Teach for America
Pentagram designed this incredible space for Teach for America, a non-profit organization that recruits teachers for underserved communities throughout the United States.
Michael Bierut and his team designed the environmental graphics for their headquarters in New York City. They incorporated the organization’s five core values into their interior design: transformational change, team, leadership, respect and humility.
Teach for America was founded by Wendy Kopp in 1989, who started recruiting recent college graduates to teach in schools. In 25 years, they have grown form teaching 6 regions to inspiring 52 regions across the country, with 6,000 teachers and over 28,000 students.
By using well-thought materials, like wood, student desks, and chalkboards, and with the help of architects, HOK, they managed to create a space that transports us to a traditional classroom.
Surely, one of the elements that makes their visitor’s jaws open are the two donors tables, located in their waiting area. Instead of making a traditional donor wall, the design team produced these pencil tables with multiple colored pencils (240 to be exact), manufactured by Design Communications Limited, which have the name of each donor stamped. Yellow pencils represent donors’ names, red pencils are used for National Board members, and natural colored pencils are kept for future donors.
Many beautiful details like multiple framed photos and a life-sized Scrabble, make this project as clever as the teachers of this organization that inspire children every day.
Project team: Michael Bierut, partner-in-charge and designer; Britt Cobb, associate and designer; Julia Lemle, project manager.