Projects

Studio O+A

452 Tehama is the first space O+A actively designed for itself. Prior O+A studios tended to be ad hoc environments, purely functional spaces (and sometimes not so functional) improvised from the materials at hand. The Tehama Street office is the sort of space O+A designs for its clients—which is to say, a space that tells a story. In this case it’s the story of a small design firm getting bigger, adding talent, expanding its reach—outgrowing both its physical space and the work habits it had developed over 23 years. O+A Principal and Director of Design Denise Cherry saw the new office as an opportunity to rethink the firm’s dynamics—to use design as a tool for changing work habits.
452 Tehama is the first space O+A actively designed for itself. Prior O+A studios tended to be ad hoc environments, purely functional spaces (and sometimes not so functional) improvised from the materials at hand. The Tehama Street office is the sort of space O+A designs for its clients—which is to say, a space that tells a story. In this case it’s the story of a small design firm getting bigger, adding talent, expanding its reach—outgrowing both its physical space and the work habits it had developed over 23 years. O+A Principal and Director of Design Denise Cherry saw the new office as an opportunity to rethink the firm’s dynamics—to use design as a tool for changing work habits.
  • City San Francisco

  • Year 2014

  • Size 5,500 sf

  • Team Primo Orpilla, Verda Alexander, Denise Cherry, Perry Stephney, Clem Soga, Neil Bartley, Jocelyn Lee, Reema Farhat, David Hunter, Hilary Hanhan, Elizabeth Guerrero, Steve Gerten, Chase Lunt, Olivia Ward, Jeorge Jordan, Alfred Socias, Renee Laput-Mendoza

  • Photographer Jasper Sanidad

Everything In It’s Right Place

For example designers are often hoarders. In the old space project materials frequently ended up on a single designer’s desk with access for other members of the team strictly on a happened-to-find-it basis. The new office shrinks individual desk size so there is less room for hoarding and establishes studio spaces where all materials for a project can be centrally stored. The result: access for all—and, paradoxically, more elbow room at smaller workstations. And a larger result: a reinvigorated commitment to working together and sharing resources.

Culture of Collaboration

Design is a collaborative profession, and the chemistry of the two people leaning across a set of drawings is often as important to the success of a project as the lines on the plan. Another goal of the office at 452 Tehama was to maintain O+A’s “family” culture—with a family considerably larger than it once was. A big kitchen with a 22-foot standing-height table, full espresso facilities and a high definition flat-screen TV provides space for shared meals, catered events and all-hands meetings. Conference and phone rooms of varying size allow teams to work together more efficiently—and spontaneously. A workshop with a heavy tool bench gives people a place to build stuff together. All the necessities of communal living—short of a bedroom and shower—are provided at the Tehama Street office.

Bringing It All Together

All the necessities and a few grace notes too: skylights that bring the sun indoors and make every rainstorm a soothing meditation, custom wall graphics, two paths upstairs, outdoor space—for the first time in its history! O+A’s Tehama Street office is designed to be personal, comfortable and open to all possibilities. It is designed to be the vehicle for carrying the company into a future as vibrant and productive as its past.