HOW THIS DESIGNER INCORPORATED MEANING INTO NEARLY EVERY ASPECT OF MONMOUTH COUNTY’S NEWEST MODERN SPACE

BY SAMANTHA FARAGALLI YOUNGHANS • PHOTOS BY PATTY PIXELS

Paola Zamudio long wanted a career in TV, but could never shake passions for fashion, architecture, and design. After working at style magazines in New York City and for a time as a stylist, she traveled to Italy to receive a master’s degree in trend forecasting, which ultimately changed her professional path forever.

In 2014, she founded NPZ Style + Décor, and for the past six years, Bell Works in Holmdel has been one of her company’s most notable clients. Zamudio serves as creative director and lead designer of the project a repurposed structure that was part of the historic Bell Labs Holmdel Complex. Today, the “Metroburb” (Bell Works’ name for this metropolis in suburbia) is filled with office space, retail shops, restaurants, and other businesses.

It’s a project the designer has described as among her greatest accomplishments one that helped earn her the 2017 Docomomo Commercial Design Excellence Award, a place in Interior Design magazine’s
“Top Firm” section, that same magazine’s “Designer Rising Star: Workplace” for 2019, and NJBIZ’s “Top 50 Women in Business” award for 2020.

She knew from the moment she walked into that empty building designed by architect, Eero Saarinen, and completed in 1962 that she wanted to be involved.

“I looked at the bones…the design, what he created in the 1960s, and was so impressed by the architecture,” Zamudio said, adding that Ralph Zucker, President of Somerset Development and the visionary behind Bell Works’ transformation, also had a vision that she was “proud to stand behind.”

Shorecrest Spread

“After listening to him, his energy, and his perspective, I felt drawn to it,” she said. “I love when people have a mission they believe in. He was so confident…contagious in his enthusiasm.”

While coming up with ideas for the space, she drew inspiration from Saarinen’s style and design, but executed its décor with an even more modern twist. “I call my design perspective ‘retrofuturism,’” she said, “because it looks into the past but also brings things into the present,” adding that everything she’s done at the space has a special meaning.

The favorite decision she’s made at Bell Works thus far is a collaboration with artist, Ron Arad, on the funky sofas (which they call “tubes”) on the main atrium. “I didn’t want to bring a sofa from a catalog,” she said, “I wanted to create something special for this extraordinary place.”

The floor tile surrounding these tubes is Josef Albers inspired (a late 20th century art educator), whose wife, Anni Albers, was a weaving artist. The black, red, yellow, and white tubes are inspired from colors in one of her paintings. Said Zamudio: “When you look at it from the top, you truly see an art piece.”

Although Bell Works is open and fully functioning today, the establishment remains “a fantastic opportunity” for Zamudio, as she is responsible for all creative decision making, including marketing, social media, signage, and branding. As for the future, she’s proud to be involved in part of Bell Works’ newest project a repurposing of the 150 acre former AT&T Campus in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago known as Chicagoland.

Although Bell Works is open and fully functioning today, the establishment remains “a fantastic opportunity” for Zamudio, as she is responsible for all creative decision making, including marketing, social media, signage, and branding. As for the future, she’s proud to be involved in part of Bell Works’ newest project a repurposing of the 150 acre former AT&T Campus in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, a suburb outside of Chicago known as Chicagoland.

NPZ Style + Décor
8 Spruce Street, Suite 35N,
Manhattan / npzdesign.com