Office Space: Tenfold Keeps a Neutral Palette So Its Work Can Shine

Chloe Teasley
Boundaries are kept to a minimum, as the desk of the founder and owner shares the same room as all the others. Colors are also kept to a minimum to ensure that colorful creativity comes from the minds of designers and not merely the office decór around them.

An exposed brick archway serves as the threshold for TENFOLD's office, an open, collaborative space where the CEO's desk is a table in the same room as her employees. Rachel Friedman, founder and CEO of TENFOLD, a branding and design company, says that everyone is very close in the office: Professional photographs of employees and their families hang on the wall; different life milestones are often celebrated by employees for one another.

“We have a ton of community-building within our own organization of lunches and celebrations and birthdays and anniversaries at our kitchen table,” says Friedman.

Other desks are clustered near tall windows streaming in light and the floors below are finished with a light gray stain. Friedman says that when they first checked out the space, some of the flooring had holes—but it was all covered up by carpet. The space had a more traditional look with drop ceilings, plaster and closed rooms. Once TENFOLD got their hands on it, they removed all of it to reveal wood floors, brick and one big, tall room.

You won't see a lot of color in the TENFOLD office. Friedman says that's because she wants her brand to be background noise compared to clients.

“We have a neutral palette because it's really not about us, it's about reflecting the brand of our clients,” she says.

Color comes from two places in the space: the flowers that are frequently changed and a wall installation with multi-colored changing lights.

Friedman says its job is to “reflect the spectrum of the clients that we work with. … And white is actually a combination of all the colors on the spectrum, so that's why we're neutral. It's great too when we're looking at different palettes of things, we're not distracted by our own colors in the space.”

The flowers are switched out by Flourish, the first beneficiary of TENFOLD's pro bono program called Brand Up. Once it helped the startup nail down a brand with branding materials, it bought a year's worth of floral arrangements.

Other special touches are also functional. A conference room chandelier doubles as a tape measure rack and branded hardhats hang artfully on a wall.

“You can tell how many people are out of the office sometimes when these are missing,” says Friedman. … We are spending more and more time on construction sites.”

Though Friedman says the TENFOLD team is sentimental about their space, they will probably move within the year because they are outgrowing it. One thing for certain is that their next office will reflect company values and staff as much as this one does.

“We believe that space has impact, has meaning,” she says.