumental. We’re pleased to dedicate 811 Stark as our new home in Portland’s Central Eastside.

In a radical, no-going-back uncorking, our fearless leader and CEO Marcelino Alvarez marked the occasion with a sabrage, sabering open a champagne bottle as the studio cheered him on.

The Next Phase

This move marks an inflection point for Uncorked as a business. Not only will we be occupying the top two floors of the building, we’re part-owners of this amazing new home. And the same feelings you get when you move from renting into first-time home ownership—new responsibility, a sense of permanence, tough choices—are present.

We were able to accomplish this together with our longtime collaborators at Beam Development and general contractors Yorke & Curtis, and were further enabled by fantastic teams at our now-neighbors WPA, who designed the building, and Elk Collective, particularly Kelly, Larissa, and Sam.

Elk helped us design our interior spaces, and empowered Uncorked as an active creative counterpart as we grow our own three-dimensional design practice.

Together with our business and creative partners, we had the ultimate opportunity to make a wide range of choices about what’s important to us at Uncorked.

We chose to include a fully functional kitchen space because we have a tremendous amount of food nerds. Uncorked meals have included sous vide goat, waffles constructed from DiGiorno frozen pizza, and carbonated fruit.

Several studio members are becoming parents over the next few months, doubling our tiny human count, and as such we paid special care to creating a mother’s room to respect people’s needs, and support our Uncorked parents.

We’re proud that all types of working and learning have a home at 811 Stark. We have nooks and crannies for quiet writing, and big conference rooms that invite collaboration. We designed a space for community events, because bringing outside hearts and minds into the studio serves as both inspiration for our work and connects us to the city that we love.

Another important space is our Living Lab. So much of the work we do requires new experiences and perspectives in order to grasp the best of what technology has to offer. But that has to respect human potential, and real-world feasibility. So to understand how people use the types of products we build, we can use the Living Lab to conduct design research, and show how products come to life.

Likewise, our new space has a new and improved Prototype Lab, a space that is dedicated to the art of physical fabrication. It’s got the usual goodies: 3D printer, laser cutter, CNC router, and even a separate room for woodcutting.

General lab use is open to anyone in the studio after safety training, but our lab techs are already busy manufacturing solutions to the small elements that come up as we settle in.

Once the summer sun arrives, afternoons will be spent on the rooftop, with wifi and a stunning view overlooking central Portland. It remains to be seen if sunscreen is provided by the ops team or the producers.

And, of course, we still have all of the things that have become symbolic of Uncorked: our custom mineral water fridge, our Make Cool Shit neon, and enough dogs running around to make everything feel just a little chaotic (and snuggly).

Like everything we build, we believe in a unity of physical and digital experiences. Our new home at 811 Stark is both a space and an idea. It’s the physical embodiment of what makes Uncorked… well, Uncorked.

And, as with most products these days, 811 is still in beta. We‘re working alongside some dust and noise as the finishing touches are adjusted and we make this place our own. Once we’re at a newer public version, we can’t wait to invite you to visit and share it with us.

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