Let me take you back to late 1999.

Just breaking out of another design studio, Brian Piper, Christina Piper and I started a design firm called HEAVY. We rented a second-floor spot on the corner of 12th and Pike on Capitol Hill, a loft type space with a big window looking toward downtown. We refinished the floors and kitted-it-out with an Ikea kitchen.

It was a great run – for a few months.

One Sunday morning, my wife brings me the phone with a distraught look on her face. Brian and Christina discovered our door was split and our computers had been stolen. Soon after, from our office perch, we watched below as the police mobilized on the corner before moving downtown to kick the asses of WTO demonstrators. Two months later shit went south and – POOF – we broke up the studio. I left the space, and never returned to work on the hill.

Immediately after dissolving HEAVY, I started Wolken Communica. I have been running it ever since. For 10 years we worked out of the same space overlooking Lake Union on Dexter Ave. Then, over the last year, the firm has toured the city as Gypsies – leaving Capitol Hill untouched.

I now return you to present day 2011

The other day I received an email from a friend, Liz Dunn. Liz, under the name Dunn and Hobbes, has developed a number of buildings along the Pike and 12th corridor. Liz’s email said that she was opening a new co-working facility, and that friends were invited to the stealth opening. The idea was to work-out the kinks before opening it on Jan 1. And needless to say, we Gypsies know something about kinks.

Within two days we were ensconced on Capitol Hill in the Agnes Underground. So, more than a decade later, we packed-up our gear into the caravan, hitched a rope to the nearest truck, and found out way back to the top of Capitol Hill. The caravan would have never got there on its own, unless we used our experimental rocket, but Justin said that it wasn’t ready for “Real-World” usage. (I disagree.)

Turns out, the Agnes Underground is great. A few kinks, sure, but still very nice. It has a great vibe, but too much exposed concrete lets conversations echo and bounce around the room like a high-school cafeteria. But there’s a pile of noise deadening material in the corner- so I think that will be solved in short order. The space is truly underground as the name suggests – but this time of year, that may be the best place to be. (I find I’m less inclined to fall into a weather funk if I don’t see the funky weather.)

The other Agnes Underground guinea pigs are cool, so were getting to meet a few new peeps as well. I’d recommend it when it goes live in January. I like it more than the Office Nomads space we encountered a while back – it feels less hippie, more techie.

Funny thing is, at the end of the day when I climb up the stairs out of the Agnes Underground bunker, I am staring straight into the window where my independent designer future began. Although it was home more than 10 years ago, I still feel the connection to that first space – though the guy that is most always sitting in the window staring out at the Seattle skyline is not me. For starters, he’s always wearing pants.

But more importantly, I’m not stagnant. I’m a moving target.