Staff Picks

A curious staff is a never-ending source of inspiration. Here are some books recently read and recommended by O+A’s employees. Some are design-related, some are not. All express the variety of interests that grow from living a creative life.

AL'S's Pick

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare

By Stephen Greenblatt

This celebrated life of English Lit’s greatest writer paints a clear and enthralling picture of what living in Elizabethan England was like and then by using Shakespeare’s works, extrapolates what it must have been like for him. The result combines biographical detective work, urban history, literary criticism and a kind of speculative poetry to create a vivid portrait we haven’t seen before: unhappy family man, social climber, cautious political tight-rope walker, highly competitive show biz professional—and oh yes, almost as an afterthought, genius. Read More

ANNIE's Pick

The Girl on the Fridge

By Etgar Keret

A beautiful collection of short stories by an Israeli author. Very conceptual, very clean. A nice read to get you thinking about things outside of your normal realm. Read More

AL's Pick

The Killer Angels

By Michael Shaara

Before I read this Civil War novel I had only a vague notion of what took place at the Battle of Gettysburg.  This fiction illuminates the history better than a purely factual account ever could.  Shaara puts you in the heat and smoke of the battle–and in the minds of the generals, especially Longstreet and Lee, whose disastrous decisions sent thousands to their deaths. Read More

ANNIE's Pick

Under the Skin

By Michael Faber

Part thriller, part sci-fi, part social commentary, this story of a girl on the hunt for hitchhikers is as relatable as it is horrifying and spectacular in that fact. Read More

TARI's Pick

The Metapolis Dictionary of Advanced Architecture: City, Technology and Society in the Information Age

By Susanna Cros (Editor)

Each entry has a definition, synonyms, and a visual diagram or reference project. This book stretches your thinking, by expanding your conceptual terminologies. It inspires architectural strategies and operations as they relate to contemporary architecture and its influences on the environment, technology, and the global society. Read More

RITA's Pick

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

By Andrew Bolton, Harold Koda, Tim Blanks, Susannah Frankel, Solve Sundsbo

I love this book, aside from the amazing photography, it showcases McQueen’s ability to express complex ideas about race, class, sexuality, religion and the environment through fashion. His work has a strong narrative that I appreciate.  And the front cover has a hologram of a skull and McQueen’s face…so cool! Read More

VERDA's Pick

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel

By Robin Sloan

Best book I read in 2014. Read More

KATELYN's Pick

Just Kids

By Patti Smith

Just Kids is a book I always have nearby. A truly inspiring story by a true badass. Read More

THOMAS's Pick

Colour Mania

By Victionary

I just love the way this book shows you harmony through color despite diversity in how color is being used. As an aspiring designer in branding and package design, I find this book to be a visual feast and a constant inspiration when working on my own projects. Read More

DAVID's Pick

Creative Confidence

By Tom Kelley and David Kelley

The book encourages everyone to engage into the creative process and more importantly to see themselves as creative thinkers regardless of their background and profession. It invites individuals and groups to open up to new ways of creative thinking and problem solving by always keeping humanity at the center of the process. Read More

AL's Pick

Cleopatra: A Life

By Stacy Schiff

The Queen of the Nile was also her world’s shrewdest politician and her capital, Alexandria, the Manhattan of its day.  This modern history drawn from ancient texts reads like a novel thanks to the wit and erudition of its author. Read More

JON's Pick

The Strange Library

By Haruki Murakami

It has a great unique book cover/flaps that open up and let you enter into Murakami’s universe. Read More

OLIVIA's Pick

S.

Created by JJ Abrams and Written by Doug Durst

S. Is exactly what you expect something J.J. Abrams is involved in to be: Impressively imaginative and smart, unbearably confusing, and highly addictive. S. as a concept and a physical object is a work of art––one that I totally devoured. Read More

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Workshop

In addition to interiors (and exteriors and branding), O+A produces freestanding publications and objets d’art. Below are recent examples of work created by some of the same designers who dreamed up workspaces for Uber, Yelp and Cisco.

November 2016

Artist Series #9

By Studio O+A

Last summer at NeoCon O+A designed installations for Kimball Office, IIDA and IdeaPaint/Happier Camper. Artist Series #9 commemorates those three projects with a 4-color risograph booklet, created by Olivia Ward, that focuses on design as it relates to space. Read More

NOVEMBER 2014

Typologies: O+A’s Field Guide to Space Planning

Written, Designed and Published by O+A

A succinct guide to the alphabet of space types with which designers create new work environments. Ten “typologies” illustrate the basics with examples from the portfolio of O+A. Plus bonus feature: an architecturally-angled love story. Read More

OCTOBER 2014

Artist Series #4 Uber

By Studio O+A

The understated palette of Uber’s San Francisco headquarters inspires one of O+A’s most adventurous colorists—Alma of Capital One Labs fame—to shelve Hot Pink and weave a tapestry of gray and beige. Read More

JUNE 2014

Artist Series #3 Things Change

By Studio O+A

When O+A moved from Howard to Tehama the company’s chroniclers recorded the journey in an 8-page Zine. Never mind the journey crossed a single city block—O+A covered it—and lived it—as an adventure. Read More

DECEMBER 2013

Artist Series #2 Happy Holidays

By Studio O+A

Read More

OCTOBER 2013

Artist Series #1 Cisco

By Studio O+A

The first in the series takes inspiration from the sun-lit spaces of Cisco’s office overlooking San Francisco Bay. The resulting art—creatures in a treehouse, geometrical sculpture, botanical water colors—expresses the underlying concept of the series: every eye sees something different. Read More

Coverage

Since its first company profile in the SF Business Times in 1999, O+A has caught the attention and imagination of the international press. This selection of recent appearances in magazines and on websites demonstrates how good design is always news.

November 19, 2016

The Analog Spaces in Digital Companies

By: David Sax

imo Orpilla, the co-founder of the architecture and design firm Studio O+A, has been designing offices for digital-technology companies for more than thirty years, basically since the start of the PC era. Read More

OCTOBER 2016

Artist Series #6

Design Annual

O+A is featured in the CA Design Annual 2016 in the self-promotional design category for our Artists Series promoting our Yelp 55 Hawthorne project. Read More

FEBRUARY 2016

Kimball Showroom

By Kyoungeun Lee

Kimball Showroom at NeoCon 2015 was a collection of spaces illustrating how the company’s versatile furniture could be adapted to the many kinds of work and leisure activities a modern office typically must handle. Read More

JANUARY 2016

Business or Pleasure?

By Floor Kuitert

Even though most of its clients are firm believers in the power of technology, Studio O+A designs only human-based workspaces. Read More

DECEMBER 2015

Best of Year

By Edie Cohen

If there’s one thing Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander know about, it’s the contemporary workplace. They know a lot about office furniture, too. Put all that knowledge together, and you have a stunning showroom transformation. Read More

DECEMBER 2015

Dossier Living San Francisco

By Marlana Kratochwll, Ines Marini, Daniel Karp

Éstas son las oficinas de Uber, la compañía nacida y criada en San Francisco que está revolucionando el transporte urbano. Sus hacedores, Studio O+A, nos cuentan cómo cada uno de estos espacios refleja también una nueva manera de trabajar. Read More

DECEMBER 2015

House Beautiful: Ofise Donus Vakti

By Neslihan Korkmaz

Read More

NOVEMBER 2015

Business Next: Technology Giants New Headquarters

By Rachel Li

Read More

NOVEMBER 10, 2015

TC Cribs: Minted's Visually Stunning Office

By Sarah Buhr

Stunning is the word for Minted’s interior. The two-story, 32,000-square-foot office space was originally built in 1909 and boasts large windows with lots of natural light, high concrete ceilings and walls covered with art, and turned over books, complimenting a mix of hard and soft textiles. Read More

SEPTEMBER 16, 2015

The Next Hot Thing in Cool Office Design

By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin, Inc.

Now that every big startup has an open seating plan and giant amphitheater, what’s next in office design? We talked with top designers and architects to get their impressions of the present and visions for the future. Read More

AUGUST 2015

City Slickers

By Mark McMenamin and Athena Waligore, Interior Design

The city is your office was developed into 10 typologies to organize the two-level, 13,000 sq ft space. Read More

JULY 28, 2015

Acxiom's Corporate Cultural Shift by Studio O+A

By Rachel Calton

When US data giant Acxiom wanted to bring about a shift in its corporate culture, it called in San Francisco’s Studio O+A to give its new California office a stripped-back aesthetic. Read More

JUNE 2015

The Fantastic World of Yelp

By Ana Elena Lopez

Ubicadas en la emprendedora zona Silicon Valley, en San Francisco se encueñtran las nuevas oficinas de Yelp, que por medio de un diseño art decó logran el perfecto ambiente de trabajo. Read More

JUNE 2015

Uber

By Ron Nyren, Contract

“This eleventh floor is the more rebellious cousin of the Uber headquarters. “We wanted this to feel like a startup but in an elevated and refined way.” Read More

MAY 27, 2015

Uber will set up headquarters at S.F.’s Mission Bay

By J.K. Dineen, SF Gate

“Uber will start construction in the fall on its new Mission Bay campus, a corporate headquarters development that will eventually be able to accommodate more than 3,000 workers.” Read More

MARCH 19, 2015

Yelp-Hauptsitz in San Francisco

By Ulrike Nicholson, AIT Magazine

“Yelp moved its headquarters into a just renovated high-rise from the 1920s in the San Francisco financial district and occupies twelve stories. The plan for the spatial design developed based on the corporate culture is by Studio O+A.” Read More

FEBRUARY 17, 2015

Move over Silicon Valley, San Francisco is new hippest tech scene

By John Defterios and Adeline Chen, CNN

“Primo Orpilla has seen the change first hand while designing spaces for the likes of crowd-sourced company review platform, Yelp, and taxi app, Uber. The offices of just three or four years ago, they’re definitely more hierarchically set up.” Read More

OCTOBER 27, 2014

Over And Above: Studio O+A designs HQ for Uber

By Edie Cohen, Interior Design

“O+A tackles the logistics of space-planning first, then layers on the design elements to support the client’s vision. Not so here. Kalanick insisted, right from the outset, on design, design, design—to play to the 700 employees as much as to visitors.” Read More

DECEMBER 3, 2014

Office space: What does the ideal workplace look like?

By Alex Bozikovic, The Globe and Mail

“Visually, O+A’s interiors are designed to cleverly express the prevailing Bay Area values of creativity and innovation. The dot-com cliché of the foosball table seems to be fading, in favour of a new formula that includes art, music rooms and custom-made furniture and design elements.” Read More

DECEMBER 2014

A Well-Balanced Feel

By Drew Himmelstein, WHY

“Workers are looking for something more than a desk: they want to spend their days in an inspiring space that contributes to their purpose, facilitates their cognitive and physical well-being, and allows them to concentrate and interact productively with their colleagues.” Read More

JUNE 19, 2014

How Yelp Brought A Sprawling Campus Feel To Downtown SF

By Shaunacy Ferro, Fast Company

“…fostering a sense of community can be hard when employees are isolated on different floors, so O+A aimed to cultivate the culture of a vertical campus, where employees still have a chance to circulate across floors and bump into each other.” Read More

APRIL 2014

Noises Off

By Eva Hagberg, Metropolis

“Until individuality came back, particularly in San Francisco in the tech scene, and particularly in the iconoclastic start-up tech scene, where people began to want something a little different.” Read More

FEBRUARY 22, 2014

A 'Blah' Office Can Have Serious Repercussions. Is It Time for a Redesign?

By Stephanie Orma, Entrepreneur

“From drab cubicles and cardboard curtains to game rooms and concert stages, startup offices run the gamut from bare-bones to over-the-top. But if the look doesn’t jibe with your company’s brand, you may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to attract investors, draw the best talent and boost employee productivity and morale.” Read More

JANUARY 31, 2014

Studio O+A: Office culture by design

By Mary Ann Azevedo, SF Business Times

“In 1990, Primo Orpilla and Verda Alexander had just founded Studio O+A in Fremont. The design firm’s base was largely tech-oriented and interiors were on the simple side with lots of cubicles.” Read More

JUNE 17, 2013

Social Capital

By Paige Magarrey, AZURE

“Office life is no longer show up at nine, take your lunch at 12, and leave at five. It’s so much more than that,” explains Denise Cherry, O+A’s director of design. And while some employers entice staff into clocking long hours with resort-like amen­ities, the interiors O+A conceives are fun filled without being playgrounds.” Read More

JUNE 2013

Giant Pixel

By Lydia Lee, Contract

“The offices of many tech startups are bare-bones, but the founders of Giant Pixel, a company that programs gaming applications, wanted their first office to reflect their love of midcentury modern and science fiction–inspired design.” Read More

NOVEMBER 2013

No Dead Zones: Studio O+A's giant office for Cisco

By Edie Cohen, Interior Design

“If anyone knows how to build out a lively workplace while hewing to matters of efficiency, it’s founding principal Primo Orpilla. “They were looking for personality,” Orpilla recalls of the first client meeting.” Read More

APRIL 1, 2013

Interview with Denise Cherry

By Kei Wakabayashi, Wired

“Trends in office design have changed significantly in the last few years. One of the trends is that the office space has become a more open environment. It has become a thing of ambiguous boundaries, such as the living space, workplace, and play have blurred.” Read More

NOVEMBER 2011

Acting like a Start-Up

By Andrew Blum, Metropolis

“The firm’s surface design is nearly beside the point, as bold as it is. In talking with Orpilla and Alexander, what’s striking is their emphasis not on any particular aesthetic but on their specific programmatic recipe for creating “high performance offices”—spaces that don’t merely accommodate work but try, very explicitly, to supercharge it.” Read More

JANUARY 31, 2011

Designers of the Year

By Holly Richmond, Contract

“What do you get when a practical realist meets an eternal optimist? In the case of Verda Alexander, the pragmatist, and Primo Orpilla, the idealist, the possibilities are endless. As the founders and co-principals of studio o+a, based in San Francisco, as well as husband and wife, they have committed their hearts and souls to the idea of innovative creation.” Read More

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