In recent years, nothing has had a greater impact on office design trends than the pandemic. From turning just about any room of the home into an office to the evolution of the hybrid work model—offices have truly evolved to reflect personal style and work habits as they never have before.
This is especially true for entrepreneurs. No longer are offices stuffy or boring—design is purposeful and intentional. I spoke with six entrepreneurs in very different fields to discuss their unique office spaces as well as learn how design plays a role in their productivity and lifestyle.
Brittany Lo, the founder of beauty brands Beia and Beautini, runs both these ventures from her New York City office. Sized just under 1000 square feet, the space was renovated in late 2022. The CEO commissioned Helen Piteo Interiors to design the chic yet refined front office area and the virtual design service Havenly for the back office. The front office furniture was mostly sourced from Renwil and Uttermost, while the back office features pieces from West Elm and Wayfair.
Functionality and style were of the utmost importance. “Our office was initially designed for our clients to come in for Beautini beauty appointments and then we recently updated our back office to accommodate our Beia storage needs as well. The overall concept was to create a fresh, feminine space that felt elevated, but also practical so we could have people visit while also having an efficient setup to set our team up for success.”
While the space accommodates both teams, Lo and her employees prefer a hybrid model to accommodate work/life balance. “Everyone has the flexibility to come and go based on what works best for them. Generally, the full team is in the office on Tuesdays and part of Thursdays for any in-person collaborations, to be together as a team and to take care of any projects that are needed to be done in person,” she explains. “As a CEO I think it’s important to adapt to this new way of life and give employees the flexibility to flourish personally and professionally.”
Meredith Wing is an artist and entrepreneur who lives and works in Brooklyn. Also known as MooMooi, she has collaborated with a variety of brands from famed macaron maker Ladurée to the mass-market Burt’s Bees.
Wing’s fourteen by seven-foot office proves space isn’t crucial for creativity. “My MooMooi workspace is small but efficient. It has a drawing table/desk, professional printer, magazine archives, and materials are all stacked on top of each other,” says the artist. “I have nice daylight and a street view to feel connected to the outside world, but in general the space is cozy and intimate.”
The mother of two works just a block from her home which she tells me helps maintain flexibility in her lifestyle. “This proximity allows me to leave and return to my apartment at flexible hours. The location is one of the reasons I chose the space. I used to work at home in the second bedroom of our two-bedroom apartment but needed a new spot once our first daughter was born in 2019. Having a separate place to create makes me feel a bit legitimized as an artist.”
When Wing first moved into the office, it was a blank, industrial canvas that she stylized to reflect her brand. “I added carpet, a storage system, twin sputnik brass light fixtures, a heavy glass desk, MooMooi artwork, personal family photos, and artwork of other artists for inspiration—including my toddler’s. Curtains and blackout shades allow me to manipulate light which is important for what I do. On top of all that, there is a fabulous florist right downstairs.”
Celebrity event designer Amanda Orso divides her time between a house in the Long Island suburbs and a pied-a-terre in Grammercy Park, where she works and occasionally hosts guests. “My home office functions as my personal workspace 90 percent of the time but has also been designed as a spare bedroom. Every aspect has been carefully outfitted not only for organization and practicality but also for comfort and efficiency.”
Orso has two desks, both of which serve different purposes. “I use the primary mirrored desk from Restoration Hardware for administrative work, where I also keep personal photos, special keepsakes, and fresh flowers,” she explains. “On the opposite side of my desk is a long table where I can lay out project elements and even sample table settings. This long table is attached to a Murphy bed, which easily and quickly turns into a queen size bed.”
Closed cabinets above the bed house office supplies, while a decorative basket holds towels and other overnight essentials.
Serial entrepreneur Gabriel Pincus doesn’t just run one company. He runs five including GA Pincus Funds, Advisor Tech, MP Realty, and The Financial Investigators as well as the newly launched streetwear brand, NYOG.
After spending many years working outside the home, he realized working from home was ultimately a more productive choice. “After moving out of the traditional office space, my first home office consisted of a small desk with a computer and printer in the corner of a bedroom. As my business grew and my family moved around the country, my offices became larger and more professional,” explains Pincus.
While the focal point of the space is the desk and multiple monitors, there are plenty of personal objects including family photos and sports memorabilia to remind him of why he works so hard.
But the object that stands out the most is a vintage 1960s Mobil Oil Pegasus “The original neon lights still work. My father-in-law is a collector and restorer of antique Porsche automobiles. Through the years he has amassed a large collection of automotive art fixtures.”
Hotelier and founder of Ette Hotels Alex Ekbatani has a sleek and modern office located in the Ette hotel in Kissimmee, Florida. Designed by his wife Sheila Ekbatani, it was the last part of the property that was finished before opening in early 2022. “We waited because we wanted to understand the overall look of the hotel first. It was the last element of the production and we wanted to complete the public spaces before the office.”
Every piece of furniture was intentionally chosen and custom-made in Canada which is where Ekbatani and his wife previously lived. However, the most striking feature of the office is the black ceiling. “Ette hotel stands for earthy, true, timeless, and elegant. We wanted to add a bit of drama to the room so we chose black. The color gives me focus and puts me at ease. Also, it makes it look even more theatrical.”
Defense attorney Duncan Levin was inspired by the television show Mad Men to commission interior designer Leigh Ricker to create his sleek and sophisticated Brooklyn office. While it was crucial for the space to be conducive to productivity, it was equally important for his clients to feel comfortable. He tells me, “Much of what I do is so intensely personal and I am seeing people at the rawest moments of life. I wanted a place that would just feel comfortable, but with that New York City edge to it.”
One of the most interesting features of the room is the large marble tulip dining table where a desk would be. This was a very intentional choice by Levin, who preferred it to a standard desk. The larger desktop not only makes the space more inviting but also gives him room to spread out legal documents and enjoy lunch.