Confidential Tech Company’s Palo Alto Offices

  • Client Unnamed Company,
  • size 18,819 sqft
  • Year 2012
  • Location Palo Alto, California, United States,
  • Industry Technology,
  • Gensler recently completed a new office design for an expanding Palo Alto tech company.

    After experiencing rapid growth, this confidential tech client found new expansion space only three blocks away from their existing office. The unique new building included a detached, historic two-story annex which was conceived as a central hub, an iconic yet informal front-door for visitors. The space was designed as a “third-space” for working, with a café-like atmosphere on the lower level that connects to dynamic collaboration spaces above by a new double height volume. These two spaces can be transformed into a unique two-story event space for all-hands meetings and informal gatherings that can spill out into the street or into the intimate shaded courtyards behind.

    The new office space is located in a Mediterranean style building that surrounds the historic annex. The natural materials and brightly colored tile details of the building’s exterior are translated to the innovative tech client’s culture; with a combination of raw and polished natural materials, the new design reflects the company’s translation of vast amounts of raw data into a clear, easy-to-understand packaged digital interface. The bright colors of the interiors reflect and complement their brand identity and create a forward-looking interpretation of the nostalgic tile work of the existing exterior.

    The space was also seen as an opportunity to re-evaluate their existing shared private office culture in lieu of a more collaborative and open office workspace. Spread out over three floors in the L-shaped building, the workspace was planned to encourage individuals to move through and around the space. Unique destinations were planned on each floor around major circulation, including a game room, kitchenette, large terrace lounge, brainstorming areas, and collaboration corridors. An exit stair was re-designed as an open, interconnecting stair that reinforces the connection between the open workspaces.

    With this shift to a more collaborative environment also came a deep consideration for their staff’s need to focus. This consideration began at the individual level, with open workspaces planned in small light-filled neighborhoods of workstations. To balance the perceived prestige of their former office, the new workstations were envisioned as pieces of custom furniture rather than a traditional corporate workstation, with unique materials of wood chop block work surfaces, raw steel legs, and custom felt tack panels. The warm materials reinforce the informal yet close-knit culture of their small company.

    Separating these neighborhoods are sculptural boxes of varying species of wood that accommodate individual and small group focus. The semi-transparent film allows light into the rooms, eliminates visual distractions, and also provides a surface for whiteboard style writing. In addition to these immediately adjacent rooms, additional focus spaces include communal quiet rooms, small outdoor patios, and tucked away lounge spaces.

    This new vision for brand expression and space planning supports their unique culture and progresses innovation both at a group and individual level. Translated to their original existing office space, the client has the potential to create a unique urban campus of sorts that supports their growth.

    Design: Gensler
    Photography: Jasper Sanidad