7 Design Companies Helping Clients Create Unique Projects

From community hubs to corporate headquarters to lush landscapes, there are a number of outdoor and indoor spaces that shape our lives every day. Companies like the ones listed here work to design these projects in innovative ways that factor in location, aesthetic, and sustainability. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Companies That Create Unique Designs

Name Headquarters Location
Schemata Workshop Seattle, WA
Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture San Francisco, CA
IwamotoScott Architecture San Francisco, CA
Coats Homes Dallas, TX
Carrier Johnson + Culture San Diego, CA
McLaren Engineering Group Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Core Architecture + Design Washington, DC

How Architecture Alters Your Perception of Reality

Famous Architects

  • Walter Gropius
  • Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
  • Le Corbusier
  • Louis Sullivan
  • Zaha Hadid
  • Charles and Ray Eames
  • Ieoh Ming Pei
  • Buckminster Fuller
  • Rem Koolhaas
  • Frank Gehry

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In Depth

Design is among the most difficult of disciplines to quantify, and its impact on our everyday experience, though enormous, often goes unnoticed. Successful designers combine a strong aesthetic sensibility with the pragmatic know-how to work within a project's real-world constraints. Presented here, in no particular order, are seven firms offering distinctive and expertly realized creations.

Starting off our list at #1 is Schemata Workshop, a collaborative studio seeking to create architecture that promotes community. Incorporating features like the well-lit common areas of Rainier View Apartments, or the shared courtyard of Capitol Hill Urban Cohousing, this company creates spaces intended to facilitate social interaction and livability. It holds participatory workshops to bring intended residents or users into the design process.

Schemata's team works to refine and support the cohousing intentional community model for residential spaces, with a portfolio including several multi-family developments built for social engagement. The company promotes sustainability, with energy-efficient designs and features like rooftop gardens. Schemata also produces urban design and transit projects geared towards accessibility and neighborhood cohesion. Its blog shares perspectives on strengthening community interaction through architecture.

The company promotes sustainability, with energy-efficient designs and features like rooftop gardens.

Next in the order at #2 is Andrea Cochran Landscape Architecture, which designs spaces to highlight natural settings and encourage users to reflect on their environment. Projects like the Telegraph Hill Residence, which uses glass-paneled overlooks to enhance the experience of vertical ascent, or the tree-sheltered seating plaza at Berkeley Way West, employ sparse geometry and open space to emphasize surrounding views.

ACLA's work has been featured in publications including House & Garden and Architectural Record, and Cochran herself has given presentations at events like Modernism Week, as well as interviews for venues such as Mid-Century Home magazine. ACLA shares case studies of commercial and residential projects, detailing how each client's vision is realized in these unique exterior spaces.

At #3 is IwamotoScott Architecture, established by Interior Design Hall of Fame members Lisa Iwamoto and Craig Scott. With projects ranging from large commercial or public facilities to small installations, this company conceives eye-catching spaces and structures with a modernist sensibility. IwamotoScott designs buildings to take advantage of their surroundings, as in its multifamily Van Ness residence incorporating a sight line to the San Francisco City Hall.

IwamotoScott designs buildings to take advantage of their surroundings, as in its multifamily Van Ness residence incorporating a sight line to the San Francisco City Hall.

Many of IwamotoScott's office interiors utilize open space and exposed structural elements, defining distinct work spaces as well as open meeting areas; notable clients include Google, Twitch, and Bloomberg. The company has also contributed artistic pieces like its mOcean installation at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, or its RestBox piece for a design festival in Gwangju, South Korea.

#4 on the list is Coats Homes, a custom builder serving the Dallas, Texas neighborhoods of Park Cities and Preston Hollow. This design and construction team works with clients to create unique residences tailored to personal needs and tastes. The company can create structures designed to showcase collections of art and furniture, enable working from home, or offer customized outdoor recreation spaces.

Coats Homes offers clients an integrated design and build process, envisioning interior features while laying out the overall structure. The company can shape residences from the ground up around goals like sustainability or disability access. The Coats Homes One-for-One program works to improve the community by building or repairing a residence for people in need, or demolishing an abandoned structure, for each property sold.

The company can shape residences from the ground up around goals like sustainability or disability access.

Next up at #5 is Carrier Johnson + Culture, an architecture, design and strategic branding firm. Based in San Diego but enjoying a global reach, this company creates three-dimensional environments for clients in sectors such as technology, healthcare, and government. Crafted around each site's unique constraints, CJ+C's designs house expressive spaces like the symbol-illuminated walking paths of the Science Center at Point Loma Nazarene University.

CJ+C has extensive experience designing buildings that meet LEED environmental certification standards, and can help clients incorporate renewable energy features. Its projects range from corporate headquarters and apartment buildings to master plans for urban redevelopment. The company shares news about its projects and profiles of its team members, and the CJ+C works database lets users browse examples of its designs.

At #6 we have McLaren Engineering Group, which offers solutions ranging from creative works like concert displays, to industrial projects and public infrastructure. Along with structural engineering for residential, corporate, and government facilities, this company provides a wide variety of consulting and assessment services. Examples include storm debris mapping, utility surveys, and forensic accident analysis.

Examples include storm debris mapping, utility surveys, and forensic accident analysis.

McLaren is frequently enlisted for its expertise in marine and waterfront environments, with a portfolio that includes extensive design and reconstruction for piers and wharves, as well as unique challenges like the eighty-foot-tall animatronic Crane Dance in Singapore's Sentosa Bay. The company has also assisted with sustainability improvements, like installing solar panels and working on the National Aquarium in Baltimore's experimental floating wetland.

Capping off our list at #7 is CORE architecture + design. Working with clients to realize unique visions of living and working spaces, this firm provides solutions from luxury residential interiors to massive entertainment complexes. All of CORE's projects aim to capture a cohesive aesthetic, such as the blend of East-and-West-Coast sensibilities in its color design for the Centrolina restaurant and market.

Notable works from CORE include the space-expanding renovation of Arizona State University's historic Barrett & O'Connor Center, or the industrial-chic redesign of the Cotton & Reed rum distillery and bar. The company offers services such as redevelopment planning, adaptive reuse of existing structures, and historic preservation and restoration; its clients span industries from technology and media to retail and service.