Here at Nook, we have a passion for people, places and properties. There is a reason that we say people first, for what makes a neighborhood special if not the people who live there? Welcome to #TastemakerTuesday, where we’ll feature the visionaries in our favorite nooks who are dedicated to building a better community through their talents.
Think about your workspace. What does it say about you? Did you have any role in designing it or is it dictated by the company? What would you change about it if you could? How does your work environment affect the work you do? Do you love the live/work lifestyle or are you most effective when you separate your time and space?
Everyone is different, every brand is different, every company’s needs are different. The rise of the cubicle in office spaces can be attributed to office planners and architects, according to Wired magazine, who “imagine that the setup of their own offices should be the way that everyone should work. They pretend that their own subjective methods are objective empirical results.”
Fifty years later, enter Studio O+A, designers based in San Francisco and New York who opt instead to tell a story with a client’s workspace, combining the practical needs of each individual brand with their own personality. Co-founded by Verda Alexander and Primo Orpilla, one merely needs to see the unique team photos to get a glimpse of the fun and creative natures behind O+A. They go out of their way to hire quirkier designers than may fit into more corporate minded environments, knowing that it is people’s differences that bring out their best.
Take their refresh of the design of NIke’s headquarters in Oregon. With inspiration from three kinds of running space -- the track, the trail and the street -- Studio O+A tied the locale choices for runners with each space’s needs: getting somewhere specific quickly, collaborating areas and more of your typical workspaces with meeting rooms, respectively.
When building out Evernote’s Redwood City headquarters, Studio O+A worked with a tight timeline and start up budget. The cloud storage company grew quickly, and found itself needing sophisticated branding as soon as a client walked through its doors to set it apart from competitors. With open ceilings, airy and clean dual use spaces, Evernote’s distinctive services shine through in how their building’s design offers employees more opportunities to work. White board walls, comfortable lounging as part of the stair units, and more available work spaces to accommodate quick collaborations are just some of the ways that Evernote can continue to innovate via its environment.
More of their brand-oriented design process can be seen in AOL, Dreamhost and, not to be outdone, even Facebook’s transformation of a 1960s laboratory into the social media giant’s hub.
Honestly, I could drool over their portfolio all day and still not know which one is my favorite. Each specific space was built for those people with a brand’s individual purpose. This is what makes Studio O+A stand out from their industry: they see what makes your company and team members unique, then design the workplace to bring out everyone’s best. This is why they’ve become so influential to the tech industry and Bay Area for the last twenty-five years, and why they were honored with the Cooper Hewitt Award for Interior Design in 2016.
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