Crafting an Artful Workplace: Amazon Silverstone

As Amazon’s vision for the ideal workplace shifts away from typical high-energy tech graphics, their new approach to workplace and amenity design is more grounded in the comforts of home and the tranquility of nature.



Practice Area




The Challenge

Amazon expressed interest in a greater level of artist integration in their offices, going beyond hanging artwork on walls or commissioning a muralist. Our response to this interest was to design a strategy that would connect over a dozen artists’ work with the interior concept of familiar outdoor spaces, telling one overall story throughout the whole building.

Project Vision

‘Crafted by Nature’ as a concept focuses on the beauty of small imperfections found in nature and also in masterfully hand-crafted items. Spaces should feel familiar, comfortable, and contain subtle details that provide opportunities for discovery. Every design element should tell its own unique part of the overall story and seamlessly guide employees, allowing staff to naturally orient themselves within the building.

Whole-cloth quilting focuses on intricate stitching rather than color blocking. The pattern of this ‘picnic blanket’ was freehanded by the artist to feature rolling hills, leaves, flowers, and basket weaving.

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

A photo realistic mosaic of the artist’s actual backyard garden studio is comprised of hundreds of hand-cut pieces of colored glass, bringing lush greenery and flowers into the building core.

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

Design + Execution

The project unites seven traditional arts-and-craft mediums across the works of fourteen diverse artisans. Our team researched artists for each, looking to fit criteria of skill, mastery, women & BIPOC, local to the Pacific Northwest, and ability to meet the project schedule and budget. The team provided concept renderings to the artists to visualize the spaces where their work would display, as well as dimensions and a concept prompt or detail to connect their work to the overall story. Each artist was encouraged to bring their own experience and vision to their pieces.

The result is an interconnected, dynamic web of varied art experiences. The ground floor features a cyclorama wall in the café that immerses you in a lovely garden park, with a wall of vases detailed with matching leaf stencils. On the second floor, a picnic theme is represented by a whole cloth quilt with leaf and basket weave stitching patterns as well as an integrated elevator level identity. Traditional color blocked quilt squares (and one quilt square referencing Rufus, Amazon’s first canine co-worker) are displayed in the kitchenette, and wall graphics with illustrations of picnics feature Amazon’s Happy Belly food products and an imaginary drone picnic basket delivery. The third floor centers on the concept of the backyard art studio, including a mosaic mural of local artist Jennifer Kuhns’ own backyard glass studio. On the fourth floor, DeepRacer and Scout (Amazon AI and delivery robots) traverse forest trails as an owl looks on, while more macrame owls and one Amazon ‘owlbot’ take roost in the kitchenette and a macrame forest welcomes employees from the elevator. The fifth floor imagines a series of lakeside adventures. A Kindle rests on the arm of an Adirondack chair, while 35 embroidery hoops are arranged to create one continuous view of kayaks pulled up by the lake’s boat dock. Other nods to Amazonian culture include a garden gnome Peccy mascot, a sticker-covered laptop, and beloved squirrel friend, Lambda Sam.

Our team was excited and honored to have the opportunity to work directly with all the artists — to connect threads between their individual wells of knowledge and experience, while tying each piece back to the thematic building concept. Altogether, 31 works of art harmonize to create an office full of welcoming, comfortable spaces to inhabit. Collectively, they convey the spirit of Amazon in a mature, refined tone that reflects the company’s growth from a garage startup to a world-class incubator for innovative talents and ideas.

Sustainably sourced cotton cording is knotted into an abstract forest scene, complete with naturally dyed leaves and integrated level identity, in this macrame tryptic.

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

Thirty-five embroidery hoops are arranged to show one larger scene of kayaks pulled up beside a dock at the edge of an alpine lake, with an unstitched cotton level identity.

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

Bridging between kitchenettes and hallways, levels have secondary tactile art pieces. Here, classic macrame owls are enriched with Nigerian Adirè cloth, and hand-stitched thread paintings illustrate local flora and fauna.

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

A series of detailed pen-and-ink illustrations are featured at gathering and intersection points; here in the cafe, hanging lanterns blur the lines between reality and imagination, between indoors and out.

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

Eleven hallway hangout spaces have unique illustrations of each level’s scenic inspiration. Amazon brand details are subtly incorporated in each piece, including Scout, Kindle, DeepRacer, and Sam, the Lambda squirrel.

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

Project Details
The unexpected use of whole-cloth, intricate stitching, cotton cording and embroidery hoops gives the typical high tech office space a surprising warmth, with the comfort of home.
Juror 1
This distinguished itself from other workplace designs because of its connection to the location and the story it told. It had a commitment to inclusivity in its use of commissioning diverse artists that the judges admired.
Juror 2
Underscores how design can be responsive as the work and home blur in a post-pandemic world. A cohesive gesture of materiality, texture, and humanity in a well crafted space.
Juror 3
Design Team

Eric LeVine (partner in charge)
Mara Stokke (lead designer)
Mandy Seever (designer)
Cari Scotkin (project manager)


SkB Architects (architecture)
Washington Commercial Painters (fabricator)
James Taylor Gray (illustration)
Unique Art Glass (stained glass)
Virginia Sin (ceramics)
Shannon Schlosser (quilting)
Doris Hacketts of Gees Bend Quilters (quilting)
Jennifer Kuhns, Kim Jensen (mosaic)
Amy Zwikel, Nossè (macrame)
Cloth Tattoo, Mara Stokke, Maria Zito, Amanda Seever (embroidery)

Photo Credits

Sean Airhart, NBBJ

Open Date