Okay, let’s start with the personal stuff. What’s your background? How did you come to Color?
My background is in business administration, and most of my professional experience was in Brazil, where I was born and raised.
I joined Color in Dec 2016 as the Office Manager and gradually took on more facilities responsibilities.
I’m told you have a design/fashion background yourself?
Yes, I’m a Style Consultant. My partner and I owned a successful consultancy in Brazil. We helped many people feel better about themselves and promote their image through their clothing.
I’ve had a few clients since I’ve been living here in the U.S. the last two years. I’ve also volunteered at Dress for Success, a non-profit which helps people learn how to dress for job interviews.
So when you heard we were going to renovate this new building, you thought, “Okay, now I’m going to have some fun!”
Well, before this new building, we’d done smaller renovations and build outs at both offices. Those smaller, more focused projects were more fun to think about. The new building was a larger responsibility, but I was up for the challenge.
What was the process like? What goes into a project like this?
First, we spent a lot of time with the general contractor, talking about how to design the floor plan in a way that benefits the whole company while fitting into our budget. Once things were decided upon and the contract was signed, that was when the fun began.
The new building was more than 60 years old, and we had to demo almost everything and start from scratch. Every day we had meetings with different contractors and made many decisions, always making sure we were within budget and aligned with the idea/style we wanted.
What outside designers/vendors did you work with?
Unispace was a good resource in the beginning; we touched base with them about materials and directions to take regarding designs. The biggest challenge was translating everything into an affordable finished product, since most of their suggestions were very expensive for a company of our size.
What core qualities did you want the new office to have?
There were a number of core qualities I was after.
— We wanted employees to identify themselves with the new space. So we made sure to add personal touches like the flag markers and the photo wall.
— We wanted to prioritize/expand common areas. Our break room/Scrum is now larger and has long tables and benches to encourage interaction.
Also, the largest meeting rooms have benches along with tables and chairs. And we created a library lounge, where people can focus, relax in comfy chairs, or just read.
— Finally, we wanted a space that would make everyone proud to be a Color employee and to do their best work here. We just wanted our new headquarters to be beautiful and meaningful. Thank you to Celeste Prevost, an incredible artist who designed the Color mural with our values.
Funny stories? Moments you’ll always remember?
I think the main one was creating the Color string art mural and not knowing how it was going to turn out and if it would be “good enough” to be part of the office. First I convinced a really great friend of mine who is very talented with handmade art, Lea Crawford, to join me on this adventure which lasted about 42 hours. Then our handyman Luis, who joins me in all my crazy/creative ideas, spray-painted all the nails white; Joseph, our printer, laid out a huge color paper design; and Lea and I hammered all the nails into the board (mostly Lea, because I kept hitting my fingers). After that we started stringing everything together and started getting excited about the colors and patterns that it created. We got so excited, in fact, that the final work didn’t turn out the way we were expecting, so on our last day we ended up cutting a bunch of strings and redesigning other ones, until it was done and is now hung in the front of our office.
What are your favorite creative flourishes that worked out well?
Maybe the meeting room paint schemes. We did all the different designs with tape, just as we did in the Cafe at the lab. I also like the wood art in the lounge area. Mostly I’m grateful and relieved that everything worked together at the end.
Where do you get your personal creative inspiration?
Lots of research on Pinterest and always having an eye open for new and creative ideas.
What’s your advice to anyone else who’s starting off on a journey like this?
Learn from others and from your mistakes. But most of all, be passionate about what you’re doing!