ONE Mission Bay Designer Highlight : Sabine Grimes of Unison

The Founder and Principal of Unision, Sabine Grimes shares her inspiration behind the design at ONE Mission Bay, philosophy she follows, and the upcoming design trends she foresees in the near future.

What was your inspiration behind the interior design of the model 1306 and the common areas at ONE Mission Bay?

The common spaces portion of ONE Mission Bay were designed to provide the residents with a necessary escape from the surrounding city and to encourage a disconnect from the exterior world. The oasis-like manner in which the amenity spaces exist on the podium level create a connection between the interior amenity spaces to the exterior amenities, allowing the residences to connect with the natural surroundings that is completely separated from the surrounding city. When appointing the interiors of these spaces with furniture and artwork, we were sure to tie in some organic elements of the exterior spaces in a minimal and subdued way, ensuring that we were creating a flexible shared living space that could foster many different kinds of gatherings. San Francisco, more specifically the Mission Bay area, has an incredible amount of richness – a real kaleidoscope of people, ideas, thoughts, and dreams. The common spaces were an escape from that, and were specifically appointed in a minimal, flexible way to act as a canvas of opportunity for whatever the residents aspire to do.

The model suite showcases subtle colors, shapes, and rich materials to create a sense of comfort, warmth, and pause which was appropriate for a private residential space.

What is your process when designing residential projects like ONE Mission Bay?

It’s always crucial to fully understand the anticipated user group that would live in this type of development and understand how to meet their desires. Property location, price point, proximity to transit, parks, etc. are huge determining factors of how we appoint the spaces within each portion of the development, as these factors give us some insight of how the residents spend their day-to-day lives. While it’s necessary to meet the users’ expectations for each development, it’s even more important to understand that these needs and expectations are ones that exist at a specific point of time. People grow and change, and the spaces that we design should anticipate and support this.

What is your philosophy when it comes to interior design?

I always appoint the interiors in a purposeful manner and use an un-decorated approach. All furniture, lighting, finishes, etc. are necessary in supporting the vision for each development. I’m a huge fan of silence and think that in a world where you’re constantly bombarded with noise (whether it be audio or visual) there is value in creating a space that is somewhat absent of that. Maybe the term ‘quiet enough so that you can hear it’ or ‘subdued enough so that you can see it’ would be appropriate in describing my approach when it comes to interior design. While creating a design that looks good is rewarding, it’s a much greater challenge to create a design that truly recognizes that interior design has the ability to be a platform for human experience and interaction. Words like ‘luxury’ and ‘opulence’ are often associated with an interior design aesthetic, but I’m more interested in drawing out a sense of awe and poise from the individuals that exist within the space. It’s only when we have the ability to draw out emotions from within the individual when we can assure ourselves of a job well done.

What are the design trends that you foresee in the future?

I’m really pleased to see the amount of innovation that currently exists in interior design as there are efforts to create spaces that are flexible and more sensitive to how individuals function within them. Design is starting to be a truer reflection of how we really exist in the world today and not an unrealistic version of how we aspire to live our lives. In a way, it’s giving us an opportunity to be honest to ourselves, which is a positive sign. While the days of finalizing a letter with the word ‘sincerely’ are over, I would like to think that the days of associating the word ‘sincere’ to a project have begun.