Bold and creative design studio, Geremia Design, based in San Francisco, create signature spaces for their base of clients including well known tech companies such as Dropbox, Asana and Hightail. Lauren Geremia was named a Forbes Magazine ’30 Under 30, a hands-on designer who draws on her fine arts background for concepts and designs. Lauren loves to blend eclectic modern materials, creating interiors that tell a story. Geremia design shares inspiration and insight into their work, ones to watch in 2016!
Hightail is headquartered in the South Bay, but the company wanted a space for employees to meet and work in San Francisco. Geremia Design used colour and furniture to set an experimental tone for the space in San Francisco. Some of my favourite design elements are the art installation we created out of hundreds of paper airplanes, and the custom bar we built to create both a coffee shop and a happy hour sort of vibe.
The projects have interesting site specific installations. Were these commissioned for each project?
Definitely. For each of our projects, we intentionally value providing an individual approach; commissioning site specific installations is an important way to create unexpected spaces. We collaborate with local artists and fabricators who offer crucial input into each commission and are a respected lens in our process.
Are tech clients more open to different ideas about what the space could be?
Many of our clients have really open minds and are motivated to try new things, which offers much to our process. Working with tech clients is always exciting. They approach problem solving from an intelligent, passionate and young perspective, which makes for great input.
What are the initial thoughts when a new interior office project comes into the studio?
We take all of our new clients very seriously, and initiate each project with several steps of careful analysis. To expand communication, we begin by providing a series of questions to determine whether we are all a good fit. Our goal is to make sure we are inspired by the client, while ensuring that we can meet their needs financially and materiality. It’s important for me that we both have a sense of chemistry, that the project is challenging, and that there’s an easeful and fun exchange of ideas.
Do you have a key philosophy when designing office interiors?
It’s our nature as a company to be bold. As I mature as a designer, I’ve prized exploring new forms of boldness. I seek to be creative, loose, smart and detail-oriented at the same time. When designing office interiors, I seek to find a connection to the message and mission of the company, and use that ethos to create a compelling space.
When Dropbox expanded into new offices in San Francisco, Geremia Design worked to bring a light- filled, creative look and feel to their new space. We integrated greenery and made use of the office’s natural light throughout to make the space lively, vibrant, and inviting. We wanted employees to feel at home in their new space, so cozy lounges were an important part of the office’s design. One lounge included a music room with a grand piano and a beautiful custom chandelier, while others featured comfy sofas and modern club chairs. Light-drenched meeting spaces and custom mobile furniture allow for easy collaboration, anytime, anywhere. The features in this workplace were specifically created to make it as pleasant as it is productive.
The Dropbox office floor plan is quite long, what considerations did you have to make with the design?
The long floor plan offered a great opportunity to implement an open, dynamic space with the ability to view at a distance into varied environments. It was great working with the architect, Laura Bridges, who consulted heavily with the client to understand the working conditions of their staff. They sought to create a space that would provide high inspiration, along with support for productivity.
Do you have an overall design ethos?
I am attracted to new ideas. I look for the distinct, and avoid anything that’s a flash in the pan. I want ideas and aesthetics to have substance, and it’s important for me to think about function in sophisticated ways. Working with the furniture makers, photographers and artisans creating custom objects for our spaces keeps me rooted in the pace and materiality of process.
What is the feature wall made of in the DropBox office?
For Dropbox, we created a wall of ping pong balls as an experimental art piece in an open hallway. The piece is comprised of 23,000 hand tinted ping pong balls sandwiched between two sheets of glass.
What have you learned along the way in designing these spaces?
I’ve learned how to lead a company and a dynamic community of collaborators. Crucial to this growth has been learning how to communicate successfully, build trust and demonstrate integrity. I can now toggle between mindsets, from creative ideation to business thinking, while seeking to balance the needs of my clients with the needs of my company.
Would you do anything differently?
We’ve gone through a strong growth spurt, and the past few years have been thrilling. It’s allowed us to take on a strong collection of projects in a short amount of time. Sometimes it’s been a bit manic, but the learning curve has been important. Moving forward, I’d love to take on fewer projects, and focus on those that can afford to have us dive deeply into the process.
How do your clients find you?
Many of our projects have received great press that’s allowed us to have a respected presence. References from former clients and word of mouth have provided valued introductions to new clients. We also get email inquiries from people who find us through social media, Instagram and from viewing our projects on our website.
Where do you look for inspiration for your interiors?
I’m always observing my world, and finding inspiration in magazines and books, from traveling, and immersive spaces. I love shopping for handmade items, art objects and furniture in unusual locations. Galleries, museums and art fairs offer important resources for understanding current trends in visual art. Visiting hotels offers me insight into how luxury and intimate spaces combine to provide unique experiences.
I find the study of the display of information to be really interesting. I’m often noticing the way people chose to highlight their institution, community or business through graphic design, typography and materiality. Photography has always been big for me, and Instagram keeps me constantly engaged. I identity with the contemporary way that people share their lives through a single image at a time. It’s inspiring.
All images courtesy of Geremia Design