Its now about you and the emotional values you bring into your workplace. By Angelo Adamo – Creative Director for Design Elemental


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


FINDING CALM…..                     IN YOUR HOME

On a cold evening, I had a lengthy conversation with my wife about how to stay focus during hard times.  We agreed that it’s easy to get overwhelmed by so many external forces that we have no control over.  Like this current pandemic that’s literally halted the world. 

Being confined helps us to better understand the purpose of our homes. We now see that our interiors is not only for living but essentially a space to find calm.

Calm is not like a passion where clarity, drive, and determination are the fundamentals for succeeding.  Calm is finding a space to trust that reflects your personal memories of strength and wellbeing.

Calm is by far holds greater importance during times of despair.  Calm is remembering the peaceful moments that attribute to your happiness and positive outlook. 

My calm moments are the times I spent growing up in Australia. My connection to nature and to family celebrations are the building blocks to my memories associated to specific colors like this aqua sea blue color.

My regular morning walks at Grange Beach – my home in South Australia. My relationship with weathered wood and white trim comes from memories of this jetty.

My theory of Human Sense Connectivity explores the relationship between memories and external influences (see previous blog on Human Sense Connectivity).  Therefore, the initial stage of design should focus on personal experiences and lifestyle.

First steps to find meaning within your interiors is to start isolating your thoughts and start filtering the memories that have had a positive impact.  These flashbacks become the roadmap to your style and design direction.

The Modern Component Construction Flagship Home

I am working on a project for Design Elemental Studio as our Flagship Modern Home in Northern Michigan. My objective is to showcase our new way of design and build using component construction systems. Component Construction is the customization of prefab homes with an emphasis on a meaningful and purposeful interior.

Exterior Concepts that allows natural light and air flow into the inside environment. These linear lines and darker and warmer tones remind me of the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

If you are fortunate to design your home from the initial programming phase, its important to accumulate enough details that will help you move forward into the next phase. The preliminary design phase begins the filtering process of materials and to start emphasizing on balance of color and contrast of texture.

A New Way of Living

Having room to breath does not mean you need more square footage. You need to prioritize the efficiencies of each room and how your organize objects and furniture. I typically visualize each space before I decide on a design direction. Having floor plans and elevations are a great source to help visualize.

Kitchen rending of Design Elementals Flagship Home in Northern Michigan. Larger windows and bi-fold sliding glass doors are a key feature to the indoor and outdoor living spaces.

Having a courtyard is the new backyard. I grew up in Australia but my family was from Italy. I remember the courtyards in Italy that allowed for neighbors to gather and for the children to play. My concept of this courtyard will be accessed by the kitchen and dining room for entertainment.

The Kitchen

I will be using large slab porcelain tile for the flooring in the entertainment spaces and hardwood flooring in the living spaces. The tile will then flow into the outside courtyards to obtain consistency between spaces. The holistic combination of stone and wood represents nature and a connection to the environment. The horizontal surfaces are reflective and neutral. A wood ceiling provides a balance to the neutral tones.

The Living Areas

These images of the study and entertainment room provides an escape from an open space plan. Cabinetry design is a key factor for luxury living and how customizing millwork elevates Component Construction from your typical prefab homes. Design Elemental Studio has an exclusive line of custom cabinets available to make your home more personal.

The Corridors

First impression is everything, so having a strong looking corridor and a front entrance will then be the catalyst of the remaining spaces.

The Bedrooms

I really like how this king bed frame has a built-in desk behind it, rather than the bed going against a wall. The double bunk beds are perfect if you have younger children who likes sleep overs with friends. The book casing encasing the window frame is a great addition when guest come stay and would like to read or browse.

The Bathrooms

Bathrooms are very personal. Tile plays such an important factor to the design which is why Design Elemental Studio has an exclusive range of porcelain tile available for our homes.

Changing the way we think about our interiors

Designing your space is a process and requires a mentor who can retrieve information from your memories to build a more meaningful and impactful solution to your home. Its not just about the aesthetic appeal but how you find calm amongst a hectic and consuming world. This is a new approach to design and a assertive process to build a sustainable and efficient luxury lifestyle.


My daughter and I spending time with our Aussie family in Florence, Italy 2019.

It Starts Within – Building your home one Component at a time.

It Starts Within – Building your home one Component at a time.

By the Creative Director of Design Elemental – Angelo Adamo

December 5th, 2019 Traverse City, Michigan

I think 2019 has been a remarkable year and perhaps the turning point with my profession.  For me, it has always been meeting the right people at the right time. Meeting my wife Katharine, for example, has not only given me two beautiful children but the courage to never give up. Its imperative to have strong relationships.

Meeting Jonathan Lee and Dave Socks were another important moment. My introduction between JLA and Socks Construction was perfect timing and combining these two brilliant firms are now pioneering the movement of the design build industry.

Jonathan Lee is an exceptional architect with a team that are reinventing the method of prefabricating buildings using a new system called Component Construction, which is considered the next generation of prefab buildings.

His firm, Jonathan Lee Architects, has modernized and improved the construction of a prefab structure and the efficiency of delivery. However, unlike most prefab buildings, they have maintained the authenticity an architect adds when customizing a building.  They focus on the intricate details of classic periods of architecture and design. JLA’s patented designs of components are now the core to our brands strategy.  

La Quinta do Muro is a project by Pierre Louis Faloci, a French architect who built it between 1983 and 1988. He received the prize “ L’Equerre d”Argent” in 1996, the highest French prize for architecture. A possible concept using Component Construction for future projects.

Dave Socks and his family, Charlie and John, have created a reputation as a high-quality builder and well-respected developers in Michigan.  Their ability to solve issues with calm and genuine sincerity is why their brand continues to grow. In the last 15 years, the urban landscape of Traverse City, a beautiful waterfront town that becomes a holiday destination in the summer, has become an attractive and cultural environment because of Socks Constructions investments and leadership.  

In May of 2019, I became Socks Construction Creative Director and partner of their new design-build-live studio called Design Elemental.

Design Elemental is a studio service, offering attainable building practices to unite spaces with personal values.  The partnerships between Jonathan Lee Architects, Socks Construction, and Component Construction Systems identifies quality craftmanship, bespoke architecture, quality-controlled construction, sustainable solutions, and luxury interior products.

Visual Inspiration for the new Design Elemental Studio opening in 2020, Traverse City, MI

With my experiences as a designer and a coach’s mentor, the market no longer wants just a home with more efficiencies, sustainable benefits, and economical values.  The next generation of homeowners are looking for a place to belong to.  Today, we face a symptom called “information overload” because we carry devices in our hands with easy access to almost everything. This is preventing us from what we humans should be doing, which is connecting to our senses for a harmonious bond to the environment. 

In Australia, as a young lad I had a clear vision. Explore the world and discover a more meaningful and purposeful life.  I have spent the last 23 years learning to connect memories by giving a purpose to an object or thing.  This philosophy, called Human Sense Connectivity, is to create a space that can have a profound affect towards decision making, restoring energy, and wellness. 

It’s only taken my 23 years to figure this out but my formula in life is quite simple.  Clarity + Direction = Passion.  What’s more significant is that without passion, you have no formula. Also, I have realized that nothing lasts forever, but something inside of me feels that memories do.

I look forward to share more stories about Design Elemental and Component Construction exciting progress in 2020.


Updated Website for Angelo Adamo Design

Updated Website for Angelo Adamo Design
The new Angelo Adamo Design website –

I am thrilled to announce my new partnership with Socks Construction with the formation of Design Elemental, a design-build-live studio. The studio will include luxury retail, interior design and architectural services, and the revolutionary build method called Component Construction.

As Creative Director for Socks Construction, I am leading the branding development for Design Elemental’s exclusive ceramic tiles, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, and home scent and body products labeled Adamo – (my last name which is Latin for people).

new business logo

Design Elemental is currently producing a new website which is due to be released before the opening of the studio during summer 2020. Please follow us via Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.

For my information on Design Elemental, visit . Contact me direct at for branding or business opportunities.