February 24, 2020

Studio O+A Gives a 21st-Century Update to Oakland’s Breuner Building Lobby

The mezzanine conference room offers West Elm seating and fine views of the Lee Broom pendant in the lobby. Photography by Garrett Rowland.

The Breuner Building has helped define Oakland’s skyline since the John Breuner Furniture Company built the Art Deco beauty in 1931. And while the city has changed radically over the last 90 years, the Breuner looks good as new, thanks to a careful refreshment of the 218,000-square-foot lobby and common areas by San Francisco-based Studio O+A.

Oracal metallic vinyl pops against the bold blue walls. Photography by Garrett Rowland.

“It embodies values that have brought Oakland to this moment: imagination, high spirits, hard work, and respect for what men and women build together,” says Studio O+A project designer Chase Lunt. Substantial concrete pillars mix with delicate metallic wall graphics; nautical shapes wash over the café; and signage takes the shape of grids, just slightly tilted.

Tom Dixon pendants hang over the café’s walnut and Calacatta counter; the backsplash is by Fireclay Tile. Photography by Garrett Rowland.

New windows and awnings announce the Breuner’s arrival into the 21st century, but other details came as a surprise. “The stairs next to the security desk were built sometime in the 1960s and were almost completely hidden in a storage room,” Lunt says. “We revitalized them with new railings all while reusing the stair stringers and treads.” Because sometimes, like the landmark Art Deco façade, the best look for the future has been there all along.

Seating by Martin Brattrud and Blu Dot tables await near reception, beneath a chandelier by Rich Brilliant Willing. Photography by Garrett Rowland.
New signage and window design complement the classic Art Deco façade. Photography by Garrett Rowland.
O+A replaced the old recessed glass with Arcadia windows to increase the building’s presence. Photography by Garrett Rowland.

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