The Big Apple
NYC Studio Visits


In October 2009, designworkers Emma Kaniuk and Amber Parkin visited New York City. While there, aside from eating hot dogs, attending book design lectures (one apiece), shopping and soaking up the cultural milieu of the city, they had the opportunity to visit two design studios - ESI Design and Farneheit212. Below, they share their thoughts on the experience.

ESI Design

ESI Design is an experiential design firm. From the moment we stepped out of the lift, we were immersed in a world of interaction – the reception area was filled with games to aid learning, displays and timelines. They organized us to meet with writer Kemp Baldwin, who took us through what exactly an experiential design firm does.


Founded in 1977 by collaboration champion Edwin Schlossberg, ESI approach their work from a customer journey perspective; they are most interested in how do people relate to environments and how do environments relate to people. We especially enjoyed learning about their work for the Shanghai 2010 Expo Corporation Pavilion – an inspiring ‘Dream Cube’ that will showcase the dreams of Shanghai residents and visitors through new technologies that enable communication and collective creativity. The immersive journey will also allow visitors to transform the look of Pavilion through interactive technologies that translates their gestures and movements into dramatic visual changes of light across the building’s surfaces.



Farenheit212 are an innovation consultancy who are driving top-line growth for the by creating transformational products, brands and businesses. As they say, it’s all about “Skill. Velocity. Outcomes!”


These guys set up initially in Auckland and are now based in Manhattan. We met with Kiwi Geoff Vuleta who graciously talked us through their process and some of their exciting projects. Viresh Chopra, Head of Design, then took us around the studio, a fantastic ‘hands on’ prototyping environment.


One thing that amazed us was the speed and volume with which they put ideas out on the table. For any one of their projects they put out a whole range of significantly different concepts. They had complete and implicit confidence in each of these ideas. We think that’s a brilliant American trait; people don’t question that they are ‘right’ for job - they trust in a positive outcome. In comparison, when New Zealanders are putting work on the wall, we sometime act a bit apprehensive and apologetic. That said, we are world champions at stepping back and asking how we can improve our work, or approach things from another angle.


We left NoHo that day feeling incredibly inspired and pondering how we too could harness that mix of American chutzpah and kiwi curiosity that characterizes Fahrenheit.




Special thanks must go to Geoff Suvalko, former Designworks partner and current East Coast resident, who kindly organized these visits.