Not long before Vertical Arts Architecture moved into its new office in Wildhorse Marketplace, staff designer Katy Vaughn went to a show by contemporary sculptor Richard Serra at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Serra's use of nontraditional materials caught Vaughn's eye, and she got to work on an asymmetrical resin-material wall for Vertical Arts' expanded headquarters. It's one of many artistic touches in the space, which opened in December.
"It's really exciting to be able to showcase the overlap between art and architecture, and not a lot of firms have that opportunity," Vaughn said. Most prominent in that overlap is a partnership with Steamboat Springs gallery owner Kimberly Saari, who plans to organize occasional art shows on the office's first floor.
"Katy had me at Serra," Saari said, explaining the similarity between her tastes in contemporary art and Vertical Arts' taste in clean-cut, innovative designs. The entry level of the Wildhorse space features several large-scale paintings by Denver artist Michael Dowling - who was featured in Saari's downtown gallery space in November - and ceramic wall hangings by local artist Julie Anderson.
Brandt Vanderbosch, owner of Vertical Arts, said his firm has had a strong tie to art and form in its four years in business.
"Art has always been a big part of Vertical Arts," Vanderbosch said. "We wanted a layered effect of different materials and wanted this to be a showcase for architecture but also a palette for different events."
Saari said the relationship between fine art and architecture is a natural one, and the similarity between her artists' work and Vanderbosch's architecture comes through in the sleek Wildhorse space.
"I knew his vision and his work and how he wanted things to look," Saari said, adding that she hopes to work with Vertical Arts staff members to come up with ideas for the gallery portion of the office.
Vanderbosch, Vaughn and their fellow staff members designed or selected every aspect of the new space, from the stepladder that leads to a materials room to the light fixtures in the conference room. Many of the materials used are sustainable and were crafted with the help of local artisans, Vaughn said.
"Just everywhere you turn there are goodies - goodies for the eye," Saari said. Vanderbosch and Vaughn said the creativity of the space and the inclusion of visual art encourages Vertical Arts' designers.
"We wanted to do something unique and create an environment that was inspiring for us," Vaughn said.