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This has been coming for a long time
At awards ceremonies; at meetings with clients, brokers and editors; at the holiday party every year when the champagne gets flowing—the question always pops up: When will O+A open a New York office? Now we have the answer:
O+A’s Manhattan office opens today.
“It almost feels like going to the majors,” says Neil Bartley, the director of Studio O+A New York and the person tasked with bringing the company’s unique design process to the East Coast. “We feel we’ve been really successful in the Bay Area. We’ve been part of this nucleus of great design firms that are doing great things with great companies. But if you’re going to go beyond that, even as special as that is, you have to be bigger. It has to be more far-reaching.”
With projects currently under way or set to begin shortly in Brooklyn and Manhattan—and queries coming from all over the US—it seems an auspicious time to look East. Neil today launches O+A New York from an office at 215 Park Avenue South overlooking Union Square—a great location, which he is quick to point out he will not be spending much time in at first.
“I think it’s going to be a ton of outreach. There’s a list we’re dreaming up of all the people we want to build something within New York. It’s like, who are all the furniture makers in the area? We gotta meet those people. Who are the big thinkers, the creative developers? Who are the artists changing everything? Gotta meet those people. So it’s almost like this electrifyingly infinite list of possibilities of people we need to find.”
The aim is to assemble the kind of in-depth network of artisans, contractors, consultants and design collaborators on the East Coast that has made O+A’s designs not just imaginable, but doable, on the West Coast. O+A believes there’s an appetite in New York’s business sectors—financial services, communications, hospitality, advertising, manufacturing—for a workplace aesthetic that began in Silicon Valley and has spread up and down the Pacific, transforming the way companies on this side of the continent provide for their staffs.
Why now? “Primo was with us in Brooklyn,” Neil says, “We were in the middle of a fantastic multiple day programming summit with a client and we had been getting all of these interview requests and the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award had come our way and something about it all just felt somehow special. We were just kind of daydreaming about it and thinking out loud, and it was like… Maybe this is our time.”