Paradigm Shift

How fitting that in 1999, the premier issue of Home & Design featured America Online’s newly minted Sterling, Virginia, headquarters. With a headline proclaiming, “The 21st century is here,” the H&D staff must have grasped how profoundly this start-up would spark our region’s economy, tech sector—and even its design industry—long before it migrated to New York. Tapped to design the interiors, Marlies Venute went futuristic. “In the entry rotunda [above], I came up with a desk that looked like a spaceship,” she recalls. A metal grid hovered above, under a glowing tray ceiling. Though light years ago by today’s 5G standards, the advent of AOL fostered a paradigm shift in DC, says Venute. “Not only did it bring technology into the home, but it opened people’s minds to modern design. It really turned a page in Washington.”

Interior Design: Marlies Venute, IFDA, Marlies Venute Interior Design, McLean, Virginia. Photography: HiTech Photo.