For a designer under 40, Lauren Geremia boasts a bold-faced roster of clients. After studying painting at RISD, she started weaving her creative know-how into a San Francisco–based interiors firm, Geremia Design, that eventually became the Bay Area’s go-to resource for startups seeking innovative digs. That doesn’t mean she abandoned her roots, however—her near-encyclopedic knowledge of the arts is evident in almost every commission, including offices for big-name Silicon Valley clients like Dropbox, Hightail, and Instagram. Now, Geremia’s projects span the country and are guaranteed to showcase the art world’s brightest budding talents, several of which are personal friends. Here, Geremia divulges her recent projects and what it’s like designing for tech.
Wifijerez: You studied painting at RISD. How has your training in the fine arts influenced your sensibilities as a designer?
Lauren Geremia: My artistic background guides me to think broadly and aspirationally before getting into the technical components. My mantra is creativity first, feasibility second. This lets me take an ethical stance to support artists and present their work to folks who value design but aren’t in the field.
ID: Can you describe your approach to sourcing art for your projects?
LG: I have a running list of artists I look at. My brain already has an inventory on what’s happening in the art world. When I meet clients and learn about their space and aesthetic, I educate them on how to view art’s contribution to the space.
ID: You’ve designed offices for global tech brands like Dropbox, Hightail, and Instagram. What’s the most challenging aspect of working with big-name clients?
LG: The pace at which Silicon Valley moves through trends, leases, and priorities can be challenging. I needed to design around an amorphous set of priorities which is tough but rewarding.
ID: Which project taught you the most, and why?
LG: Dropbox was a turning point. I bootstrapped my business and had to step up quickly to be able to handle the project’s logistics and scale as a small firm.
ID: What are a few recent projects?
LG: We finished a ground-up indoor/outdoor mountain-style farmhouse in Calistoga, CA. We also completed a large restaurant/bar, Sartre, in an historic brewery in Cincinnati’s vibrant Over the Rhine neighborhood. Lastly, we’re finishing up a furnishing project at the Jerry Garcia house in Stinson Beach, CA.
ID: A secret source you’re willing to share?
LG: Every time I travel, I try to stay at a place through Boutique Homes. It’s like Airbnb but for architects and designers. The apartments and buildings are incredibly thoughtful, well-located near artistic neighborhoods, and not too expensive.
ID: Most recently downloaded app?
LG: See Saw. You select all of the art galleries you want to see in a city and it maps out the itinerary for you.
ID: Which person, place, or thing—inside the industry or out—inspires you?
LG: Fine art. I have a hobby and dedication in investing in fine art and using it as an anchor in my work.
ID: Latest interiors pet peeve?
LG: Big-box stores ripping off designs.
ID: Any young designers you have your eye on?
LG: Workstead is a young company doing impressive material work.