The pay-by-cellphone company Square, like many young tech innovators, got off to a fast start and needed an office quickly to accomodate a growing staff. Working with a tight schedule and limited budget, we devised a look that captures both the casual nature of their product and the underlying reliability that is key to its success.
Square’s office is located in the old San Francisco Chronicle Building, a marriage of old and new communication technologies that our design attempts to acknowledge. Maintaining the best of the original structure’s existing architectural features, we added start-up elements– a series of cushioned, sound-absorbing cabanas; a stripped-down industrial aesthetic– that brings the space emphatically into the 21st century.
The speed and economy with which this client required a design helped define the look: deliberately rough and skewed to comfort. An elegant lobby bows to tradition while serving as portal to a looser, more minimalist working environment. In this way the design recapitulates the company’s genesis—from formal idea (electronic funds transfer) to informal service (phone as credit card).