Global Home Rethinks An Office Space For A New Normal

In its storied history, the Ivy League town of Princeton, New Jersey has long been known for the best in education, the arts, and culture. It has also—since 1974—been known as a showhouse town. But in recent years that aspect of Princeton culture had ceased, until last year when aspire design and home launched Aspire House Princeton, in a contemporary home only a few minutes from the Gothic towers of Princeton University and its surrounding landmark mansions. A portion of the proceeds from the showhouse were set aside to benefit the education and careers of up-and-coming designers from underrepresented communities.

In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Joe Giamarese & Vivian Hung of Global Home to learn more about their creative process in designing “His Office” for this project.

aspire design and home: How much time did you have to complete this room, start to finish?
Global Home: Since the first conversation about this showhouse in October 2019, we spent more time thinking about our room than actual execution because of the multiple delays. Hard to quantify the time spent.

aspire: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Global Home: Getting into the house to start our install!

COVID-19 changed how we approached the design concept and room’s purpose. With many people forced to work from home, we decided our office would need to be more a sanctuary than a ‘work’ space.

aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Global Home: Ironically, time is the one thing we had in abundance. That almost never happens in our line of work. The one thing that is guaranteed, however, is that something will not go as planned. Due to the delayed opening, we had our wallpaper months in advance, waiting in our offices for the OK to be hung. When the time finally came, half of the wallpaper was damaged and Thibaut did not know if they had enough quantity in the same color run.

Luckily it all turned out okay; rolls were found and shipped in time, making us appreciate the added texture on our walls even more.

aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Global Home: All the people forced to work from home looking for serenity while the outside world is imploding.

aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Global Home: Being outside our comfort zone is our natural state.

aspire: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Global Home: The design and openness of the house probably guided us all in our design process. We did not collaborate with the other designers but were pleasantly surprised by the cohesiveness. It made the overall flow of the showhouse pretty even.

aspire: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Global Home: We know that the ‘wow’ factor is what showhouses are known for and the larger spaces are most coveted by designers. However, we prefer smaller spaces.

For practical reasons, it takes a lot of work to gather items to fulfill a design concept, especially if we are asking for sponsorships from partners. With a smaller space we can really focus on the details of the room that make our overall design click. We rather have our spaces hold visual candy in every angle.

aspire: Describe the town of Princeton in one sentence.
Global Home: Princeton ticks off all the boxes of what makes a great suburban town; a beautiful thriving downtown, a deep history, a diverse population, and a cosmopolitan sensibility which is why we are proud to call it our hometown.

This or That?

aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
Global Home: Wallpaper everywhere, even on the ceilings
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
Global Home: Rug
aspire: Beach or Mountains?
Global Home: Beach, preferably along the Meditteranean or Ionian Seas
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Global Home: Saturated Color
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
Global Home: Brunch that bleeds into Dinner
aspire: Midcentury or 18th Century?
Global Home: MidCentury (Vivian), 18th Century (Joe)
aspire: Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Global Home: Always window treatments
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Global Home: The English Patient
aspire: Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?
Global Home: Week at the spa (Joe), Week of Broadway shows (Vivian)

Click Here to view more interviews with our Aspire House Princeton designers.

Photography by Mike Van Tassell.

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