Studio O+A and SOMA Pilipinas Unveil Design for Republika

Marketplace to Open in Summer of 2020 

Studio O+A takes pride in being a strong community advocate and supporter of local business. As Bay Area natives with deep roots in SOMA, we never lose sight of the importance of community and partnering with neighbors. When Kultivate Labs — the creators of SOMA Pilipinas — approached O+A cofounder, Primo Orpilla, about helping design a new, one-of-a-kind retail space, he immediately embraced the opportunity to work on a project in O+A’s own backyard.

In 2016, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation designating a cultural district called SOMA Pilipinas. This cultural district is a platform to unite Filipinos through community, commerce and culture. SOMA Pilipinas is dedicated to reinvigorating and fueling the economy for Filipino entrepreneurs in the South of Market area by introducing a retail incubator that will enhance and promote business.

Enter Republika, an innovative retail space with a modern concept and 3,600 square feet, located on prime real estate in close proximity to the bustling Westfield Shopping Center. Rebublika will provide a permanent home for Undiscovered San Francisco’s most successful vendors and a number of rotating merchants.

“I’ve always been fascinated by Filipino designs and structures,” Orpilla said. Restaurants on the side of the road, food carts, sometimes very impromptu, humbly built, but also incredibly resourceful. Republika draws inspiration from that materiality. Simple approachability needed to be a part of the language and feel that we communicated.”

Studio O+A designers took these themes and translated them into vibrant colors, textures, materials all inspired by the culture, architecture and landscape of the Philippines. This materiality is the cornerstone of the space and will provide the backdrop for imaginative retail concepts, food pop-ups, and a sari-sari reminiscent spot that will activate the neighborhood while serving as a canvas for a new wave of entrepreneurs. Together they hope to define the future of Filipino culture in San Francisco and offer it a distinct locale commensurate with the city’s other culturally-defined neighborhoods: Chinatown, North Beach, the Mission.

For designers Jen Baran and Tannaz Torabi, this project was one of firsts. First retail space, first design serving the public, and first non-profit work.

“Thus far, this project has been so rewarding,” Baran commented. “Not only, am I excited about the mission, but I am honored to be a part of an initiative that will better the community.” Torabi echoed that sentiment, adding that “it has been especially fulfilling from a design standpoint, creating a space that is as dynamic and lively as this, with many elements that are uniquely mobile and reconfigurable.”


Rebublika, located at 833 Mission Street, has an anticipated completion of summer 2020. Interested in learning more? Visit our partners: Republika, Kultivate Labs or Undiscovered SF for more information and ways to get involved.


(Pictured right: Studio O+A designers Tannaz Torabi and Jen Baran)