Visual Mantra

Strong, rhythmic gestures and pride of place create an atmospheric “om” in Bobby McAlpine and Susan Ferrier’s new ADAC office.

The buoyancy and empowerment that comes with working in a beautiful setting is just as important as the environment you choose to surround yourself with in your private dwelling, says architect Bobby McAlpine. “What you practice at home can follow you to work,” he shares.    

It’s a beauty-as-sanctuary philosophy that business partner and acclaimed designer Susan Ferrier not only espouses but also kept top of mind as she devised the interiors for their newly renovated office inside ADAC. “The emotionality we brought into this space is a higher vibration—and ultimately, it brings out better results in the workplace,” says Ferrier of the crisp but atmospheric mood she and McAlpine have created for their team of 11.

Indeed, it’s powerful, rhythmic gestures, such as floor-to-ceiling drapery partitions, high-back skirted chairs, and wood-planked walls that allow employees of the architecture-and-interiors firm both the privacy to succeed and the freedom to “strengthen a common muscle,” as McAlpine says.

The partners’ holistic approach to design also happens to be smart business practice. Clients who walk through the doors of their new office, says Ferrier, feel a sense of security and ease upon encountering what feels more like a living room than a typical office setting. “Without words, the layout of our office lays any insecurities to rest,” says Ferrier.

Of course, context also played a starring role in the residential feel of their new space. Moving into the “library,” as McAlpine and Ferrier call ADAC, was a bold move, one that raised the level of expectation from neighboring showrooms and manufacturers alike. However, “there’s no substitute for being among like minded people who hold beauty in greater esteem,” says Ferrier.  That sense of community, in fact, plays a key role in the firm’s success, as vendors and clients also happen to be great friends. “Our work and our social interaction are so interwebbed,” says McAlpine. “Most of our interaction happens here. So how we go about working and what it looks and feels like is really important.”

INTERIOR DESIGN Susan Ferrier and Bobby, McAlpine, McAlpine House. (404) 501-9200;