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Ziba Design’s new headquarters was built around a metaphor of the modern workshop, drawing on Ziba’s 25-year history as a product-design firm with strong links to craftsmanship, model making and materials and manufacturing processes. The installation consists of the names of Ziba employees, which are laser-cut from thin slabs of Styrofoam, hung vertically and organized by dates of hire. Inexpensive, lightweight and easily machined, Styrofoam has long been an essential prototyping material for industrial designers.

These same qualities made it appropriate for this project, both pragmatically and symbolically. The orientation responds to the lobby’s strongest visual element, the large windows facing Portland’s working waterfront. As light conditions outside change, the white, textured surfaces of the names shift color, casting varying shadows across the wall. The installation will continue to expand by adding names as new employees join Ziba.

Designed by Ziba Design

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