Inside IONIC

One-Minute Mile January

Dr. Eugene Thompson and IONIC CEO takes one minute to dive into his topic of the month!

Core Values Revisited: Family

More than two decades have passed since IONIC’sFounder and President, Eugene Thompson, left his corporate job to pursue doodling in his living room and to ultimately begin Ionic DeZign Studios. Rather than another run-of-the-mill corporate culture, Eugene knew that IONIC would be different. In addition to other Core Values such as Teamwork and Innovation, Eugene wanted to establish a company that supported the important balance between work, family and community while still being successful on a national scale.

That’s why FAMILY was designated to be of particular importance when IONIC’s Core Values were created.

Since then, Ionic DeZign Studios has really become a family affair! That’s because Gideon Thompson, Eugene’s son, is also part of the IONIC team as Director of Operations.

As a Senior Architect in addition to the Founder, Eugene is an active and face-forward participant in planning and building the unique spaces that IONIC is known for. On the other hand Gideon works behind the scenes in collaboration with not only his father but the rest of the IONIC team to ensure that IONIC’s financial, administrative and human resources needs are met and delivered upon daily. This father/son duo works in tandem to ensure that the IONIC brand continues to successfully drive forward and that Family remains an important part of the company culture.

When Ionic DeZign Studios began and it’s Core Values established the goal was to cultivate a company of people who enjoy their jobs. The best way to do that, is to make it more about the people than the job. By having Family as a Core Value, and family making up the company itself, the importance of spending time with the people we care about will always be present.

Eugene’s August One-Minute Mile

Dr. Eugene Thompson and IONIC CEO takes one minute to dive into his topic of the month!

We Build More Than Spaces. We Build Relationships.

From site and space planning, through complete permit and construction documents, to construction contract administration, we bring our client’s vision to life. We wouldn’t be able to do this so well without the talented and experienced partners and contractors we work with. We may be the brains but they are the brawn!

That’s why we value the bonds we create with our vendors as highly as the relationships we form with clients. From construction to engineering, we have go-to teams for nearly any discipline and we regularly partner with the same firms for multiple projects. We are proud of our long-standing relationships — some of them for years.

We understand our partners extremely well. We know their specialties, the quality of their work, and how they’ll implement our plans. These strong relationships benefit us and our clients as well. We strive to work with the best firms for any project so together we can ensure the most hassle-free, high-quality product possible for our clients.

  • General Contractor 
    • Our chosen GC is responsible for providing all of the material, labor, equipment (such as engineering vehicles and tools) and services necessary for the actual construction of the project. They take are plans and get to work making them happen! We often form strong relationships with our GC’s because they become such an important part of the build.
  • Structural Engineer 
    • The structural engineer is responsible for designing physical structures to withstand external pressures. They are concerned with ensuring the integrity of each element of a structure, such as beams, foundations, columns and floors and often act in a consulting manner as we create plans and move into the build phase.
  • MEP Engineer
    • Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers—known as “MEP” engineers—use scientific principles to design and build the functional and mechanical systems of a building. People in the architecture world like to think of MEP engineers as the builders and maintainers of a structure’s central nervous system.
  • Civil Engineer
    • Because a building needs to be accessible and accommodate all of its unique surroundings, we coordinate with civil engineers who design plans for road access, parking lots, sewer and drain systems and much more. Civil engineers help us ensure your building fits its site in the most advantageous way.
  • Geotechnical Engineer 
    • You may not realize, but it’s our job to consider the actual ground and soil under and around location of our builds. That means, we often have to bring a geotechnical engineer onboard. They investigate and evaluate soil, rock, groundwater, and man-made materials and their interaction with earth retention systems.

That’s just the typically teams we might partner with, but it’s not all. We partner with other consultants as we need them including a Pool Consultant, Acoustical Consultant and, on a historical project in California, an Adobe Mud Consultant!

This might go without saying, but it takes a village to create a new building! We appreciate the high-quality teams we have the pleasure to work with and can ensure our clients they can be confident in the partners we chose.


Where in the World is IONIC

When you’re finally ready to build the worship, commercial, office or restaurant space of your dreams – why would you let your potential partners be confined to your immediate radius?

We hear about business owners and decision-makers wanting to work with a specific architecture firm that aligns perfectly with their vision and values (often it’s us!) but headquartered out of state. Many times, they believe they must choose a firm closer to them, instead. Why!?

There’s no reason an architect based in your city can do a better job than one halfway across the country.
Architecture is an old discipline. It’s been practiced for centuries. For that reason, it’s also steeped in tradition and conventional beliefs. One of those beliefs being that build partners have to meet in-person to create the best space possible. Whether that means a lack of communication, a hurdle to building amicable relationships, or forfeiting oversight is the problem – it’s just not true.

With virtual communication processes now firmly ingrained in almost all businesses, in-person contact with your architect is an unnecessary remnant of the past. At IONIC, we’re licensed in almost twenty different states and in-demand in many of them. We continue to form great relationships, complete amazing spaces, and ensure top-notch service for our clients whether they are sitting in our Virginia headquarters, or not.


Your goal should be to find the highest performing firm with a portfolio that excites you, whether they can stop by your office for lunch or call in from a different climate. Experience, attitude, and design acumen are more important than proximity.

IONIC is licensed in 15 states. If you’re interested in working with us and your job is located in one of them, let’s talk!




New York State
North Carolina
South Carolina
New Jersey

Eugene’s July One-Minute Mile

Dr. Eugene Thompson and IONIC CEO takes one minute to dive into his topic of the month!

Form & Function: Offices that Do Both

We speak often about the importance of both form and function in creating the spaces that our clients envision.

That is particularly important when designing office spaces. Modern office spaces present a unique challenge – they aren’t just about productivity, anymore. These spaces must allow for maximum work efficiency and collaboration while establishing an enjoyable and “on-brand” atmosphere. At IONIC, we know how to accomplish that!

Take for example the 18,000 square foot McDonald’s Regional Corporate Office. In order to create a fun yet functional work environment, IONIC took its inspiration from items found in McDonald’s restaurants. One of the conference rooms is reminiscent of a large box of fries, from which four large fries escaped and are strung together to serve as “touchdown” stations. Seeing the opportunity for better use of natural daylight, IONIC also rearranged workstations adjacent to windows while moving conference rooms inward, allowing more light to enter the space. Finally, the reception desk emulates an ordering counter (appearing clutter-free) yet incorporating all necessary office equipment.

As a creative firm always striving for original implementations, the challenges of modern office spaces suit the IONIC team perfectly.


Another great example is a medical office currently under construction. The Mancoll Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery office needed to meet the area’s strictly enforced aesthetic building codes and our client’s vision while establishing enough functional space for the practice to operate under the proper medical requirements. The result is a beautiful mixed media, beachy exterior with a comfortable waiting area and large rooms for patients. Stay tuned to the Mancoll Cosmetic build as we provide CA services, here.

Finally, we are excited to announce that we’ve been awarded a unique office project in Richmond, VA! Vytal Studios, a technology-based educational content developer and production company will be investing $6.8 million as they relocate from Austin, TX to 1802 Semmes Avenue in RVA. We’re designing the new office, along with renovations of the previous historical structure as well. The area will include studio space for filming content and office space for development and post-production functions. We’re excited to share details as the project progresses!

Companies large and small turn to IONIC to create office spaces that are highly efficient and functional, yet filled with touches that fit their brand and closely align with the business owner’s vision to bring their dreams to life!

IONIC Awarded Vytal Studios New Headquarters in Richmond, VA

We are excited to announce that Ionic DeZign Studios was awarded a new office project for community-focused tech company, Vytal Studios, as they move headquarters to Richmond, VA!

Governor Ralph Northam announced that Virginia successfully competed with Florida and North Carolina for the project, which will create 155 new jobs.

Vytal Studios is a technology-based educational content developer and production company that will be investing $6.8 million as they relocate from Austin, TX to 1802 Semmes Avenue in RVA. We’re designing the new office, along with renovations of the previous historical structure, as well. The area will include studio space for filming content and office space for development and post-production functions.

Established in 2018, Vytal Studios is a technology company that builds and delivers custom employee and online training through immersive learning on a proprietary platform. Vytal Studios leverages the power of its state-of-the-art LED Video Wall production, Virtual Studio, combined with Epic Games Unreal Engine technology to create custom learning and development content. Vytal Studios can create any environment or simulation its clients desire to resemble a learner’s work experience and maximize training effectiveness. With a team of learning specialists and best-in-class production managers, Vytal provides everything a company needs to create and deliver high-quality, engaging learning content, from script to finished product.

Vytal intends to engage the local community and collaborate with Virginia Commonwealth University and local stakeholders to develop an extended reality cluster in Richmond through a nonprofit organization called One Vytal Difference.

“Our tech talent was a major driver in Vytal Studios’ decision to relocate from Austin to the City of Richmond and continue its fast-growing momentum,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Virginia’s higher education system is committed to providing the training and opportunities to build the workforce of the future to attract and retain high-caliber companies, and we look forward to a strong partnership with Vytal.”

“Virginia, specifically Richmond, has everything an emerging creative technology company wants,” said Jim Smith, Vytal Studios CEO. “Access to talent and higher education institutions, a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, local and state governments that get it, and just a super cool vibe that reminds me of Austin 10 years ago. I feel we can be a ‘Vytal’ member of the community and drive growth that draws the extended reality industry as a whole to a home in Virginia.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with the City of Richmond and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor Northam approved a $500,000 grant from the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund to assist the City of Richmond with the project. Vytal Studios is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

“I am so excited and pleased to see Vytal Studios come to Southside Richmond,” said Delegate Betsy Carr. “Not only will the company provide much-needed, good-paying jobs, its goal is to provide training to allow participants to become more successful employees and companies—a win-win for everyone. Moreover, its commitment to forming a nonprofit and working with Virginia Commonwealth University to develop an extended virtual reality cluster will enhance our community, making it even more appealing for families and businesses.”

IONIC is excited to be part of this amazing project and we look forward to sharing more details as they come. 

Celebrating the 5-year Anniversary of Aaron Payne

This month, Aaron Payne is celebrating 5 years with the IONIC Team! A native of Richmond, Virginia, Aaron Payne attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, obtaining his professional degree in 2015. He started his architectural career with IONIC in the Spring of 2016.

In his five years with IONIC, Aaron has taken advantage of our diverse portfolio. He has gained experience in retail, restaurant, industrial and office projects. Although skilled in all areas, his favorite project to date was an office/warehouse space in Fredericksburg (pictured below). This creative challenge demanded that multiple uses and tenants’ needs were met, while working with simple materials (corrugated steel and brick) to give the space character. It’s projects like these where Ionic DeZign Studios shines and we couldn’t do it without Aaron on our team.

Thank you Aaron! We’re looking forward to seeing other projects you take on while reaching your goal to become a registered architect.

Read Aaron’s favorite quote, learn more about his career with IONIC as well as the rest of our talented team on our website, here.

DeZign Trend: Going the Full Distance with IONIC

Team IONIC is not the type to move on very quickly. We like to ensure that our designs are brought to life beautifully (and correctly). So, seeing projects through to the end is very important to our firm. But keeping your architect involved past the concept and design phase isn’t just for our assurance – it protects clients (you) and helps the contractor. 

That’s why we encourage all of our clients to take advantage of our Contract Administration (or CA) services. As Contract Administrator, the architect has many duties. That includes everything from completing paperwork to carrying out regular inspections and monitoring progress on-site. It means having a set of informed eyes on all aspects of your project, at all times. 

As the person who ultimately takes ownership of the new space, it’s important to protect your investment. Keeping your architect on for CA does just that. 

On too many occasions our team visited a worksite to find less expensive windows installed, concrete laid outside of code or countless other shortcuts and mistakes. 

By visiting the site regularly, viewing the work often and ensuring it’s being built in accordance with the contract documentation – the client can rest assured that the quality of workmanship and the end result will be exactly what they expect. 

Sometimes it isn’t about preventing mistakes. Good contractors like to have an architect involved because Contract Administration gives them guidance during the build. 

Your architect is the designer – that includes design of the construction details (how it is built). The contractor is the builder, following the architect’s instructions. Even detailed drawings and specifications cannot always fully describe complex plans. It helps enormously if the architect who created the concept and design is available during construction. They can answer questions, give instructions and be a professional and informed point of contact to make any design/technical decisions if required.

As Contract Administrators, we do everything possible to ensure our designs reach their full potential. If you’re ready to start your project and get it done correctly, let Ionic DeZign Studios know.