About Strada

Strada means “street” in Italian. Streets matter to us. They’re the fundamental infrastructure of our cities and the core of our civic lives. They’re the connections between buildings, people, and public spaces. This is why we’re so inspired by them and it’s a shared commitment to these values that brought our principals together. Just as people mingle on city streets, our office is a place where we freely exchange ideas, challenging and inspiring one another to create exceptional work.

Latest Post

Why Community Engagement is vital to designing cities of the future

09.2019

It is impossible to build a meaningful place for people based solely on expertise in a specific project typology or based on current trends.

Read More >>

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Pittsburgh

611 William Penn Place
Suite 700
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

p: 412.263.3800
f: 412.471.5704

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info@stradallc.com

Philadelphia

325 Chestnut Street
Suite 909
Philadelphia, PA 19106

p: 215.440.0190
f: 215.440.0197

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Street Talk

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Interior Design: Transformer of Space, or Mindset?

07.2019Ideas, People, Stradistas POV, Uncategorized
By Jo Berchielli

 

The short answer is both. Interior Design is a multi-faceted practice, part rooted in physicality, part deeply psychological. In order to evoke broad scale shifts, designers must put themselves in the bodies and minds of the user to understand what transformation looks like, feels like, and means to them.

Transformation is not merely a result or the effect of design. It is the entire process. It is not a before-and-after photograph. The transformation lies in what happens next: The activities that unfold after the professional photographs are taken, once people start interacting with their new environment, making it their own, and creating their own stories inside of them. The transformation can be defined as a shift in focus, an improved culture, or setting the stage for a new path forward.

Uber Advanced Technologies Center | Pittsburgh, PA | Before & After

 

Tactile vs. Abstract

In order for interior design to be fruitful from a tactile standpoint, the mental groundwork needs to be pre-established. A designer must acquire a deep level of understanding of a client’s transformational goals; even those that are unspoken. While certain project goals are straightforward and can be simpler to ascertain- such as projected growth or expansion, it’s the unspoken, abstract transformative goals which can prove to be a challenge to pinpoint.

 

Architecture of Happiness

As designers, we must not forget the subconscious mind…

Even the most carefully-designed, code-compliant spaces can fail if the people inhabiting the space don’t feel “good vibes” (yes, I said it!) in them, or feel a sense of connection to the space. Having positive associations with one’s space – whether it be one’s place of residence, work or play, has a lasting effect on our wellness, productivity and our overall happiness.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco | Pittsburgh, PA

 

Feel & Function

It’s clear to see why some spaces shine from an interior design standpoint; spaces that uplift, that exude natural light and keep your eyes moving in the proper pathway. Spaces that lack these characteristics can make us feel anxious, chaotic or uninspired. Many of the reasons why humans tend to devalue spaces are directly related to how they function in and with said environment, and how they feel when they are inside of it. Straining to hear a friend’s conversation at a noisy restaurant, sitting in an uncomfortable seat for an entire performance, these issues seem quite small, but they immediately set a negative tone. What makes a designed space feel positive or “right”?  These answers are more abstract. This is where it gets personal. Striking a balance of color, tone, texture and composition is part of setting the mood or atmosphere of a space.  Arguably the larger part of it is knowing and understanding the idiosyncrasies and motivations of those who will be using the space, before you set out to design something functional and beautiful. This can only be done by employing empathetic design.

It is a rewarding task to design spaces that people enjoy. A greater responsibility and challenge we have at hand is to design for the true human condition: To design for all, not just for some, to place human welfare and spatial equity above individual ego or individual aesthetic desires.

20 Stanwix Amenity Spaces | Pittsburgh, PA

 

A Simple Understanding

A shift in mindset cannot stem from breaking down walls and building new ones. A shift in mindset takes a commitment from a team of people, who agree and understand transformation of physical space is one undertaking— but to transform the minds of those who inhabit it throughout the process, that takes a special level of commitment, attention and care.

 


At Strada, we “Design with People in Mind®,” as we recently gave name to a practice we continually partake in. It emphasizes how the people we design for are the backbone of our creations; they are the faces and the stories responsible for the transformation.

 

Jo Berchielli

Joanna “Jo” Berchielli has more than 5 years’ experience designing, articulating and styling spaces. She began her career in the writing and fashion world, which developed into a passion for architectural design in the global and holistic sense. Prior to joining Strada, Jo seized on her background in journalism and fashion to work for Giorgio Armani, where she learned in-house how international fashion brands tell their stories through design. After completing her Masters, she ventured into the corporate design world as an interior designer. Jo now focuses on designing higher education facilities, hospitality venues and corporate office spaces.

Joanna focuses on human-centric design with a special interest in biophilic design and sustainability. She is currently working on Bakery Office Three, a new corporate office building aiming for LEED v4 Gold Certification.

Why Community Engagement is vital to designing cities of the future

09.2019Ideas, People, Stradistas POV
By Monika Gibson

It is impossible to build a meaningful place for people based solely on expertise in a specific project typology or based on current trends.
Read more >>

Our Street: Favorite Interactions in the New Philadelphia Office

07.2019Design, People, Places, Stradistas POV
By Murray S. Kamara, Jr.

  I was 7 or 8 when I realized I remembered my home address. I was proud thinking, “man, this grown up thing isn’t too bad, bring on more addresses!”     I can honestly say, out of the many addresses I have remembered, I never thought there would be a new work address…   ...
Read more >>