Embark started as a dream for Ruffwear’s Will Blount and Patrick Kruse. In 2016, they were at a point where they needed to expand their workspace in order to continue growing. They saw this as a chance to do more than create office space, it was an opportunity to give back to the start-up spirit in Bend. The idea of creating a coworking space to help up-and-coming companies, expose Ruffwear team members to new ideas, and foster community was born.
While Ruffwear is an international company now, twenty-five years ago it started as one guy working in his garage on a great idea. Having benefited from the support and mentorship of others, Ruffwear wanted to pay that forward by creating a place for people with shared values to come together and cultivate innovation and change through relationship building.
Three years, and a massive renovation project later, the vision has become a reality. Embark is now home to an inspiring coworking community, the Ruffwear retail store, Crow's Feet, and Embark Fitness. Members of this collective are explorers who have a shared sense of stewardship for our wilderness areas, and reflect a diverse range of professions.
The Embark building was designed and built with our environment in mind. Many of the construction strategies and materials used were to purposefully minimize energy usage, enhance sustainability, and create a warm living space as we take steps to reduce our impact on the living planet.
A prominent feature in the space is the nail laminated timber (NLT or nail-lam) ceiling/floor installation. This century-old construction method takes wood castoffs and reengineers them. They’re then stacked on edge and nailed together to create a durable, warm, and inspiring feature. The wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified and was sourced from Bright Wood, a mill in nearby Madras.
The building is also outfitted with low flush toilets, hand driers, LED lighting, and HVAC economizers with a night flush system. The kitchen tiles came from Fireclay Tile, a Certified B Corporation. Additionally, Embark’s roof has a 63 kilowatt solar panel array to offset our energy consumption.
The interior aesthetic was shaped to connect us with our natural world and remind us of the power of creativity to inspire our paths into the future. The following local artists contributed to this effort: Anna Kalbrener, Jordan Stone, Trevor & Erica Crosta, Ben Hull, Stemach Design, Robby Milo, and Nathan Wismer.
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2843 NW Lolo Dr. Bend, OR 97703