Twice a year, Xposed Studio Tours bring AIGA Pittsburgh’s members into workspaces all over the city. Pittsburgh is home to a lot of agencies, big and small, so these tours offer up a rare glimpse inside them. We don’t just limit ourselves to ad agencies, either. Aiming to be all-inclusive, our studio tours highlight anywhere from a production company, to an artist space or audio suite. If you’re doing creative work in a sweet space, we’re interested. These businesses kindly invite us into workplaces we probably wouldn’t have a chance to see otherwise.
This Spring, our Communications Co-Chair on the AIGA Pittsburgh Board, Emily Conti, put together a tour that was a little different from the usual lineup. It focused on a single studio: THIS IS RED. Our members came together last week at their unconventional office building in Munhall, PA. Emily admits, “I was so excited about bringing AIGA to THIS IS RED once I’d heard about them. I didn’t want us to miss out on them just because they weren’t located by other studios.”
Jeff Myers, owner of THIS IS RED, and coworker Katja Kauffman willingly took on the challenge of a one-stop Xposed Tour. We armed ourselves with drinks and pizza and started the night off with a rundown of what their agency does. We discovered that their team of 15 people create killer brand identities, digital work, photography, audio, and notably: “tons and tons and tons of video.” Their client list is made up of local favorites like Hidden Harbor of Squirrel Hill, and impressive brands like Dolby Labs and Coca-Cola. All the great work they do is closely tied to the space they make it in, which we had the chance to explore for ourselves.
THIS IS RED occupies a massively stunning Slovakian church. Built in 1925, what now houses an advertising agency was previously Saint Michael the Archangel. The main floor’s 15-foot ceilings, marble columns, and patterned dome made for a seriously impressive tour. It was clear that Jeff and his team love showing off their unusual office as they walked us through—pointing out details along the way. One of the grade school classrooms is now a modern kitchen, the sacristy a conference room, and the choir loft a library and whiskey bar. Art deco architecture aside, we saw tons of evidence of the agency’s creativity and personality. A living plant wall, Star Wars memorabilia, and neon lighting only added to the atmosphere.
We left feeling impressed and inspired by the THIS IS RED philosophy to “keep it purposeful, but make it awesome, and a bit ridiculous.” Special thanks to Jeff and Katja for opening their doors after hours. If you missed out on this Xposed Tour, keep an eye out for the next one this Fall.