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Q&A: Post Company

The newly formed Brooklyn-based studio is designing spaces to facilitate human connection.

March 23, 2021
Q&A: Post Company

Founded by former partners of Studio Tack, Ruben Caldwell, Jou-Yie Chou, and Leigh Salem, Post Company is a design studio operating across hospitality, retail, and residential programs. The team is made up of a collection of architects, interior designers, carpenters, art directors, and creatives, resulting in work composed of many voices that reaches beyond the concepts of luxury and exclusivity. We were joined by the team to learn what the Brooklyn studio has been up to and what’s in store for the future.

What prompted the shift to a new name for the studio?

Chou: We like to think of it as a new company, not just a new name. Studio Tack was formed nearly a decade ago and, at the time, our vision and aspirations for what we can contribute to the world through design were much different than they are now. For all of its faults, 2020 gave us the opportunity to reflect on our work to date, and reimagine how we see the future of the studio. It finally felt like the appropriate time to put a stake in the ground and begin to illustrate externally the shifts that the studio had been experiencing for some time. We’re committed as ever to creating hospitality, residential, and retail spaces that place emphasis on discourse, cultural growth, and human connection (indeed, more crucial than ever) and the new identity represents that commitment and renewed vision.

How did the name come about?

Salem: We liked the idea of marking our growth over the years, everything that we’ve learned and achieved encapsulated in a name—one that signifies positioning ourselves to continue to push the boundaries, but through a wiser, more honest lens. The name is also meant to point to an idea of what is coming next and our desire to continue to evolve and hone our craft and voice.

Post Company founders Ruben Caldwell, Jou-Yie Chou, and Leigh Salem.

Does this mark any difference or evolution in your approach or services?

Caldwell: Our offering has gradually evolved over the past few years—we’re doing a lot more development work as well as brand work, like creative direction and visual identity development—and the name and rebrand is absolutely meant to underscore how the studio has grown up, affording us a renewed focus and our business partners and clients a more varied offering in terms of capabilities. We’re also interested in scenarios where a hospitality approach to design can add value to new typologies, such as residential.

You are working toward carbon neutrality and are involved in the 1% for the Planet program—how do these reflect the firm’s approach to the community and its work?

Caldwell: We’re hardly alone when we say that the world turning upside down forced us to re-evaluate our priorities. We’ve been taking a critical—and long overdue—look at our role in our community (both physically in Brooklyn, and digitally in the creative world), and we’re working to develop programs that will allow us to champion positive change both with regards to professional development in the design field, as well as underserved sectors that don’t have budget to utilize design to further their initiatives. We’ve wanted to do pro bono work for a long time and are finally making it happen, which is really exciting. We’ll be working with 1% for the Planet to identify opportunities within their network and organization where we can add some design support through pro bono work.

Moreover, we’re the first to recognize that our work can oftentimes have a negative impact on the environment. We have indeed put plans in place to achieve a carbon-neutral office operation in Gowanus [Brooklyn] by the end of 2022.

Framebridge‘s Williamsburg, Brooklyn flagship store

What recent projects are you excited about?

Chou: A project that’s been several years in the making and close to our hearts is INNESS, an intimate country refuge in Accord, New York—about 90 minutes outside New York City. The project is a partnership between restaurateur Taavo Somer, the development team CBSK Ironstate, Lee Pollock, and Post Company. It’s situated on 200+ pastoral acres, and will include 40 hotel rooms, a restaurant and lounge, a 9-hole golf course designed by King Collins, a sports outfitter, swimming pools, tennis courts, walking trails, an events barn, and a farm shop. We’re looking to begin welcoming guests in this spring/summer.

We’re also working on some really cool hospitality properties that will open in 2022 and 2023 in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California; Aspen, Colorado; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Has the past year affected how you will design post-pandemic?

Caldwell: We’ve been fortunate to have weathered 2020 fairly well and are grateful for our clients and our strong team. With one of our partners [Ruben] already in Jackson, Wyoming, work from home and remote systems were already in place, so we were able to pivot fairly seamlessly. We still crave in person interaction and the spontaneous design conversations that come with it, so we’ll continue to keep an office in Brooklyn, but our staff will continue to have some flexibility in where they are based. We’re further considering more progressive remote working models and team off-sites to make sure we can retain and attract great designers.

The Lake House on Canandaigua, New York

How do you think this past year and the pandemic in general will shape the hospitality industry going forward?

Salem: We may be a bit biased, but we’re hopeful that hospitality will bounce back quickly and believe there is a lot of pent-up demand out there. We believe that the past year and the relative stationary life has caused us to collectively appreciate unique experiences and travel even more. We feel strongly that the discerning traveler will be more apt to seek higher-concept experiences rather than traditional lodging environments that have been designed to appeal to business or corporate travel. It’ll be interesting to see what protocols stick, but it’s clear that many of the innovations with respect to a more touchless service and a more rigorous sanitary approach will continue.

What would be each of your dream projects?

Chou: Senior Living. Seriously.
Salem: Our full independent furniture and lighting line.
Caldwell: Multifamily and workforce housing that blurs hospitality design with residential programming.

Photos: Chris Mottalini and courtesy of Ormond Group and Framebridge

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