Giving back to those in need is a mandate at Gensler, and staffers frequently donate their time and creative energy through gServe, the firm’s community-outreach program. An uplifting recent example is the Oakland office’s chromatic contribution to the Cambridge Elementary School in nearby Concord, California. A volunteer team of 12, led by interior designers Fabiola Hernandez and Sergio Mondragon, collaborated with the East Bay Area IIDA chapter and Project Color Corps, a local nonprofit founded by product strategist and colorist Laura Guido-Clark, to transform the schoolyard via kaleidoscopic environmental graphics.
The mission was to not only revivify the physical plant but also engender in students, many from disadvantaged backgrounds, a sense of peace, optimism, and ownership. Weighing in on everything from the concept (“stellar fun”) to the palette (turquoise was deemed particularly affirming) during charettes, the young scholars got the chance to play client, designer, and artist: all 700 participated in voting day, and many helped paint the playground. Talk about leaving a mark on the community.