Interior design alum Andee Hess ’03 was featured in Portland Monthly’s 2016 Design Annual.
The sleek, retro-style Wiz Bang Bar, with its wafer-cone wall patterns and pay-station beacon bearing a signature soft-serve icon, runs smoothly despite the mob. Within just 500 square feet, staffers whip up concoctions like a sundae with fresh berries and grits, everything and everyone as cool as the streamlined design suggests, and the line moves fast.
“Function informs the form,” Andee Hess says. The 37-year-old North Portland native — really: she was born inside a house at the intersection of Albina and Alberta — is the city’s rising design star, her company Osmose Design responsible for some of our new landmark spaces. The deco geometry of House Spirits’ Central Eastside tasting room landed her in Wallpaper. The lush elegance of Ava Gene’s dining room, tea-colored custom details at Miami’s Small Tea café — Osmose tailors a project to the individual client, which gives each a distinct heartbeat.
“I don’t want you to walk into a project and be like, ‘Oh, this is Osmose,’” Hess says. “I want you to experience it and ask, ‘Who did this?’”
Still, the Hess sensibility is recognizably clean and creative, roughened up just enough by her affinity for custom details, which Hess crafts to an exacting degree. She says she grew up “always building stuff with my hands.” She attended Portland Community College and Marylhurst to study interior design, then needed an internship. “One of the founders of the architecture firm Skylab went to Marylhurst, so I stalked her,” Hess says. “I was like, ’It has to be at Skylab.’ It’s an architecture firm, but their focus was on doing full build-out, integrated environments. They had a spec house in Dwell back then.”
Her first project as an intern was the Doug Fir Lounge — she was, she recalls with pride, the person who hung the pleasingly old-school silver bead curtain that still adorns the South Bar. Four years later, after having gone from intern to the head of interior design at the company, she was ready to strike out on her own. “One of my first clients was Patrick Fisher, who owns Hive Modern. He bought a house and asked, ‘Can you do this?’ And I was like, ‘I think I can. I can quit and do this, and I can always get a real job.’”
That was 2008, when Andee Hess Design — soon to be renamed Osmose Design — was born. (“And then there was 2009,” she says, her grimace evoking the tanking economy, a decline she survived, in part, by remaining a one-woman operation.) Today, the company has grown, at its own deliberate pace, to four — “three of us at the core” — and Hess is determined to stop it there. “One of my biggest challenges and goals has actually been to stay small,” she says. “I don’t want to run a business to be a manager of people. I want to run a business to explore and do the projects that I do and know the people and have the adventure. That’s why I’m doing it.”
This news item is an excerpt from an article titled Interior Designer Andee Hess Puts the Portland Aesthetic on the National Map published in Portland Monthly, October 2016. >> Read the full article on PDXMonthly.com
Andee Hess earned her bachelor’s degree in interior design from Marylhurst University in 2003. She worked four years at Skylab Architecture before starting her own firm, Osmose Design, in 2007.