Introducing BRANDS WE LOVE, a new series that highlights brands, products, companies, and tastemakers in the design community that think boldly and do differently. For our first installment, we had the chance to jump on a zoom call with Kailin Gregga and Kyle Keirsey of Best Practice Architecture, an A&D firm located in Seattle. We were drawn to their work for their bold use of color—exemplified in this medical office design and this restaurant design.
Along with chatting about color, they made time to chat about their latest project and the challenging task of designing spaces for viruses and collaboration. Take a look.
Tell us about Best Practice and what makes your firm different?
Kailin: It’s a relatively small firm in Seattle, just under 10 years old. We do an equal amount of residential and commercial. We view architecture and interior design as one project. We strive to bring joy and life into places that don’t often have them. So, we use a lot of color to influence these spaces.
Kyle: It’s a team of six very talented people, ranging from architects to designers. We all work really collaboratively and everyone gets a chance to lead.
Looking at your designs, you use color with such exuberance! Where do you find your inspiration for projects?
Kyle: A lot of our color use is inspired by the client’s taste and the brand. I think when people come to us with color, we see it as an opportunity. There isn’t a bad color out there—any color can be beautiful in the right context. Color gives us a constraint to work with, and we’ll find a way to make that beautiful.
Kailin: I think a lot of people are afraid to use bold colors in design. We always joke that we need to make a support group to guide people on use of color in architecture. They are always worried about if it’s just a fad. It’s often when you use color timidly that it turns out badly. When you do it well, and do it boldly, it can be very successful.
Pivoting to 98point6. We were thrilled to see our Harper chairs in this space. The final design is beautiful! What did 98point6 tell you about their brand and their goals that you wanted to reflect in the interior design?
Kyle: 98point6 approached us because they were looking to have a space that was innovative—a design that was fresh and reflected their approach to business.
Healthcare and corporate spaces, thankfully, now seem to have more color and energy.
98point6 seems to be a blend of both verticals. The color palette here is bold and modern and full of life. What was the inspiration and how does color play a role in this design?
Kailin: Healthcare spaces are often mired in the contract furniture world. There is a sameness and a lack of design and personality. And they [98point6] have a very diverse staff, like UX and designers, tech people, but they also have salespeople and doctors. They wanted to create spaces where everyone could enjoy amenities and feel like they were in an elevated space instead of just a doctor's office.
We dig the furniture (for obvious reasons), but do you have an element or a certain aspect of the design that’s your favorite and why?
Kyle: My favorite aspect was that it was such a collaborative effort. One of the things we gravitated to early on were these hyper saturated zones. It’s exciting when you’re in the space, going from these very neutral zones where the traditional office work is done to these splashes of color where the fun collaboration goes.
Kailin: The library. It's a space that is supportive of multitudes of work styles. The team at 98point6 have already turned that into the Covid-19 headquarter space. It’s flexible to use by anyone who needs to use it.
Since you also design for restaurants, I'm sure you’ve seen the bubble-like installations for tables or plexi-glass partitions. Do you think these physical barriers will actually be used?
Kyle: It’s a matter of experimentation to see what works. It's an opportunity to innovate and create a new typology of work space. It’s also an opportunity to make hospitality spaces more mindful of people’s health.
Kailin: I think, going forward, we’ll be more mindful of disease transference. We also know that this too will pass and we’ll adapt and we’ll move forward. The current circumstances have reminded us that human interaction is so important and people need to be near each other. There is so much communication that happens with body language and that is so crucial to collaboration. In order to find solutions, there will be a lot of trial and error.
Last question. What’s your dream project?
Kyle: Every project comes with it’s own constraints and I look forward to when a project is more difficult and you have to think creatively about it. How do you make something innovative and elevated out of a challenging site excites me.
Kailin: Something that is smaller scale, local, and a cultural project. Like a small library or a space for an art organization – where design impacts the public realm more.
See their latest project, a super colorful heathcare office, here.