Dani Arps didn’t exactly plan on becoming an A-list designer. “People ask, ‘Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?’ and I’m like, ‘No, not really—I just happen to be good at it and enjoy it!’” she laughs. After studying fine art and music as an undergrad, her dad suggested she go to Brooklyn’s prestigious Pratt Institute for a masters in interior design. Flash forward a few years, and Arps is now the go-to for New York tech startups (think SeatGeek, Venmo, Yipit) looking for office spaces filled with personality.
“What I love about doing offices is that it’s never really just offices,” she says. “My clients want event spaces, lounges, cafés—a lot of them started their companies in homes or coffee shops, so we try to keep that feeling!” Having a knack for architecture and materials helps Arps address some of the pitfalls—specifically, noise—that come with the open floorplans young companies prefer. Acoustic foam boards wrapped in custom art-printed canvases line the walls, while ceilings are sprayed with foam to counteract the racket from concrete floors. Arps even designed her own chair—the Dani Lounge Chair—which has high walls to create privacy for the person sitting in it, perfect for a laser-focused coding session. (Bunch a few together and you have a mobile breakout room that also buffers noise.)
The result: workspaces that offer equal parts function, comfort, and style. Says Arps, “The best response I get from clients is when they tell me they feel so inspired in their office that they don’t even notice when they’re working late!”
Dani's Secrets To Creating A More Productive Space:
Make Your Message Loud And Clear.
Arps works with clients' in-house teams to customize art around their slogans and messages. Inspirational quotes aren't cheesy, she insists—and if they motivate you, who cares!
Choose Music That Gets You In The Right Mindset.
Playing the right music can increase your productivity, studies show. On Dani’s playlist: Stromae, because “the lyrics are in French, so it’s less distracting!” A well-designed speaker like the Sonos One by Hay will envelop you in sound and look good doing it.
Spring For A Desk That Inspires You.
“When I’m doing a home office, I like a desk that feels more special and less corporate,” says Arps. The sculptural Louise Desk and Augustin Bench designed by Loïc Bard fit that bill.
She Knows How To Create Designs That Make You Hustle
Explore a few of Dani's designs for workspaces and experience what real office envy feels like.
Come back every Wednesday to get even more inspo and ideas from Dani, as part of our Next Wave Wednesdays column!
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