At a fundamental level, our research concerns novel physical phenomena that occur when light interacts with objects of subwavelength dimensions. As engineers, we exploit these discoveries to make smaller, faster, and more efficient photonics technologies. The essential constituents of these investigations are individual subwavelength elements we refer to as "optical antennas". We are particular interested in antenna-like effects arising from oriented multipolar resonances in dielectric and molecular constituents. We study how these effects lead to novel optical properties in engineered metamaterials and organic semiconductors respectively. We use engineered nanoantennas as model systems for understanding and influencing electromagnetic phenomena in atoms and molecules. Ultimately, we hope this research will lead to a future where optical properties are controlled and engineered at the atomic or molecular level.