I recently visited Yelp, GitHub, Ripple, Wired, Pandora, Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. While each space had a very different look, some distinct themes emerged.
Airbnb’s culture is evident from the moment you walk into the five story building lobby where a kaleidoscope of windows from the building floors above gives glimpses into the conference rooms modeled after their listings from around the world. The main space is very bright and white so that the eye naturally travels to the very colorful conference and collaboration areas
and welcoming kitchens. Everything about the space says “hospitality”.
GitHub is a builder of web-based collaboration tools for software developers and as you walk through their space, you get the feeling you are walking through the many different environments around the world from which software developers might be accessing GitHub’s tools. As mentioned above, it feels like a conglomeration of co-working space, coffee houses, bars, libraries and living rooms.
Yelp was loud and fun. There were areas with loud music playing and the space could definitely be described as lively. (If you are a quiet introvert, it might not be the place for you.) Ripple’s space probably had the least distinct personality as it is an earlier stage tech company in the financial services industry. The feeling in their offices was definitely “hard-working start-up” – no fluff.
Wired has a partial dropped ceiling inspired by a circuit board that winds through and connects all of the space. It is also where all of the HVAC and electrical is hidden so that the remaining exposed ceiling is high and uncluttered.
While many of the innovations in office space seen on my trip to San Francisco will not be embraced elsewhere for some time, those spaces provide ideas for smaller scale innovation anywhere. Although the culture may be different in San Francisco and office space more expensive, businesses everywhere are trying to encourage collaboration, reduce their real estate footprints, become attractive to millennial workers and inspire their existing employees. How can we help you take the first step? I am happy to meet to go over my observations in more detail.