« Back to Nominees

DBRDS / collaborative studio space

Orchid Icon  Orchid

In designing a new street-facing studio space, DBRDS’ goal was to provide a front-of-house design workshop space that encouraged collaboration and spoke to the values of our design studio. With literally too many ideas on the board, we made the conscious decision to engage the creative designers & fabricators at Tecture to help us bring an industrial sense of craftsmanship to this important space. We wanted to create a space that encouraged creativity, told the story of our process, and brought people together.

The focal point of the space is a 19-foot long bar-height table, combining the warmth of triple-stacked marine plywood, supported by a steel-plate structure & center block. Each plywood end is laser-etched with DBRDS project sketches – celebrating the craft of sketching as a foundation of our design process. The table is designed with a subtle Z bend, which allows the table to be used for different purposes at each end at once, while creating a dynamic twist in conversations happening across full-table collaborations. Complimented with Emeco 111 Navy Chairs (made from 111 recycled plastic bottles) the table celebrates the craftsmanship of the design process, in a personal, unexpected, workshop style.

Above the table a custom steel tube light fixture matches the angles of the table underneath and provides a soft light. It’s a dramatic fixture that ties the entire entry space together, and employs a patina-etching technique on one side of the light that faces the entry door to greet visitors with our vision statement. The fixture unapologetically informs our clients, our friends and collaborators, and ourselves…we give a shit.

An architectural office only gets one or two opportunities ever to completely design their own space, and this would be our first attempt at it. We would take all the planning and aesthetic elements we’ve practiced and preached for years and put that knowledge to use. It wasn’t easy! When you have a team of eight designers, you find that no one can agree on the details. All of us agreed on the general layout and design of our workstation and conference room area, but none of us could come to an agreement on our front entry space, perhaps the most important space of our office. This space serves as our collaboration space, our gateway into our office, and the place where we can invite friends and collaborators over to talk about ideas over coffee, cider, or whiskey. This was the most exciting place of our new office, and we knew we had to get it right.

Complimentary movable cubby-cupboard boxes and a bar book-end the space, allowing for the flexibility to change the space as needed for various activities, and the functionality of the basic office needs…coffee, lots of coffee. The final touch from Tecture was a series of steel accessories including an angled wall mounted shelf for displaying sketches, napkin holders for encouraging napkin sketches, and pen holders to never be short of a good pen to do some sketching.



915 W Grape Street, Suite 100, San Diego CA 92101

Project Owner/Developer:

Contact Name/Email:
Craig Howard / craig@dbrds.com

Project Architect/Designer:
Tecture + DBRDS collaboration

nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo nomination photo

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *