“We love felt. We have a whole thing for felt,” admits Kim Yao, principal of ARO. The New York firm certainly has a way with the material: In multiple collaborations with the furniture brand Knoll, ARO has turned again and again to felt, finding ways to incorporate it into architectural schema.
At Casper’s new headquarters, the matted stuff crops up in transitional spaces such as the reception area, or what Yao and coprincipal Adam Yarinsky nickname “the cloud.” The ethereal metaphor is very on-brand for the mattress start-up, which outgrew its previous offices on Park Avenue South almost as soon as it had moved in. Casper’s marketing materials, at one point ubiquitous on subway cars, use buoyant illustrations to depict chaste bed-ins with friends. Tumbleweeds of goofy avatars, pets, and miscellanea are suggestive of drowsy withdrawal.