FASHION FORWARD OFFICE RETREAT

THE OVERVIEW

Creator of several successful fashion shoe brands, Evolution Design Lab, is known for fashion forward and on trend styles for the teen and early 20s girl, namely Jellypop. The company had recently moved into a huge corner space close to trendy Old Town Pasadena and wanted a new, fun, stylish and comfortable setting to match the energy of their designs. Having been around for a couple of decades, they had accumulated tons of existing furniture over the years, but much of it didn’t quite match each other or the concept we were working towards. The clients had, however, invested in a couple of newer pieces and made a few design decisions and it was my job to pull it altogether.

.:Project Scope:.

My work consisted of two key areas:

1)   A styled merchandising space that would showcase the company's latest styles while echoing the brand’s spirit of fun, youth, and whimsy

2)  A personal office for the company’s owner that had to correspond stylistically with the office as a whole, but act as a more pared down and serene retreat for the executive to breath, think, and work between her many trips abroad.

THE DETAILS

.:Merchandising Area:.

One of the design decisions made prior to my involvement was a mid-tone pink (with slight coral undertones) painted on the main wall of this space. It was very much consistent with the brand and gave great direction to the final look desired, but it was also a slightly darker color in an area that lacked any overhead lighting.

Another slightly bigger challenge was that there was minimal budget to add new pieces and many, many preexisting furnishings collected from the company’s 20 year history, so we knew there had to be some creative repurposing as well as some IKEA hacking involved. Luckily, they also had an extensive collection of styling objects from many photo shoots that could be used. Rather than starting from scratch, we decided to celebrate this eclectic mix of items and objects as part of the EDL girl’s persona.

Function + Form // Storage + Style

While shelving and displays were the main functional need, we decided the space had to be an area where visiting buyers would want to sit down, chat, and stare at pretty surroundings rather than simply walk through and browse. I wanted to create a sense of a lived in room with a story or some sort of luxe walk-in closet. Instead of simply lining the wall with shelves, we inserted a low console between two short banks of shelving and hung large "EDL" letters found at the Rose Bowl flea market (all credit goes to the client for the amazing find!) that happened to be JUST the right dimensions. We pulled an existing leather tufted chair and ottoman into the corner to set the scene, so to speak, and reused a large farm-style dining table to the center of the room for additional display real estate.

In terms of repurposing existing furniture, we selected two low consoles with a fake oak veneer (my guess it was from the 80s) and went through a full sand-down and repainting process. We rehung the doors and then added new hardware. There were a lot of other used furniture options, but these had the best overall shape and potential. The console in the merchandising area went dove grey drawer and cabinet facing and a gold “waterfall” effect on the top and sides.

As for the shelves, we purchased 6 IKEA open shelving units and many, many cans of a subdued gold paint to contrast against the pink and bring in some light (no overhead lighting) without being overly bright or garish. The shelf platforms were the standard dark wood that you see at IKEA, so a white Carrera marble paper was applied to each for a faux stone finish (and, again, to lighten up the colors in a dim setting). There was the option of purchasing slabs of stone, but this was a much more budget friendly option for a space that would likely change with the trends in a couple of years.  The finished product was nice, subtle, and rich—more of an aged vintage brass.

.:Personal Retreat:.

Evolution Design Lab’s founder had a small office with huge windows and amazing potential tucked away in a far hallway amidst racks and racks (and more racks) of very stylish shoes.

The space itself is perhaps 150 sqft but has one street-facing wall covered by a huge window running all the way up the 15 foot ceiling. Pre-existing pieces included two large white lacquer desks pushed together to form an L-shape, and a white leather executive armchair with chrome finishes. The small space also housed a petite grey couch, which created a bit of tightness. While the space was relatively full already, it was still missing storage and art. The color scheme would benefit from staying cool, neutral and serene and we made sure all new additions followed suit.

The main change spatially, was one or two simple tweaks to the layout. I moved the couch opposite the desk and used it to replace a small visitors chair.  This also effectively freed up space for another rejuvenated console—this time redone in a bright gloss white with chrome hardware—into which fabric samples, files, and other items could go.

To balance out the space and add some height, we pulled in another IKEA hacked shelf (this one with a bright gold leaf applied) next to the couch for books and personal items like family photos ...and a very awesome collection of designer sun glasses.

At this point, the room was finished and functional, but very static. Again, the shape of the space was tall and small and our furnishings were all fairly close to the ground. In order to create movement and a suggestion of height, I hung the gallery wall in an up wards “motion” as if the images floated up towards the windowed wall for a greater sense of openness (pointing to the bright window as opposed to a closed wall)