December 4, 2015

Gensler Staffers Give Back Through gServe

Gensler’s Oakland office collaborated with the IIDA and local nonprofit Project Color Corps to create environmental graphics at Cambridge Elementary in Concord, California. A professional muralist executed the lettering. Photography by Jennifer Chaney.

Giving back to those in need is a mandate at Gensler, and staffers frequently donate their time and creative energy through gServe, the firm’s community-outreach program. An uplifting recent example is the Oakland office’s chromatic contribution to the Cambridge Elementary School in nearby Concord, California. A volunteer team of 12, led by interior designers Fabiola Hernandez and Sergio Mondragon, collaborated with the East Bay Area IIDA chapter and Project Color Corps, a local nonprofit founded by product strategist and colorist Laura Guido-Clark, to transform the schoolyard via kaleidoscopic environmental graphics.

"someSome 100 students, parents, and teachers participated in painting the various elements including the playground and poles. Photography by Jennifer Chaney.

The mission was to not only revivify the physical plant but also engender in students, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, a sense of peace, optimism, and ownership. Weighing in on everything from the concept (“stellar fun”) to the palette (turquoise was deemed particularly affirming) during charettes, the young scholars got the chance to play client, designer, and artist: all 700 participated in voting day, and many helped paint the playground. Talk about leaving a mark on the community.

Students helped choose colors that triggered feelings of excitement, calm, and safety, as well as other characteristics they deemed important. Photography by Jennifer Chaney.

Bilingual messaging in the graphics honor the school’s largely Hispanic student body. Photography by Jennifer Chaney.

> See more from the November 2015 issue of Interior Design

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