You know those enviable offices that use design to perfectly communicate what the company inside is all about, without saying a word? You have one woman to thank for that practice: Eva Maddox, the interior designer who developed and coined the concept of branded environments. On February 1, she announced her retirement from Perkins+Will, where she was a design principal.
Maddox graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s interior design program in 1966 and opened her Chicago-based firm, Eva Maddox Associates, in 1975. In 2002, her practice merged with Perkins+Will where she worked on interiors for health care, retail, and offices; corporate identities; textiles; and packaging. Maddox was at the helm of the Branded Environments Group, which employs a research-based approach to design how people experience a company through its architecture, identity, and messaging. Some of Maddox’s most-celebrated work includes the Intrepid Air and Space Museum, the Swedish Covenant Hospital, and the headquarters of office solutions company Haworth.
Maddox—who has received over 100 awards and commendations over the course of her career—was also known for her pioneering work in social design, which was the focus of Archeworks, the multi-disciplinary school she founded in 1994 with architect Stanley Tigerman.
“I’ve always felt that our real customers are our customers’ customers,” Maddox told Fast Company in 1999 when she was profiled in the magazine. “If you don’t keep those people in mind—ask for their input—then you probably won’t be able to improve their lives through your work.”