Slack San Francisco Office

Designed by: Studio O+A
For client: Floor area: 27870.00 M² Year of completion: 2019
Submitted for:

About the Project

When Slack asked O+A to create a new multi-floor headquarters in San Francisco one design story presented itself immediately. Slack’s CEO is an avid outdoorsman, a hiker who goes off grid every year to recharge in wilderness environments. One of his goals for the space was that it generate the kind of cooperative spirit and resourcefulness he knew from interactions with fellow hikers. Our solution was to create a floor-by-floor evocation of the landscapes that make up the Pacific Crest Trail—desert, mountains, forest—in effect to turn a trip up the elevator into a virtual trip from Baja to the Pacific Northwest. The idea was to suggest not just a variety of topographical and botanical contexts, but to capture, as well, the experiential links between hiking a wilderness trail—and work. To replicate indoors the distinctly outdoor experience of hiking a trail our team of designers chose a succession of finishes and palettes that subtly suggest changing landscapes. They also structured the space to emphasize irregular paths of travel, opportunities for surprise and amenities with the inclusive spontaneity of a campsite.

What’s unique about it

Central to our concept for Slack was the idea that every work project, like every hike, is a process of discovery. Classic interior design frames large architectural moments to attract the most eyes at once. At Slack those moments come as “scenic climaxes”—like an unexpected good idea. You turn a corner and there is a wall installation that replicates the topography of Lake Tahoe in a way that seems to float in space. You walk down a pathway and there is a “starry night” room like a stage set from a Sam Shepard play. You take your laptop to a lounge area and the light changes according to the time of day. In every instance the beauty is a reward for effort, a reinforcement of the idea that she who ventures away from her desk makes the most of her workday. Hikers know that a favorite trail is never the same place twice. At different times of year and as the years progress, it changes, offering new pleasures and new challenges every time. Our design for Slack builds that capacity for change into the workspace. Every floor is equipped to adapt to the changing needs of a single work session or a months-long project. Like a natural setting, this setting inspired by nature welcomes what the day brings and reaches out to meet it.

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