Wednesday, October 22, 2008

GQ Design Primer: Thomas O'Brien

Renowned interiors wizard Thomas O'Brien works as a consultant, designs his Vintage odern line for Target and runs Aero, his SoHo-based studio and store, which mixes archival finds with his own line of furniture, lighting, and more.

O'Brien does his limited amount of computing from a small private office but spends the majority of his day under the skylight of his sprawling conference room, where he meets with clients and staff. We asked him to tell us how you should think about your office - even if you don't have a conference room to call your own.

Thomas O Brien
O'Brien repairs into a personal chamber for mail, e=mail and phone calls.

Click "Read More" to view the rest of O'Brien's office decorating philosophies.

Thomas OBrien
The real work gets done in a conference room. where he's surrounded by reference materials, clients and staff.

Thomas O'Brien's Office Decorating Philosophies
  • Give 'em something to talk about: "I use the things around the conference room as talking points when discussing projects with clients. So you need shelf space and things you love. It's about having things people will find intriguing."
  • Be practical: "When I'm working with a client on his office's interior, we start with 'Where are you using your computer and how?' There are presidents of companies who still work the same way they did in fourth grade. You have to take the time to think about how your computer is integrated."
  • Don't be shy: "It's not about hiding electronics. The equipment is today's industrial design. It's beautiful! Incorporate it into the space."
  • Make it your own: "In my small office, there's personal stuff. Gifts people have given me. A letter from my grandmother. A picture of my dad and my grandfather. Just odd, special bits and a great Irving Penn."
  • Go horizontal: "The big table is the most important thing in my conference room. Nobody uses their conference and dining rooms, but I tell people, 'Use a table. Spread out.'"
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