Creating a modern, technology-rich work space spread across four non-contiguous floors within a historic downtown building provided a number of challenges and opportunities. The building was designed prior to standard mechanical systems and has short floor to floor heights. Years of previous tenant work left the space feeling cramped and unwelcoming. Bringing light and a sense of openness into the workplace was crucial to the client, as well as a design concept that celebrated the company’s pioneering culture and sense of adventure.
To maximize the usable space within the great historic building, we gutted years of previous work to expose the building’s original steel-encased concrete (and in some cases brick) structure throughout each floor. This allowed for the character of the building to shine through as an important part of a dialogue with the new elements, creating a space that is respectful of its past as it looks to the future. We also used one of the original exit stairs as a vertical connection between all floors occupied by our client, encouraging activity and interaction. To celebrate our client’s spirit and San Francisco location, we developed a design and custom graphics inspired by the pioneering spirit of Northern California. Each of the four floors pay tribute to California trailblazers, including Alfred Hitchcock, the Pony Express, gaming innovators such as Atari, and Star Trek. On the Hitchcock floor, we used a mixture of Shaw Hexagon carpet products to convey a sense of movement and optical illusion throughout the open work areas, and created a dispersed color effect within meeting rooms. The thoughtful combination of patterns and colors creates an organic look and feel that transcends the typical “carpet tile” aesthetic.