O+A’s year in review

Perhaps the healthiest thing you can say about a company about to enter its 27th year is that its 26th was one of the most creative ever. In interior design, creativity is the product. That it should blossom in so many places and in so many ways at a time when other firms might be tempted to rest on their laurels—or just rest—is a highly favorable sign for the year ahead.

If we do say so ourselves.

2017 at O+A was a year of great new spaces at Nike in New York and Oregon, and at places you haven’t seen yet. Watch this space for photos from Abaca, Blend, Liveramp and next year from projects currently under wraps. Non-Disclosure Agreements are all the rage these days, but we’ve been busy this year with big designs for big clients, including some who are famous everywhere on the planet.

We also had the pleasure, this year, of collaborating with renowned fine artists on installations at one of those NDA projects. Next year’s design debut will consequently also be a major public art opening. Stay tuned for that.

In addition to these big projects, 2017 saw the fine artists on our own staff hard at work on pop-ups and experimental efforts. In April we went to Milan for Salone del Mobile and a meditation on the future of workplace. In September we turned a parking space on Howard Street here in San Francisco into a one-day sculpture garden for PARK(ing) Day. In October Verda took her vibrant textile design to the DIFFA Auction in New York and Patrick, Jill, Amy, Marbel and Jon tackled an ordinary chair and didn’t let it up until it was a sculpture for Chairity 2017. Our Artists Series continued to post art in the mail throughout the year and our Instagram feed topped 13K followers thanks to ever more artful photography and witty commentary.

Speaking of commentary, Primo had a public speaking year that was not to be believed: Dubai, Warsaw, Kent State, New York—not to mention all the places he visited for IIDA in his new role as champion of design education. Watch for more on this subject in 2018—it will be a major thrust of the new year’s efforts.

Awards! What’s a year at O+A without awards? Primo won The Chicago Athenaeum Good Design Award for his Canopy workstation. Our Salone project was nominated for the FX Design Award in London and our book, “Twelve True Tales of Workplace Design” for an Interior Design Magazine Best of Year Award in New York.

About that book. It was published by Frame Publishers in Amsterdam earlier in the year, but production problems delayed the full launch in the U.S. So that too is to come in 2018—even as we forge ahead with our NEXT book for Artifice Books in London. Two years, two books!

And not just books, but movies. Primo attended the Architecture and Design Film Festival at the Cinepolis Theatre in Manhattan, where Verda and Carlota created cityscape graphics for the walls and carpet. It was part of a new cinema-consciousness at O+A (okay, not that new—we’ve always loved movies) echoed by our own collaboration with videographer Dennis Thomas, who shot a quick and dirty doc of PARK(ing) Day with almost no notice and little time for preparation. We hope to work again, more serenely, with Dennis in 2018.

Projects, art, speeches, books, movies—what else? Oh yes, our team took the “Spookiest Cocktail Award” for the ghoulish (or is that dee-lish?) White Widow at a Halloween cocktail competition at One Workplace. See what we mean about creativity?

Thanks for a great year to all our friends and colleagues! See you on the other side of 2018!