Angelo On Design


Its now about you and the emotional values you bring into your workplace.

By the Creative Director of Design Elemental – Angelo Adamo
April 30, 2020

The open space workplace is now a thought from the past.  There will be new strategies on how to implement a healthy work environment that is not intruding in people’s personal space.

The most important phase of design is the initial phase called programming.  This is when a team of designers rely on feedback from the client regarding the structure of the firm, its brand strategy, and growth analysis.

In 2016, I was the lead designer for Wake Forest University Sports Performance Center and a corporate office for Pike Electric.  All had different requirements, but the main emphasis was to identify the core brand of their business and how to achieve the best possible results in function and appeal.

What we now must consider is for employees and students the flexibility to work from home or away from campus.  This means, designing an office is no longer about the brand of a business but more about you.


My principles of design are divided into categories such as balance, function, form, saturation of light and color, harmony, and detail. These categories are considered not on the individual, but the dynamics of a group. Now, the main categories for a home office must include personal values, flexibility, noise levels, digital access, and organization.

Most of us do not have the luxury of a new office space with modern features at home.  Typically, our choices are dining tables, small guest rooms, or the basement.  At the end of the day, we are then left with a messy space filled with open folders and empty coffee mugs.

However, there are ways to design an office that provides positive solutions to your work environment.

This is my Design Strategy for home offices:


Adding photos or posters of your favorite artwork requires restraint.  Consider these factors when adding to your home office.

Select art, photos, or objects that have a positive reaction to your memories.  I have a photo of my wife from a while back when we were traveling Italy.  We were young and enthusiastic about life and how traveling was our method for trusting each other.

Images of my two little girls always puts a smile on my face.  Every time I glimpse at Laila and Delphine, I remember myself saying to them “to never give up and do not be afraid to fail”.  I guess this memory encourages me to do the same thing.

Above my desk are drawings of the Eden Variety Theater in Paris and the Dorly Cartes Opera House in London. When I was 6 years old, I lived in Italy where my parents are from before immigrating to Australia.  I recall the day that my father, Giacinto Adamo, took me to La Scala Opera House in Milan.  His cousin was doing building repairs at the backstage, so I was able to tour the entire theater.  How can a 6-year-old child ever forget that?  I still have vivid memories of gold trim, hand crafted medallions, and the grand red velvet drapes.  Experiencing this with my father and listening opera with him is why I have a passion for theater design.  Fortunately, in 2015, I was the project manager for the renovation of the Raleigh Theater at the Duke Center for the Performing Arts, in Raleigh, North Carolina.


On my desk I keep a book that my mother-in-law gave me for Xmas. I am obsessed with “The Italian Design Factories” from Interni. I am always intrigued by the originality of design and how artists can affect your way of thinking. When I need a 5-minute break from looking at the screen, I have this book to help me focus on the true reasons why I became a designer.


To be organized is to be prepared.  I have a leather mini filing cabinet that I keep essentials that are small enough to get lost in a drawer.  This handsome black leather storage unit is small enough the fit on my desk and large enough to become a detail.

The Chopstick Holder is from a cool store in NYC called Pearl River Mart.  My wife and I worked in NYC for 5 years which were the most exciting but exhausting times. Still, they were awesome memories.

I like to use two note pads. I have a journal for notes and scribbling and a smaller book for sketches. I am not a big fan on sticky notes because inevitably they disappear.

Filing cabinets are essential and it beats having a book shelve filled with manila folders.  The objective is not to over pack your filings cabinets. Baskets are a great concept for storing oversize items, especially if your do not have a bookshelf.This ornate vintage box is a classic.  I hide my bills and other important information that I need for easy access.

I recommend pin up boards for displaying information that can be easily accessible and to be inspired.

I also use Trello, a pin-up board app, that can be installed on your smartphone or computer.  This system provides a methodological approach in project organization and management.  I have boards for collecting design concepts, vendor information, daily tasks, and client programming.


I have a Bose Bluetooth speaker on my desk that is easily transferred from one room to another.  I like background music as it provides me background music, especially if my girls are playing and making noise.   I am fortunate that my finished basement office has good noise reduction levels, but when I need total focus, I also use my Beats Noise Reduction headset.


If I were not in love with these original Baker chairs, I would recommend an ergonomic chair from Humanscale or Herman Miller.  However, once you finish working then a fine piece of furniture is more appealing than an ergonomic chair.  This is a tough decision, but I personally take the side of beauty before comfort.


If you are fortunate to have natural light in your office, then you do not need to worry about ambient lighting.  However, most of us need an LED desk light for task lighting and a taller table lamp for surround lighting.  Having two lamps instead of one helps to balance light without creating shadows at the corners of the desk.

The future of office design is now about you.  Control your surroundings by adding your personal brand and values to your workday.  Angelo Adamo

Consider these factories when designing your office space:

  • Add items to your desk that you have a positive reaction to your day like artwork, photos, and objects.
  • Include storage boxes for a better organized system.
  • Do not clutter your desk.
  • Once you leave your home office, your desk becomes a vignette so hide the stationary supplies and your “To-Do list”.
  • Use ambient lighting with your LED task lighting.  Once you are done for the day, you can turn off the task lighting but still have the ambient light available.
  • Have a book on your desk that keeps you inspired when you have a 5-minute break.
  • Control your sound by using a Bluetooth device.

Life is all about change. My theory on Human Sense Connectivity is to connect to your senses and to focus on the memories that has had a positive effect in your life. These are moments that you should cherish and to build upon. Positive memories are essential during difficult times, so look deep and find out what your true values are. It’s time to add your brand to your work life.

Angelo Adamo – May 19th 2020