The Bay Area is known for its disruptive technology and trend-setting inventions. Tech startups set up shop in Silicon Valley and beyond due to the networking opportunities, favorable intellectual property laws, and the large pools of investors eager to bet on opportunistic ideas. San Francisco was ground zero for electric scooter rentals, and even produced the Twitter hashtag #Scootergate after city officials seized dozens of them last year for blocking sidewalks. Smart glasses, subscription car services and virtual reality were all born, or at least nurtured, here in the Bay Area.
Whether you classify them as avant-garde or innovative, all these great ideas and new technologies coming out of the Bay Area are gestated in some of the most elegant office settings in the world. The best talent wants to work at places that are not only leading the charge in some technological breakthrough, but also places that provide their employees inspirational, collaborative work environments.
Here are five Bay Area offices that fit the bill. All photos, unless otherwise noted, appear courtesy of Officelovin’. More photos are on their website.
Slack leased 230,000 square feet at 500 Howard Street (Foundry Square IV) at the end of 2016 after some complex negotiations. Children's apparel chain Gymboree had a lease agreement for the space at the time. Heitman, the building landlord, was ultimately able to let Gymboree out of the lease and give it to Slack, according to the San Francisco Business Journal. Gymboree has since gone bankrupt, while Slack is thriving.
The lobby at Slack (shown above) is the prelude to the rest of this very unique office setting. The core idea was to replicate outdoor settings indoors. The company believes there is an inherent link between hiking unknown trails and the journeys at work. From the mountain background in the briefing center, to the nighttime desert look in the breakout rooms, Slack fulfilled this mission.
The San Francisco Suffolk office, located at 525 Market Street, Suite 2850, is a prime example of a company using its signature brand color in its office spaces. Suffolk, which works on projects in aviation, education, healthcare and more, was founded in 1982 in Boston. It has since expanded to several other cities. The red color is part of its logo, and meant to encourage collaboration and communication while keeping with the brand message.
As an online broker for lodging and other travel experiences, it makes sense for Airbnb's offices at 888 Brannan Street in San Francisco, to have a vacation-like feel.
The meeting rooms feel like you're inside a tent or a cabin somewhere off in the woods. The company was launched in 2008 and has since become the global leader in short-term lodging. Airbnb acquired HotelTonight and UrbanDoor in 2019 alone, and has acquired several other perceived competitors over the years.
The number of companies out there making skin and haircare products for Black and other people of color are few and far between. It was thus an ambitious endeavor when the Walker and Company expanded its office to Palo Alto in 2016. It makes sense to accent the minimal, eclectic look with photos of black trendsetters, musicians and business owners who made their marks in history. It keeps everyone inspired and motivated to succeed.
Any company that is trying to compete with Google better provide its employees all the tools and inspiration necessary to fight the uphill battle. Mozilla headquarters in Mountain View does just that. The best part is the glass walls that represent the company's commitment to transparency and encouraging worker collaboration for maximum success.
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Samantha Johnson is a freelance writer and editor. She lives in Sacramento with her husband, daughter, and two cats. Samantha writes for several retailers and mommy bloggers, and runs an e-commerce store.