Posts tagged with "Studio O+A":

Placeholder Alt Text

Be Original Americas welcomes its first architecture firm, Studio O+A

Be Original Americas is a nonprofit that advocates for design that's authentic, sustainable, ethical, and successful. "The organization is committed to informing, educating and influencing as many people as possible about the value of original design," as Be Original Americas stated in a press release. This summer, the organization is expanding its membership to include architecture and design firms across the country. Studio O+A, a New York and San Francisco–based firm (and winner of a 2016 National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum) was the first architecture and design firm to join Be Original Americas. Primo Orpilla, principal and cofounder of Studio O+A, stated in a press release, “The next generation of designers is coming into the profession at a time when their work will be recognized and valued. That's good for everybody because originality and authenticity—we just call it "good design"—makes every experience richer, happier, more meaningful.” Sam Grawe, president of Be Original Americas and global brand director of Herman Miller, also added, "We couldn’t be more delighted to have O+A join Be Original Americas to help further our mission of promoting authentic design. With a roster of clients that represent some of the most notable brands out there today, O+A have demonstrated time and again the value that comes from providing original design solutions." In fact, Be Original America is developing a new category of membership options for architects and designers. The nonprofit announced that firms with less than three offices will be asked to pay a fee of $500. Membership information and applications can be found here. Fees for larger firms are still be worked out and will be announced shortly, so stay tuned! For larger firms or any additional information, you can contact Be Original Americas at beoriginal@bdeonline.biz.
Placeholder Alt Text

O+A crafts an unexpectedly modern workplace for a finance company

“Finance” usually conjures images of staid blue suits, brass plaques, and hallways lined with nondescript carpet. But when wealth-management firm Cambridge Associates moved from Menlo Park, California, to San Francisco, Amy Callahan, the firm’s managing director of operations, sought out San Francisco–based design studio O+A to “push the limits of a traditional workplace.”

O+A design studio director Mindi Weichman spearheaded the project, helping Cambridge Associates select a stripped-bare circular space with wide-sweeping views of San Francisco. “The footprint was definitely challenging,” she said. “At first, they thought they wanted private offices for all the principals and senior associates, with everyone else in an open space. But the initial planning for this showed that the perimeter would become very inefficient. We suggested workstations with large barriers so that there would be secluded zones and privacy, but no wasted space.”

From there, open desks custom designed by Knoll were provided for the rest of the employees, and other spaces were created for varying levels of privacy—from the self-explanatory conference and quiet rooms, to the library (communal, but not social) and then the kitchen area, which serves as a place to hang out and have informal gatherings.

This design strategy required toeing the line between traditional and modern office typologies. For example, keeping the concrete floors “took a bit of convincing,” Weichman said, but it created a harmonious interplay with more classic components. “[Cambridge Associates] wanted to tell a story of permanence and timelessness—and just as steel and glass serve as symbols for those values in architecture, they also convey cost and quality in the professional world.” Walnut was used extensively throughout, lending old-school warmth to the space, and a limestone wall in the reception area is polished, but not traditional.

While these client-facing areas remain conservative, with a neutral color palette of burgundy, navy, and olive, components such as a sculptural horsehair fixture by Apparatus and tessellated walnut walls in the conference rooms keep things interesting. Local art consultant Laura Grigsby contributed architectural, abstract paintings, and photographs for additional texture and color.

Employee-only areas are more playful. In the kitchen, the ceiling is peeled back to display the building’s infrastructure—just a dash of industrial aesthetic. “They wanted to show that they have an edgy side, but in a more refined way,” said Weichman. “The design is relative to whatever is happening to the space—the kitchen is a casual, louder, and more entertaining space versus the conference room, where things are clean and more buttoned up.” In the hallway, a string of weighted pendulum lights by Roll & Hill also add levity. “They can be moved, but I think the employees are scared to touch them,” laughed Weichman.

Ultimately, O+A presents a fresh approach to the now-ubiquitous open-office model replete with “standard start-up amenities.” Though there is a distinct lack of Ping-Pong tables and kegerators, the main pillars of the modern workplace—flexible seating, natural light, opportunities for socialization and relaxation—are thoughtfully well executed.

Placeholder Alt Text

Giant Pixel’s Binary Star Wars Canopy

A software developer gets a subtly intergalactic theme for its new San Francisco headquarters.

For the Giant Pixel corporation’s new headquarters, Studio O+A evoked the feel of a sophisticated galaxy far, far away in a renovated San Francisco workspace. With the help of Chris French Metal, Nor-Cal Metal Fabricators, and Seaport Stainless, O+A designers Denise Cherry and Primo Orpilla designed an interior environment that invokes themes from the client’s favorite movie, Star Wars, without delivering a set design for the Spaceballs parody. One of the office’s most notable features is an entry canopy constructed from ¼-inch hot rolled steel plate with laser-cut perforations that sets the office theme with a binary translation of the trilogy’s opening crawling text. “The Star Wars theme placed subtly throughout the office was what the client wanted,” Orpilla, who is one of the firm’s co-founders, said. “With the screen, they also found a way to vet job applicants and collaborators.” Doubling as a puzzle for visitors to the office, the software development company’s founders built an application that converted the film’s opening text crawl into binary code that could be visually translated for fabrication.
  • Fabricator Chris French Metal, Nor-Cal Metal Fabricators, Seaport Stainless
  • Designers Studio O+A
  • Location San Francisco
  • Date of Completion December 2013
  • Material ¼-inch hot rolled steel plate, steel bar stock, mechanical fasteners, flush socket cap screws, threaded rod, custom hanger clips, black silicone, single-pane glass, VHB tape, custom doors
  • Process custom scripting, Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD DXF, laser cutting, welding, hanging, screwing
According to Cherry, the ones and zeros from Giant Pixel’s software were translated to a computer punch code series. In an AI file, letters represented by zeros are punched out, and letters translated to ones were left solid, which was then exported to a DXF that fed the cutting machine. Each panel measures three feet by eight feet, so the character text fits well across most sections, though the blocking bleeds words across lines in a few places. The canopy had to be framed for stability, so Chris French Metal fabricated a from cold rolled steel flat bar and mechanically attached the canopy panels, said Jamie Darnell, project manager and designer for Chris French Metal. For the vertical portion, flush socket cap screws affix the frame to the floor. For the canopy, threaded rod and custom hanger clips suspend five panels from the rafters. To expedite installation, a tooth-like detail locks the panels together and aligns the edges. Less than one year after completing the interiors, an update to the storefront called for a variation on the pixelated theme from the interior. Within the brick and stucco façade, three openings were filled with an oversized version of the binary code that reads as a direct interpretation of the Giant Pixel brand. Eight-and-a-half-inch apertures—filled with tempered single-pane glass and sealed with VHB tape and black silicone—are bookended by two custom pivot doors weighing 800 pounds each. “We push to get in early on projects with the hope of developing collaborative relationships with the designers,” explained Darnell. “It’s more fun that way and the process and end product are usually more interesting in a collaboration than in a traditional design-bid-build process."