How many people get to work and collaborate everyday under an airplane? This company’s employees in Silicon Valley do. Leaders of high-tech companies realize the value of diversity and looking at problems from different perspectives to create fresh ideas and out-of-the-box innovation solutions. In a geography where companies fight to acquire and retain the best talent, an innovative office environment can directly contribute to greater employee satisfaction and greater business outcomes.
They selected a historic building in Palo Alto as their Silicon Valley headquarters, and allowed us to design it unlike any other. We hung avintage bi-plane next to a large and bright living wall with natural sunlight and 15-foot trees. Sustainable materials, reclaimed wood and 10-foot glass walls create an organic and healthy environment. The Indiana Jones-themed jungle elements and the antique exotic artifacts like the 19th century Indian palace doors foster a sense of fun and an exciting work environment.
The original floor plan and circulation flow were problematic and did not foster collaboration within the office. Company growth and employee comfort also needed to be addressed. The goal was to create a functional, original, comfortable, and organic space. The biophilic aspect was a critical part of the design and is prevalent throughout the space. We removed all the existing offices and meeting rooms, raised the ceilings,and enlarged the openings between the front and the back offices. When raising the ceiling, we discovered a large original light dome dating from when the building was a theater and we restored it. We implemented a more open office with custom ergonomic sit/stand desks. Meeting rooms for videoconferencing were created, as well as touch down areas and a large café for company lunches and events.
As much as possible local vendors and sustainable materials were specified (e.g., reclaimed wood for walls, cement tile and recycled woven vinyl for floors, etc.), and no VOC paint was used. It was extremely challenging structurally and logistically to bring and install the vintage bi-plane and the large doors on the upper floor of the building. The plane had to first be taken apart, brought in by crane through the window and then reassembled in place.
Overall, this was a very challenging and rewarding office redesign project. We were given full creative range and a substantial budget allowing for a high level of sophistication in custom and high-end design elements. We also had the pleasure to work with great designers and companies, namely Habitat Horticulture and Living Green Design. It was a memorable project to enable the employees to work and collaborate in such a fun and exciting space.
Material Used :
1. Biplane- suspended from ceiling- early 20th century 600 lbs original German plane
2. 15’x15‘ living wall with recirculating tank and full spectrum LED grow lights- entrance
3. Encaustic hand made hexagon tile – cafeteria flooring - Sabine Hill tile
4. Wall to wall solid surface floor covering – open office and conference rooms -recycled woven vinyl by Chilewich – basketweave collection in two colors
5. 10‘and 10,000 lbs doors –Boardroom – original 19th century Indian palace doors with custom steel frame and ADA handle
6. Reclaimed redwood planks – kitchen and conference room accent wall cladding
7. Petite Friture lights – open office decorative lighting- large Vertigo pendants
8. Stickbulb – board room lighting– LED linear pendants in wood and metal
9. Tom Dixon light fixtures – cafeteria over counter lighting – Black and gold Beat fat, wide, tall pendants
10. Vintage steel Marquee lights – cafeteria decorative lighting – custom letters online
11. Custom steel counters – local metalsmithing
12. Cafeteria barn door - French antique oak door– custom steel hanging rod and brackets
13. Custom walnut banquette and partition – reception touch down area