The dynamic, intimate and close-knit setting of the original Gravillis studio (a studio attached to owners DeAnna and Kenny’s house) involved a delicate balance of communal spirit and creative energy represented by graffiti art murals and images in a range of media. These elements were essential in creating an expanded space for a graphic arts studio who is known for its distinctive visualization for posters, advertising campaigns, motion graphics, album covers and books for the entertainment industry. The new space offers 6,200 sf (3,500 sf tenant improvement and 1,500 sf terrace remodel).
The primary objective was to preserve the collaborative spirit and creative energy that is the firm’s culture. With a space 10 times the original this goal was accomplished by maintaining an open studio to enable visibility and support staff contact. At the office’s center, glass walls and an open library create a crossroads between creative staff and client representation. The emphasis on open space allows bold color, and artistic statements create a narrative story line for visitors and employees to follow throughout the office. Graphics being what Gravillis does, each element occurs in a striking composition throughout the space. The main feature is a continuous mural on the walls surrounding the central conference, library and screening room. The mural was created by renowned, Echo Park-based graffiti artist Augustin Kofie. The bold clean lines and intricate detail of the central mural is a signature style of Kofie, who has a deep interest in process and structure, and who creates works of intense detail centered on order of balance. The precision of Kofie’s mural is strongly inspired and reflected by modern architecture, as well as form and shape of deconstructed typography, which boldly states “made for designers” a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Pulling from Gravillis’ brand packaging, website, and marketing materials, each space promotes the brand’s brave color choices – orange to blue and metallic-silver to natural ‘craft paper’ – and combines them with varying gray tones reflective of Hollywood’s film noir period that was popular at the time of the building’s construction, the 1950s. The contrast of clean lines, graphical elements and computer-generated graphics is contrasted with the hand-painted murals, paintings and reclaimed wood walls and doors which provides visual change that is rustic, yet rich in texture to independent spaces. Additionally, a culture of playfulness is brought into the space through video games, table tennis, and interesting materials. An artificial turf blends interior and exterior spaces, while screen walls and panels at the office’s exterior windows create light and shadow patterns that continue to change and evolve throughout the year. Together, this layering of colors, ideas, textures, and materials come together to tell Gravillis’ story. The space reflects a creative process and the core values that influence their work. The final result meets a desired quality of space and provides a successful transition into a larger, yet interactive, work environment.
A second installation is a blow-up benday-dot portrait of the Gravillis’ daughter, when she was an infant – often referred to as the “hungry baby” for her fierce scowl. An added component of the design is the roof deck, which extends in a triangle off one side of the building. Inspiration was garnered by old Hollywood – recognizing the opportunity afforded by the climate of southern California to work outdoors, from bungalows. Built-in cubbies in painted plywood line one side of the library. Fronting both the library and the conference room is an acrylic mural, also by Kofie.
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CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
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Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
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Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
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