Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

 

Part art installation, part theatre set, Dropbox, the digital file hosting and sharing company, have set up their HQ in San Francisco. This is the first time Dropbox employees have all been under the same roof. All 24,000 square metres of it. A job this size takes some collaboration. In this case it was between San Francisco architectural firm Rapt Studio, New York’s AvroKo and Dropbox in-house team Glara Ahn and Claire Pederson.

The design team wanted to make darn sure every conceivable space was made available for this unique collection of employees who didn’t necessarily spend their days in workstations or offices but rather, wandering around looking for ‘areas’ to work. Different sorts of areas that is, depending on what they were working on and how they were feeling. “We developed a sensory score card for each space,” said creative director Louis Schump. What he means by that is one space could be highly visual, another auditory and another kinetic. It’s designed to stimulate, calm or simply be an area available to an employee given their task or taste preference in any given moment, on any given day.

There’s been a considered move away from acres of workstations and instead a move to ‘neighbourhoods’ which encourage circulation and collaboration as well as time out just to think and get the job done. Neighbourhoods that at times resemble art installations over office fitouts.

Take the double-height entry foyer. Half florist moss ball, half asteroid invasion. A high wall of angled mirrors reflect back not just the moss ball constellation dangling from the ceiling but the serpentine, oak-strip benches, custom made by Matthais Pliessnng.

 

Related Post: This is What Happens When AvroKO Designs a Workplace Cafeteria – BOOM!

 

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

Dropbox Offices in San Francisco by Rapt Studio | Yellowtrace

 

If that isn’t enough to convince you that they were serious, a trip to the library might. Like any library it’s designed to lend an air of quiet solitude but with the benefit of being surrounded by others, so you don’t feel isolate or lonely. And here you’re unlikely to feel either. Designed as a “swoopy cocoon” you won’t find any hard edges in this space. The soft pink carpet and chairs, an unlikely colour choice for a dynamic, techy organisation, is borrowed from the European opera houses, specifically chosen to illicit a feeling of peace and luxury. Organic curved archways break the length of the lineal space into sections and contain bookcases made of walnut-veneered shelving. Plonking down at the long, walnut tables with their Kennedy style desk lamps you could be transport back to the 50’s.

There’s very little that isn’t catered for in this fit out. From the Deep Focus room, a nod to the 60’s Sci-Fi film period where the rapid response team manage hacking attempts and software issues, to the cafes and ‘micro kitchens’.

The list of spaces to engage, work, or play are endless. Music rooms, harking back to the start up days when employees used to hit the karaoke bar after work to decompress are now in-house ‘jam rooms’. Somewhere between a living room and a recording studio it’s another way that Dropbox supports the emotional wellbeing of their staff. “It’s somewhere between a garage-band studio and your family attic,” says Schump.

It may come as a surprise that design team’s ethos wasn’t necessarily about design. It was about people. 1,500 people in this case. “It’s not about the things you fill a room with, whether that’s marble, or antiques, or whatever,” says Glara Ahn. “It’s about the human who is going to be there, and where they find their happiness.”

No doubt somewhere between the Japanese boardroom, the rooftop garden and the meeting room covered in Danish, porcelain blue tiles, someone is blissing out somewhere.

 

Related Post: This is What Happens When AvroKO Designs a Workplace Cafeteria – BOOM!

 


[Images courtesy of Rapt Studio. Photography by Eric Laignel.]

 

About The Author

Susanna McArdle
Contributor

Susanna has a background in Interior Architecture and a passion for writing. Based in Sydney, she has worked both in Asia and Australia designing. An avid writer, it’s hard to know what she prefers more, stringing words together or creating spaces. But one thing she does know, is that she loves doing the both together.

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