Sculpting a Reception


One of the pleasures of design is watching a sketch become a schematic, a schematic become a 3D rendering, a 3D rendering become a physical space. The journey from lines on a piece of paper to real walls and staircases, real doors and windows is always a little magical. If the design is for a piece of custom furniture that journey ends with an object that materializes out of nowhere.

When O+A partnered with the specialty casting company Concreteworks on a unique reception desk for a venture capital firm, one of the challenges was how to get this very distinct (and very large) object to materialize on the 5th floor of a San Francisco office building.


“Our earliest discussions with Concreteworks were about that issue” says O+A Project Designer Jon Schramm. “How do we get a twenty foot reception desk into a four foot elevator?”

O+A had worked with Concreteworks on a sculptural reception desk before: the swooping race car-inspired installation at Giant Pixel. But that example of the fabricator’s art was positioned just a few steps from the front door. This desk required a trickier install, essentially assembling the piece where it would stand, five floors up.

Trust the process. “We worked extremely closely with Concreteworks, exchanging multiple 3D models, sketching details, refining the form, and marking up final shop drawings.”

Concreteworks found the process and result so compelling, they made a video about it.

Moral of the story: however ungainly the installation, an inspired piece of sculpture always floats in the end.