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7 Gems from Quartz's Chat with the Start-Up HQ Designer

From the raw, intentionally unfinished recesses of chez Pinterest to the listing-themed village that is the Airbnb HQ, design-y folk never miss an opportunity to give their two cents on the often whimsical, occasionally crazy offices of the tech world, but how often do you get to hear directly from the designers behind them? Recently, Quartz granted just such an opportunity, sitting down with Lauren Geremia, whose boutique firm Geremia Design created the selfie-worthy San Francisco HQ of Instagram, as well as interior office spaces for Dropbox and Hightail. Wonder what's in store for the future offices of the tech set? Are stripped-down, industrial spaces overdone? How much sound reduction is afforded by a flock of paper planes hung from a ceiling? Peruse a few of her most poignant observations and predictions below:

On her design springboards:

7. "How it works is I usually start with something fine-art based ... that's not going to feel corporate and not feel super-cheesy. I start with that. Or interpretations of the brand sometimes, or sometimes it's a giant crazy fish tank."

6. "Right now we're working with these ant farms that are really industrial and interesting and they're fun to look at. I like to have a super-heavy, poignant moment in offices."

On the term 'eclectic':

5. "Our work is often called eclectic, but I think that people now design from what they have. It's not like people are just using grandma's furniture from the 1930s. People have retro 1950s Eames chairs with really old furniture. That's the way it is."

On office envy and originality:

4. "What's nice to see is that when I first started doing it it was somewhat formulaic and people would go to an office and say, 'Well, we want what this office has, we want a game room and a movie room.' It was just, 'We went to this office and we had a great experience and so we've identified that this is what we want.' and I think [they were] just drawing inspiration from other offices. Now I think that people are opening up by hiring a more boutique firm like us."

On the benefits of going boutique:

3. "I can also customize the colors a little bit or if we have a client who's 6 feet 10 [inches tall] and he needs a desk that's a little bit different, I can make it work for very specific situations. And I think that tailoring really makes it seem like it's not from one of a billion companies out there trying to do the same thing."

On ritual and workplace culture:

2. "There are a lot of things that can be done on my end that lay groundwork for efficiency and to save money or to create cool rituals that happen, like where every Thursday morning everybody has hot chocolate together—or whatever it is."

On the rise of raw, 'industrial' spaces:

1. "Up to this point, I've been doing it as raw as possible and I really want to get away from that. So many clients want these concrete floors and open-beamed ceilings and all of that kind of stuff has a very raw industrial feel, which they love, but I'm just over… I really am interested in going for warmer and more innovative designs."

· Meet the workspace designer for Dropbox, Instagram, and other internet startups [Quartz]
· All Office Spaces posts [Curbed National]