Familiar faces to Salt Lake architecture Trent Smith and Steven Walters recently formed Modern Out West Architecture & Design, and the firm just completed a dynamic office space for FileVine, a software system for attorneys. The location is a former Sugarhouse commercial space previously occupied by Toys R Us, and the new design seems to have channeled the playfulness of the previous tenants in the bright colors, graphic elements and originality in approach.

The opening photograph shows how the firm addressed the challenge of limited windows and natural light inherent with converting to office from big box commercial. The conference room floor-to-ceiling windows are an addition after the space conversion, and the natural wood slat separation to the main workspace opens to the open work space in a way Trent calls “revealing and concealing” that transmits the daylight deeper into the interior.

Modern Out West Architecture & Design, Office space, Open office, FileVine
Photo by Scot Zimmerman.

I was intrigued with how the open office space addresses needs for privacy and break-out space.

Modern Out West Architecture & Design, Office pods, Break out space, LED lights, Office interior, Office space, FileVine
Photo by Scot Zimmerman.

Pods enclosed on three sides are huddled along the perimeter. LED lights strafe the black-painted concrete blocks for a dramatic effect.

Modern Out West Architecture & Design, Office space, Office interior, Phone booth, Noise canceling, FileVine
Photo by Scot Zimmerman.

Phone booths make a reappearance to offer a place for private conversations and to block out distracting noise.

Modern Out West Architecture & Design, Office space, Office interior, FileVine
Photo by Scot Zimmerman.

Wood slats diagonally traverse the 25-foot wall. Through the door are displays of merchandise with the company logo.

Modern Out West Architecture & Design, Office space, Office interior, Break space, FileVine
Photo by Scot Zimmerman.

There is break space on two of the three levels in the office.

Modern Out West Architecture & Design, Office space, Office interior, Wallpaper, FileVine
Photo by Scot Zimmerman.

The wallpaper is surprising and uplifting, and an indication of how closely Modern Out West merges architecture and interior design. Stephen Walters is lead architect, Jena Smith is lead interior designer, and Trent Smith is credentialed in both interior design and architecture, so it is not surprising there is a close dialog between disciplines.

Office space, Office interior, Training room, FileVine
Photo by Scot Zimmerman.

Upstairs is a training room for users of the software system.

The office encompasses over 13,000 square feet spread over three floors. Despite the force of the design, Trent acknowledges that the tenant improvements and furnishings came in substantially under market rate. Also, it was a hands-on job, as the team designed and built furniture. After spending a day photographing the work, I can conclude they are a firm to watch and I look forward to seeing more projects.

For the photos, I tried to balance capturing the space, materials, and the history in some of the exposed ducting and exposed walls with the details of the furnishings, cabinetry, and wall treatments. We kept the lights on, and I supplemented with flash to maintain color balance.

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