The stage was bare, but minds were teeming at Savannah College of Art and Design yesterday as Primo and Verda presented a think-on-your-feet tutorial on how modern office interiors get made. ”Collaboration” was the theme of the SCAD lecture series– it was also the method as our principals took turns engaging students, faculty and the interested public on the finer points of innovative design.
The presentation began with a quick recital of their origins at San Jose State– Verda’s as a fine arts student, Primo’s as a transfer from the engineering school– and quickly proceeded to a detailed case study of the project that thrust them into the spotlight in 2008: Facebook’s original Palo Alto headquarters.
With accompanying photos, sketches and space plans, Primo and Verda led their audience step-by-step through the transformation of an old Hewlett Packard research lab into a precedent-setting demonstration of democratic design. Recalling early days of the project when our design team would meet with Facebook’s on mismatched couches in their start-up space, Primo evoked the high adventure of getting a 25-member advisory board to sign off on design decisions. Verda remembered that with Facebook, as with every project, an embedded meaning drove the design. In Facebook’s case it was, surprisingly for such a youth-oriented company, respect for what had come before and a desire to make use of the existing facility’s archtiectural assets. The result: a lab that once made micro-chips became a lab for cooking up new social interactions.
How did the lecture go over with the packed hall? Primo writes from Savannah: “They wanted more.”