Renowned commercial interior design firm Studio O+A recently branched out into the design of public spaces for multifamily projects with the unveiling of VARA; a housing development in San Francisco’s Mission District.
VARA is a new housing development at 1880 Mission that functions as a living space for urban professionals who may walk to work, work from home, work in a café—or all three. The name ‘VARA’ refers to the standard surveying unit of measurement used in early San Francisco when the city was still under Spanish rule.
O + A worked with the complex’s developers to help them brand the development and design the public spaces.
O+A’s design of the common areas for this development mixes that distinctly contemporary lifestyle with the historical context of the building’s location.
For decades the building on this site was a print shop famous for producing the fruit and vegetable box labels used by growers to ship their products. The colorful folk-art of those labels—and the rustic traditions of agriculture in California—provided inspiration for O+A’s branding of the lobby, bar, gym, tech shop and courtyard.
Some of the wood from the original building was recovered and re-purposed to accent the finishes of the public areas—a continuity that illustrates the increasingly important aesthetic of employing historic contexts to define contemporary spaces.