WRNS Studio’s Growing Interiors Group is Rethinking the Status Quo
Since our founding in 2005, WRNS Studio has always approached design with holistic thinking. That’s why our interiors group does things a little differently. They’re always considering ways to challenge the status quo and leverage our experience as architects, planners, and sustainability advocates to craft more integrated, authentic interiors.
All of our projects are executed with an inside / out synergy, with programming and interior design informing the shell and core. We are busy discovering what the creative workplace of today looks and feels like in partnership with our clients — companies like Microsoft, Airbnb, Google, Facebook, and Intuit.
Our interiors group has grown steadily and there’s never been a better time to be at WRNS collaborating with this group of critical thinkers and human-centric designers (did we mention we’re hiring?). We asked a few folks to share behind the scenes info about what makes our approach unique.
How does WRNS do interiors differently?
Lily: At WRNS, the leadership really encourages you to explore your personal creative process and define your path, and I really like that. I’ve been in offices where it’s been more prescriptive, like, “this is the way we do things here.” And sure, a reflected ceiling plan just has to look a certain way, but for the more conceptual stuff, I get to choose how to express my ideas.
Francesca: We’re known for designing with a holistic approach to interiors and exteriors, but really that’s just how it should be. They go hand-in-hand. For a really successful environment you need to have a beautiful blend of the two.
Stephanie: Our group definitely has an architectural approach to interiors. You can see it in the first Airbnb tenant improvement we worked on. We punched huge holes in the building to let in more light and transform the space, whereas a traditional interiors firm probably wouldn’t have tried that.
What kinds of projects have you worked on at WRNS?
Francesca: I’ve worked on a really lovely spectrum of different projects — from civic to healthcare to education and workplace. It’s been fun getting to know the different teams and how they work. Now I’m on Microsoft’s new Silicon Valley Campus, and I feel so honored to be a part of it.
Stephanie: I was just finishing a small tenant improvement project for Holmes Culley when we got a call from Airbnb. The minute I heard about it, I said, “YES, let’s do that.” Now, I’ve been working with them for over three years. It’s been great to grow with them over the course of multiple projects. The typologies we helped define (the garages, hideouts and caves) are still in place, and we’ve added even more.
Edwin: WRNS offers great prospects for bigger and better projects. When you work as an architect, that’s your ultimate goal. It’s how I measure my improvement. With interiors you’re usually working in a condensed schedule, and you learn a lot along the way from each client. That diversity of experience makes you better.
What do you see in store for WRNS’ Interiors group?
Francesca: This is just the beginning. We want to bring in great new people that will want to contribute — people who aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. We’re always looking for more ideas and perspectives.
Edwin: I see us continuing to push the boundaries of what’s possible. We don’t take shortcuts or go the easy route, but that makes us better. The problem with a more corporate environment is that you start to rely on formulas, and you don’t even try to explore the possibilities. The work ends up being the same. We definitely don’t do that here, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
What keeps you at WRNS?
Stephanie: The people keep me here. I’ve met people from other firms, and they’ll seem cool, but I always think to myself, “I like the people at WRNS better; I want to collaborate with them.” I love everyone I work with.
Lily: One of the things that drew me to WRNS a few years ago was that I would be able to help build the identity of our growing interiors studio, and that’s still the case. I like being around architects. I didn’t want to work at a company that has their interiors group sequestered onto one floor or an interiors-only firm. I like the dialogue I get to have with everyone in the studio.
Francesca: It’s a fun group. We keep it light, and there’s a lot of humor. It makes it feel more familial and less like work. The interiors leadership within the firm also has this innate sensibility and understanding about the value interiors can bring to a project.
Airbnb San Francisco Campus
Airbnb’s light-filled “knoll” is a constant hub of activity — a place for informal meetings, focused work or a chance encounter with a co-worker.
Helen Diller Institute
The Helen Diller Institute at the Contemporary Jewish Museum provides flexible workspaces and presentation areas with moveable walls to adapt to various audience sizes.
Microsoft’s new Silicon Valley campus is designed with a truly inside-out approach, with wellness and nature woven into the fabric of the interior spaces.
Holmes Culley Office
This light-filled creative shed provides Holmes Culley’s staff of engineers with moveable walls, ample pin up space, and a green wall.