Rapt Studio's Latest Venture

Norwest Venture Partners enlisted Rapt Studio's eye and hospitality expertise to design their new office concept in San Francisco. CEO and Chief Creative Officer, David Gallulo, and the Rapt team sat down with Surface to break down their latest.

Norwest Venture Partners enlisted Rapt Studio's eye and hospitality expertise to design their new office concept in San Francisco. CEO and Chief Creative Officer, David Gallulo, and the Rapt team sat down with Surface to break down their latest.

The List’s Project Spotlight column features unparalleled projects created by our forward-thinking List members. By going straight to the source—and having the designers demystify the methods behind their designs—we hope to enlighten and inspire our creative audience to further push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of design.

The California-based venture capital firm, Norwest, had a vision to create a second office in San Francisco where they could meet with entrepreneurs, host industry events and special programming. Rapt Studio came in to create a welcoming space to reflect and highlight the firm’s deliberate, thoughtful and purposeful brand ethos.

Rapt Studio elevated the space with furniture from local artists and industry partners, solidifying Norwest’s brand mission of the supporting small businesses and bringing people together to thrive and succeed.

CEO and Chief Creative Officer, David Gallulo, and the Rapt team sat down with Surface to break down their latest project.

Rapt Studio is a member of The List, the destination for all things Surface-approved. Want to join The List? Contact our team to find out how to apply.


Project Description: As a leading venture capital firm with a home base in Palo Alto and a growing presence in San Francisco, Norwest wanted to create a second office in which to meet with entrepreneurs, host industry events, and offer special programs for the start-ups they support. Rapt worked with the firm to create a new, welcoming space in San Francisco’s exclusive South Park neighborhood that’s flexible, cross-functional, and designed in the same way the firm operates: deliberately, thoughtfully, and purposefully.
Inspiration: With this space, Rapt aimed first and foremost to create a sense of home. Looking to hospitality and high-end residential design as inspiration, we placed a hearth and kitchen island at the core, so that the firm’s characteristic fireside chats and catered events have the perfect setting at which to unfold.
Challenges: One of the main challenges was to create a space where people could work, meet, entertain, and host events without erecting hard boundaries. We wanted the whole space to feel alive with activity, and so we designed an open floor plan and delineated separate areas through materiality. That solution allowed us to balance the needs for both focused work and lively interaction.
Blueprint: Before putting pen to paper, Rapt worked with Norwest to define what they needed from a San Francisco office and how that office could express their core values. Through discussions and
workshops Rapt found that this new environment needed to function as an event space, a conference center, and an office — all while feeling welcoming, inclusive, and purposeful.
Once the vision was solidified, Rapt collaborated closely with fabricators and the general contractor to turn ideas into reality. A collaborative shop-drawings process, real-time templating, and onsite
detailing discussions all contributed to a space that honors the existing structure of the building and layers on refined finishes. Working with expert craftsman who are equally invested in the outcome is core to the way Rapt works, and an extension of Rapt’s agile process that values varied perspectives and expertise.

Uniqueness: In order to preserve a sense of openness and warmth in the space, and to pull sunlight into every part, Rapt designed an open plan and delineated separate areas through materiality. Past the reception desk – which is designed like a jack-knife and can convert to a registration area during events – is a living room with inlaid leather flooring and warm lighting. Beyond, a marble serving block and extended wood table are perfect for catered dinners. To the right, chairs wrap around a fireplace for the firm’s characteristic fireside chats; to the left, rooms encased in glass let in natural light and provide space for meetings, conferences, and calls. Individual offices sit near a wall showcasing successful projects the firm has seen through. Furniture in the center of the space can be moved aside to make room for gatherings.

The space features furniture by local artists and smaller, well respected industry partners, solidifying the firm’s interest in supporting the regional community and thoughtful and talented product designers.

In the central lounge, brass and marble side tables handmade in NYC by Egg Collective anchor sofa-ends. A pendant light by Brooklyn-based Ladies and Gentlemen Studio illuminates an adjacent lounge area and draw eyes up toward the beautiful glowing orb and its brass counterweight. Custom wood tables, including high-top hoteling stations and a credenza, were created by Bay Area furniture designer Alexis Moran.

Takeaway: With Norwest, Rapt pushed the boundaries of traditional workplace design to create a space that’s hospitality-driven and that successfully facilitates interactions ranging from one-on-one conversations to larger-scale events. Throughout, details influenced by residential design create an inviting, inclusive space that's at once spacious and sophisticated, and that supports the way people
most like to work and meet. Norwest can now do more of what they do best: help young entrepreneurs take their businesses where they want them to go.

What’s next for Rapt? At Rapt, we’re in a constant dance. As we perfect the processes, tools, and methodologies that have worked to date, we’re also testing new ways of uncovering our clients’ truths — developing smart, strategic design solutions that push physical, digital, and emotional boundaries. What’s next for our brand? More.



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