April 27, 2013

Overall Favorites: Studios Architecture Makes Osh Kosh B’gosh Feel Adult

How do you design a children’s apparel brand’s office without making it look like a playpen? “The space needed to feel like it’s for adults in the fashion industry,” Studios Architecture principal Tom Krizmanic says of the New York design headquarters of Osh Kosh B’gosh. That it most certainly does. A roughly T-shape floor plate in a century-old mercantile building, the 25,000 square feet are old-school downtown loft, architecturally, peppered with accents from Osh Kosh’s 118-year heritage.

Presentations of overalls and other clothing take place in the spacious showroom occupying a corner at the base of the T. Meanwhile, orderly clusters of desks outfit the bustling office area. It’s separated from open meeting areas by a row of Tuscan columns topped by simple molded capitals, some original and some reproduction. Oversize industrial light fixtures hang overhead. Flooring is matte-finished country-grade white oak, the random-length planks strategically arranged to delineate areas without looking too deliberate.

Osh Kosh’s trademark railroad-stripe cotton covers lounge seating, storage bins, and even entire walls. Glass-fronted offices and meeting rooms are designated with hand-painted numbers inspired by signage at old train stations. Displayed throughout are vintage Osh Kosh signs and framed ephemera, some from company archives and some found online. A six-state buying trip garnered a truckload of finds, too, from battered leather suitcases to an antique wooden worktable.

Although the interior nods to the brand’s very American legacy, the appeal is international. “I didn’t realize the reach it would have,” Osh Kosh vice president of design Jose Abellar admits. So much so that the company recently replicated the look for a satellite office in Hong Kong.

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