There are places where you do your work, and there are places where you get inspired. But can the two be one and the same? The modern workplace is a concept that’s ever-evolving. First, it was coveting the corner office instead of the cubicle. Next, it was all about communal workspaces. And even more recently, remote work has been on the rise. So if you’re going to head into the office, you want it to be somewhere that’s inspiring, a place that sets the right tone for the work to be done.
We recognize the importance of a chic office space that promotes both productivity and creativity; after all, our own L.A. headquarters was designed with those exact principles in mind. And we’re equally obsessed with the Los Angeles office of jewelry startup MOTIF for the same reason. Located in Venice and designed by Stefani Stein, the workspace-meets-showroom-meets–event venue reflects a clear company vibe: creative, fashion-forward, and all about showcasing the sparkle of the product. And from the very first glance, the design features in this minimal modern office had us considering dusting off our résumés.
Gordon Wang, founder and CEO, describes MOTIF as “a new digital tastemaker partnership platform that gives digital influencers the opportunity to become their own fashion brand rather than merely promoting others.” So what exactly happens in the office? MOTIF’s team of artists and designers collaborate with fashion influencers to create limited-edition jewelry collections, so the company needed a space to accommodate versatility, including office spaces, a by-appointment showroom, and event spaces for product launches and celebrations. Stein’s final design features clean, modern lines along with natural, textural wood finishes for a backdrop that amplifies the shine of MOTIF’s jewelry.
Ready to see chic minimalism at work? Designer Stefani Stein tells us about her inspiring design for MOTIF’s office space below.
VERSATILITY IS KEY
Stein’s process all started with the way the company planned to use the space. “MOTIF and I spent a lot of time walking through how the company envisioned its meetings and presentations with collaborators,” she explains. “Where would it start? How would it display renderings and sketches? How many people would typically be in the meetings? Where would it lay out the 3-D printed jewelry and material samples? What other types of meetings or events needed to also happen in the main work area?”
Stein responded to the needs of the MOTIF team by building versatility into the different workspaces throughout the office. “I focused on creating a space where its team, clients, and collaborators would all feel at home. It needed to be functional for cocktail party launches for new collections, facilitate presentations, and be comfortable for breakaway meetings and day-to-day work,” she adds. The dynamic layout is both fashionable and functional, giving the office a gallery-like feel that’s perfect for collaborative sessions with design partners.
Ultimately, it’s a space to feel inspired, productive, and creative all at the same time. “Everything that was brought into the space has a purpose,” Wang adds. “Whether it’s a rolling desk that allows us to easily change our meeting room from one space to another to fit the mood, or wooden blocks that we get to play with while changing our visual display on a daily basis, everything in the workspace inspires creativity in keeping our minds fresh.” How’s that for Monday motivation?
MAKE THE PRODUCT SHINE
“The initial design decisions started with how to display the jewelry pieces,” remembers Stein. With modern architecture and minimal design elements, the jewelry stands out in the space that feels clean, textural, and natural.
Stein also put product front and center on the walls by utilizing inspiration photos and sketches as artwork to adorn the walls in the main lounge area (genius!), though they also serve a practical purpose for presenting the creative team’s concepts to collaborators. “As a by-appointment showroom,” Stein shares, “It made sense functionally for the display to be incorporated in the primary space. The renderings and sketches tell the story behind the individual jewelry pieces.”
Stein’s favorite part of being an interior designer aligns quite well with the objectives for the showroom, envisioning the space primarily as a venue for ideas and sketches to come to life. “The creative process and seeing something evolve from your imagination to a concept or rendering on paper to a physical structure is quite amazing,” she muses.
TELL A STORY WITH COLOR
With such a fluid, dynamic layout, it was important to tell a cohesive color story throughout the entire space, even though each area would ultimately have its own identity and purpose. The use of bright white natural wood and upholstery was an incredibly chic choice—and with one unexpected twist. Stein was inspired by cosmic artwork to give the office a mystical edge with deep violet-blue accents sprinkled here and there, which ended up being her favorite part of the final design. “This was stepping a bit outside my comfort zone,” she admits. “And despite being fairly intense colors, it still allowed the space overall to read as neutral.”
Another way Stein built dimension within a focused color palette was using texture, playing up natural wood grain as well as a range of sharper and softer angles in the space. “While the balance between angular and soft is particularly clear in this project, it's actually something that comes into play in all of my work,” Stein notes. “The material mix is essential.”
A little bit of greenery goes a long way in a space, but a lot of greenery goes even further. Stein made the most of abundant natural light when furnishing the space with numerous hanging and potted plants. “Because accessories needed to be kept to a minimum, so as not to compete with the jewelry focus, plants were the perfect way to incorporate sculptural and textural elements,” Stein explains.
If anything, the hints of greenery throughout the space add great color and vibrance to the design, with mostly pale green shades playing perfectly off warm neutral tones in the furnishings. “For me, the plant life was an essential element of this space,” says Stein.
MAKE YOURSELF AT HOME
It’s important to love the place where you spend your time during the week. And if you’re a hard worker, there’s a chance you spend just as much (if not more) time at the office than you do at home during the workweek anyway. “We wanted a ‘home’ for MOTIF,” Wang remarks of the office culture promoted by Stein’s design. “Team members feel like they are coming to a second home, instead of going to work.”
In the end, Stein approaches both commercial and residential spaces with a similar philosophy and client focus. “I like the items to be able to breathe and not feel cluttered,” she says of her minimal design aesthetic. “And whether residential or commercial in nature, the end result has to be functional for the client’s intended use.”
EMBRACE THE ELEMENTS
Stein extended her approach from inside the space to the outside patio area, with a focus on clean simplicity that, this time, would give greenery the spotlight. “Paying homage to the materials themselves is also important,” Stein says. “I like allowing the pattern of the woodgrain or natural striation of the stone to become part of the story.”
Did this chic minimal workspace inspire you to be more productive at work? If so, try this productivity hack tomorrow.