Primo 1

On the Radar: Primo Orpilla

April 15, 2021

Pri­mo Orpil­la Inter­viewed by Paul Makovasky

—How have you man­aged with the effects of the pan­dem­ic in the last year?

It was a year of research­ing and, then, think­ing of what the pan­dem­ic does to people’s dai­ly lives. How can we make sure we cre­ate new habits and designs that will help bring peo­ple back to the office and to make sure that all the good things about the work­place are not lost as we return to our life before the pan­dem­ic? This led us to devel­op O+A’s guide to the work­place in the COVID era, a toolk­it that delves into a host of spaces and ele­ments for the office. From the start, we knew we need­ed to learn every­thing we could about the virus and how it was going to impact the work­place. You can’t come in try­ing to con­sult on this sub­ject with only a top­i­cal under­stand­ing of the issues around COVID design. You’ve got to run your knowl­edge through a fil­ter. That was the toolk­it project’s aim to run what we were think­ing through a fil­ter of experts and then digest and syn­the­size it into our point of view.

Stu­dio O+A’s guide to the work­place in the COVID era can be down­loaded here.

We want­ed to take the idea of joy back into our work­spaces, so we focused on the behav­ioral changes that we need to insti­tute. Our free toolk­it shows that you should make changes that make the space bet­ter, and that it takes baby steps to make peo­ple comfortable. 

—You grew up on the West Coast, and estab­lished your Stu­dio O+A in San Fran­cis­co, and now you are spend­ing more and more time in Los Ange­les. What is it about LA that you find so attractive? 

I love that South­ern Cal­i­for­nia is so diverse, not only in the peo­ple that live and work there, but in the dif­fer­ent indus­tries that you find there. It’s refresh­ing to feel like peo­ples’ dreams don’t just revolve around the tech sec­tor. In LA, there are huge sec­tors in the arts, enter­tain­ment and edu­ca­tion com­pared to the tech cen­tric world of the Bay Area or the bank­ing and finan­cial indus­tries of the East Coast.

I know this is a gen­er­al­iza­tion, and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia also has tech and finan­cial indus­tries, but the area feels more vast and less con­cen­trat­ed and per­haps, because of that spac­ing, it feels less overwhelming.

—What are some stores, restau­rants, or land­marks in LA that appeal to you?

I love Down­town LA, espe­cial­ly the areas around Grand Cen­tral Mar­ket where so many dif­fer­ent cul­tures and busi­ness­es thrive along­side near­by art gal­leries like Hauser & Wirth. Also, art, archi­tec­ture and design stores are more appar­ent and you feel and see it all there: Hen­nessey + Ingalls books, Please Do Not Enter design store, and the Japan­ese hard­ware store Anzen Hard­ware are just a few of my favorites. In terms of food, you can’t beat Park’s BBQ in Kore­atown and the Hol­ly­wood clas­sic Mus­so & Frank Grill. All in all, it’s a lit­tle less stress­ful than San Fran­cis­co, and peo­ple actu­al­ly like out­door activities!

—What’s on your buck­et list of things to do, that you haven’t yet done in LA?

In this order: Joshua Tree, The Grif­fith Obser­va­to­ry, and I hope to one day soon vis­it Mam­moth Moun­tain.

Once every­one gets the vac­cine, and things return to nor­mal”, what are some of your favorite things that you’re look­ing for­ward to doing in LA?

I real­ly miss the oppor­tu­ni­ties when peo­ple come togeth­er, like art open­ings or sim­ple things like casu­al­ly meet­ing with friends for cof­fee, lunch or dinner.

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