Slack San Francisco Headquarters

Designed by: Studio O+A
For client: Floor area: 27870.00 M² Year of completion: 2018
Submitted for: Best Use of Light

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© Garrett Rowland

Another corridor takes its inspiration from a shimmering Aurora Borealis.

About the Project

An important goal of O+A's design for Slack's San Francisco office was that each floor convey a different part of the Pacific Crest Trail, a hiker's paradise that stretches from the Baja Desert to the Northwest Glaciers. Slack's founder Stewart Butterfield is an avid hiker, and it was his enthusiasm for the trail that inspired the design. O+A gave each floor of the office a distinct geographical identity, conveyed in finish and furniture selections, environmental graphics and most significantly, light. The lighting design for this project was perhaps the most dynamic we have ever attempted. Working with our lighting consultant Niteo and lighting engineer Decker Electric, our designers created individual tableaux drawn from different experiences in nature--the dappled light of a forest through a canopy of trees, the sheltered light behind a waterfall, pinpoints of light at night in the desert, the supernal glow that remains in the sky just after the sun goes down. Each of these effects was paired with a meeting, work or lounge space that "rhymed" with the nature of its wilderness inspiration. So, a "fairy ring" huddle where Slack staff can drop in to meet informally or work alone draws light from directly overhead as would be the case in a redwood fairy ring. A "starry night" lounge brings the focus and containment of a stage set to what could have been a conventional meeting area--stylizing an effect so many wanderers have noted about night in the desert.

What’s unique about it

In addition to creating design metaphors that echo the light of their natural inspirations, O+A employs light on this project to produce conditions of well-being. In another meeting space, for example, light changes in harmony with the progress of the day, a circadian rhythm that adjusts automatically with the clock and subliminally suggests to a culture of workaholics that nature intends for everyone to rest. Throughout the office indoor light works with natural light--ever present through the company's floor-to-ceiling windows--to send a message of unity with nature.
O+A's design for Slack reached for extraordinary impacts and achieved them through the efforts of our collaborators and the many lighting vendors that contributed to this project. They are: Lucifer, Vode, Allied Maker, Ravenhill, Rich Brilliant Willing, Roll & Hill, Lumen Alpha, Luminii, Hunza, Boca, KKDC, Lithonia, Iguzzini, Fluxwerx, Lumenpulse.

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© Garrett Rowland

Slack's library demonstrates how interior light and natural light can work together to achieve affects that change throughout the day.

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© Garrett Rowland

The effect of dappled light through a forest canopy gives a lounge area a serene context for meeting or working solo.

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© Garrett Rowland

Throughout Slack's San Francisco office light plays a significant role in creating a sense of warmth and community.

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© Garrett Rowland

In redwood forests a "fairy ring" is the growth pattern of young saplings around a mature tree. This phenomenon creates a light shaft with sunlight streaming directly from above.

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© Garrett Rowland

Light as if seen through leaves overhead, when combined with a living wall, turns a nondescript corridor into an experience.

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© Garrett Rowland

O+A's "starry night" lounge replicates night in the desert, with starlight delivered in individual pinpricks across a black firmament.

Location of project:
Studio O+A

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