There is something that you are missing in remote working… In addition to being places to work, the office environment is increasingly becoming an important element in attracting and retaining top talent, as well as collaborating with the clients and partners. While some of the amenities of larger suburban campuses include free food, gyms, spas, and even bowling alleys, offices located in urban centers can also compete. Here, the city itself is an attraction with its convenience and wealth of offerings right outside the door.
Technology companies and venture capital firms interested in forming strong and lasting partnerships are increasingly transforming their office environment to one based around hospitality.
For example, when a prominent venture capital company with offices around the world was looking to move their headquarters to San Francisco, they chose one of the top floors of Salesforce Tower. Salesforce Tower is the tallest building on the West Coast of the USA, and has sweeping views over the entire city and beyond.
They were looking to create a space that was not only a workplace, but also a hospitality venue for their worldwide partners, and chose the award-winning firm IwamotoScott Architecture to design this full floor. You can find IwamotoScott’s work on the Pinterest Headquarters here.
To counteract the corporate quality of the tower, IwamotoScott created a series of moods, starting with a dramatically lit reception area. This room is designed to feel more like a hotel lobby than office reception.
All photos by Bruce Damonte unless otherwise noted
Upon entering, the space opens up to a bright and welcoming lounge and café with expansive views of the city beyond.
The centerpiece of this room is a geometric “tree” that creates a wood canopy over the seating area.
Adding to the hospitality feel is the design of the lighting which includes only indirect cove light and decorative fixtures.
A series of leather booths line the space around and under the canopy. These wrap-around to form cozy seating areas as well as the perfect dining arrangement. This space is designed to work both in the day and for evening events. The seating under the tree accommodates this shift of use.
There are also not one, but two bars in the office!
One is located adjacent to the café, the other is a “secret space” that you’ll see later. This first one is designed to allow the space to function both during the day and at night. The custom 3D wall paneling creates waves to recall the bay beyond.
A presentation and group dining room adjoins the bar and café. It can be entirely concealed when the large wood doors are closed or when open, feel like an extension of the space.
Part of the intention to create a series of moods is that each room has a distinct personality while fitting into the overall hospitality and residential feel, much like a hotel or large house. Guests can always find a unique place to work or decompress after a long flight.
This room has an extra-long banquette with flexible tables to support individual dining or one large dinner party.
There are also a series of conference rooms, each with a different personality. These rooms are designed to be used for private dinner parties as well as daytime meetings.
Tucked away along a back corridor is a hidden room called the speakeasy.
This exclusive VIP room is not visible from the main corridor and offers a secluded clubroom atmosphere. Wrap-around booths face the expansive views creating yet another series of cozy nooks for small meetings or evening cocktails.
Over the bar hangs a unique lighting feature. The rods recall the cables and lights of the San Francisco Bay Bridge outside the window and the sculpted underside the waves of the Bay.
When Bloomberg LP, the financial and technology giant based in New York, USA wanted an office near Silicon Valley to attract top talent, they chose the historic Pacific Bell building in downtown San Francisco. They are on three of the top levels of this beautifully restored art deco building.
Bloomberg knew the design of the office itself was of upmost importance, and the company has a long history of promoting excellent architecture. For this flagship San Francisco Technology Research and Design Hub (R D Hub), they also turned to the team at IwamotoScott.
For Bloomberg’s R D Hub, IwamotoScott created a place that is both inward and outward facing. It is a hybrid office and event venue, fulfilling Bloomberg’s desire for the R D Hub to be known as an important place in San Francisco and Silicon Valley where state-of-the-art ideas are exchanged.
Upon arrival, one is met with a low seating area that allows for views from the entry while making a small gathering and presentation area.
A central feature to this space is the open barista and pantry wrapped with a custom designed sculptural wood ceiling.
Visitors and employees are welcomed with a coffee drink or snack, and able to gather, sit and work in the seating area or booths that line the space. For evening events, this area works perfectly as a place to congregate and socialize.
The sculptural wood ceiling is designed as a reflection of the details that define this historic art deco building which can be seen directly outside the windows.
The pantry also acts as a breakout area for lectures and presentations that are held in the multi-purpose room located at the terminus of the space.
Looking the opposite way from the entry you can see additional elements that bring a unique signature to this Bloomberg office.
Here, IwamotoScott designed a large parallelogram fish tank coupled with a volumentric LED display. This volume penetrates the ceiling and connects to the second level. The content of the LED display is based on Bloomberg product data transformed into an abstract design.
The fish tank is one-of-a-kind. Where all of Bloomberg’s office have fish tanks to inspire reflection and productive thinking, this tank holds baby manta rays. Once they become teenagers, they are donated to a local aquarium.
The geometry of both the tank and the LED display are draw from the wood ceiling. They too transform from a parallelogram to a triangle in section. This subtle adaptation of the art deco façade is a story that connects this office to San Francisco’s architectural history.
Glass meeting rooms are designed to be visually open to the entry and public space. Specialized graphics provide room identification and naming.
In the workspace, additional booths allow for a different seating work posture and whiteboard zones line the space. To maintain the clean aesthetic, all these elements are recessed into thickened wood walls.
The second level offers a different type of hospitality. There is a designated Quiet Room meant for reading and independent work. The design of the space is simple, while offering a range of places to sit and contemplate.
Metal shelves wrap the walls with an array of scientific, technological and artistic curiosities to help promote creative thinking. There is also a small bar for after hours. This room is a favorite among the Bloomberg employees – it is a piece of hospitality just for them.
Lasty, a small work-bar is created at the top of the light volume that helps define the work floor. Looking down, one can see the fish tank and the mesmerizing rays.