The Office

Bill Bouchey, Interior Design ’85, creates innovative workspaces

Considering how much time people spend at their jobs, it’s surprising that workspace design doesn’t attract attention like its more glamorous residential cousin—and designers of work environments tend not to get big awards or their own TV shows. But Bill Bouchey, the design director of M Moser Associates’ New York office, finds his prolific, 30-year career of crafting spaces unreservedly fulfilling. “I’ve always gravitated to the workplace because it’s where you live most of your life,” Bouchey says. “I want my workplace to be as satisfying as my home.” To him, offices are no longer simply functional spaces. Instead, they need to include all the comforts and personal flourishes that you’d expect in a residence.

Bill Bouchey

Bill Bouchey

Raised in Lansingburgh, NY, a small town near Albany, Bouchey always dreamed of living in New York City. FIT’s faculty and its conceptual, holistic approach drew him to the Interior Design program, where he studied with Julius Panero, Martin Zelnik, and Michael Altschuler. “The faculty had a large number of architects, and the emphasis was on problem-solving with a three-dimensional approach that emphasized emotional connections and a sense of place,” he says.

Bouchey has been with M Moser for four years, a global design and architecture firm, overseeing a large team of creatives. (The firm has more than 600 employees worldwide.) He stresses the importance of the discovery process, with today’s clients more interested than ever in reflecting their brands through their offices.

“I feel passionate about understanding how design can support, enhance, improve, and match a client’s business objectives,” he says. He cites a recent advertising client in Asia and their need to make a communal meeting space both functional and memorable for visiting clients. “We used the theme of a carousel; there’s a slide that cascades down, adjacent to a flight of stairs,” Bouchey says. “The stair element is expanded into the design to be like stone bleachers, so it could also be used as a place for people to sit.”

Recent trends have driven designers of corporate spaces to be extra-creative: the amount of square footage per employee is shrinking, more and more space is being dedicated to media and technology, and clients themselves are more design savvy than ever. “They’ve all been online and done their research. Even if they’re not trained as architects, they almost always come in with ideas,” he says. “It’s a real challenge to come up with something original, authentic, and fresh, so you’re not repeating something somebody else has done.”

But this only fuels Bouchey’s love of creative problem-solving. “The beauty and the joy of it is that you get to collaborate with a variety of creative and technically interesting brands.”

His advice for the next generation? Trust your gut and learn the delicate dance of working creatively with a client. “When you combine that with being able to generate ideas, it’s pretty powerful. And it’s pretty satisfying, too.”