In early 2010, Etsy approached Jen and Brian Gubicza of Zooguu to help re-imagine three identical spaces in our offices, which became our phone booths. What resulted were three unique rooms, each with an individual theme. Zooguu proposed the concepts and handled every aspect of the installation. They spent nine weeks painting, hammering, sawing and sewing through the project with enthusiasm, and we at Etsy love the result! Make sure to read about Brian’s giveaway at the end of the post.
When it came to sourcing materials, we visited Build-It-Green in Queens, junk shops and antique stores, and even discovered some curbside treasures. From the tin ceilings (handmade in Texas) to the cabinet pulls (Etsy vintage), we wanted to celebrate Etsy and what it stands for. We made sure each room was a different experience for the Etsy employees, and when the doors were closed, created the feeling as if they had traveled to another location or dimension.
Room 1: The Giant Plush Office
Jen: Since the rooms were small (5’x7’) I wanted to play with scale and create a space that felt as if the person inside had shrunk, very much like an Alice in Wonderland experience. Since it’s in an office, the room is filled with original, over-sized, plush office supplies including a typewriter, cuckoo clock, telephone and of course a red, Swingline stapler. The vintage office supplies for sale on Etsy served as inspiration for many of the plush objects.
Room 2: The Villain’s Lair
Brian: For this room, the goal was to create a villain’s lair — where the Etsy employee actually became the villain. I was inspired by the Flash Gordon serials of the 1930s. It features a streamline art deco style with custom furniture. The Lair comes complete with cape, helmet, raygun, doomsday device, and many other tools of villainy. Every detail is in place, right down to the newspaper clippings and magazine covers, featuring the villain’s inventions and exploits.
Room 3: The Phone Booth
Brian and Jen: Each of us got to design our own dream rooms, so we collaborated on the third and created a space that had something for everyone. Since these little rooms primarily function as private phone rooms, Jen made the entrance door resemble a British phone booth. Once inside, the walls are lined with custom cabinets, behind which are works from a variety of artists, along with toys, bits of pop culture and other surprises. We sourced many pieces from Etsy sellers. The cabinets were all built using leftover materials from a local carpenter that were headed for the dumpster. The idea for the cabinets came from wanting to make an interactive space and to add an element of surprise and discovery.
This project was unlike anything Zooguu had handled before. It was a dream-like undertaking, during which we learned many new skills. We hope that the people of Etsy enjoy the rooms and we thank them greatly for the opportunity to work on such a unique project!
Special Giveaway — Brian is currently running a giveaway on his blog. One randomly selected entrant will be chosen to receive an original hand-cut wood illustration featuring the Electrobot from the Evil Villain’s Lair.
Thanks again to Jen and Brian for their creative contribution to the Etsy office! Do you work in an adventurously decorated environment? Tell us about it in the comments below.