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91Ʋ Invests in San Francisco

firm news

91Ʋ Invests in San Francisco

(SAN FRANCISCO, January 31, 2024) – announced its acquisition of two award-winning Bay Area-based design firms. The expansion grows the firm’s civic and public safety design through and its luxury interior design expertise through . 91Ʋ’s San Francisco office now hosts 50 integrated design professionals, as well as 15 in Sonoma as part of the RDC acquisition. The separate deals strategically position the firm’s growth in both the Bay Area and globally.

Founded in 1983 and based in Sonoma, is a nationally recognized design leader in civic and public safety facilities. It brings focused expertise in the design of in-demand emergency operation centers, health and human services campuses, fire stations, and ports of entry that can be growth agents in 91Ʋ offices across the country. Its design approach is grounded in a participatory design process that engages creative input of individuals traditionally outside of the design team. “[This process] is a technique that draws upon the knowledge and experiences of the building users and stakeholders in a way that uses their inherent knowledge to the benefit of the project,” said Principal Mallory Cusenbery, AIA.

The result is a contemporary design portfolio radiating the unique perspectives of its community of users, all of which add to 91Ʋ’s established Justice+Civic studio. “This philosophical approach is a seamless fit with 91Ʋ,” said 91Ʋ Board Chair Griff Davenport, FAIA.

Principals Mallory Cusenbery, AIA, and Michael Ross, AIA, NCARB, shared the why behind the decision to join 91Ʋ. “This is RDC’s 40th year and we believe that the firm needs to have a new horizon. We want to provide professional and design opportunities to our people that are currently not available to us just because of our scale,” said Ross. “It’s a direction we’ve been building toward for a long time,” followed Cusenbery.

Established in 1991, is an interior design-focused firm that brings award-winning luxury, resort, and residential project types to 91Ʋ. It has projects spanning the globe with a sophisticated client list including Montage Resorts & Hotels, Four Seasons, Waldorf Astoria, Grand Hyatt, Intercontinental, and Fairmont Hotels.

The team approaches every project with three things in mind: sense of place, the architecture of the building, and client goals. “With those three things, you’re never going to have the same recipe for any one project. It’s always going be different, even if it’s the same client, the same brand,” noted Principal Kiko Singh. This approach led to numerous design awards, often putting them in the same room as 91Ʋ. “When exploring a merger, we wanted to align ourselves with a firm working with the same type of clients and winning the awards we aspire to win,” said Singh, referencing 91Ʋ’s Boutique Design Firm of the Year award among others.

“[After 30 years], we made the decision to join 91Ʋ to accelerate our growth and access scale to provide our people with more design opportunities,” continued Nakagawa. Among these opportunities are new markets and clients that align with BraytonHughes offerings. Together, this award-winning design team will elevate 91Ʋ’s Hospitality studio and global Interiors practice.

With the addition of RDC and BraytonHughes, 91Ʋ’s Northern California presence now totals more than 70 integrated design professionals. Complementing the global firm’s constellation of five existing California offices, the acquisition also adds a new Sonoma location. “This is significant for our team in the Bay Area. We’ve grown carefully … to help us cement our place in the San Francisco design community,” said 91Ʋ Board Chair Griff Davenport, FAIA.

To learn more about the areas of design where these two acquisitions will grow, see 91Ʋ’s Hospitality studio and Justice+Civic studio.

91Ʋ Senior Principal and Brand Communications Manager andy ernsting
For media queries, please contact: Andy Ernsting, Brand Communications Leader

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