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All in a Day: At Hoffman Design Works, It's All Work and All Play

"I love my job." Anyone who can make that statement and truly mean it is a lucky individual. Drew Hoffman is one of those people. He's the founder of Hoffman Design Works, Bloomington, Ind., and it's common for him to profess the profound joy he gets from 9 to 5. It's especially convincing when he describes some of the projects he's accomplished since opening the custom design firm in 1999. He's constructed installations for children's museums and has currently been working with the Navy on radar antenna mounting systems for its new amphibious stealth ships.

"When I started Hoffman Design Works, I wanted to do creative, interesting work, so our forte seems to be custommechanical devices," he says. "We get into weird, crazy projects for children's museums and science and technology centers. During my first few years in the business, almost everything that I did was museum exhibits. It's all cool, interactive stuff for kids who want to work cranks and levers and study the aspects of physics. Those projects have been so much fun."

One of Hoffman Design Works'; more popular exhibits is a giant flowing bubble machine that's 12 ft. tall. "The kids will turn a crank, and two vertical wires spread apart to make a large film of soap," Hoffman explains. "There's a secret button that they push that activates a blower that'll blow behind the soap film. It blows a big tubular-shaped bubble out into the room. And then it'll pop, and the kids will leap up and down and scream with excitement."

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