Dropbox is no stranger when it comes to understanding that there’s a need for positive workspaces for employees. Recently, they completely overhauled their San Francisco headquarters and created a space that makes it easy for employees to work anywhere within the building comfortably.
Collaborating with architecture firms AvroKo of New York and San Francisco’s Rapt Studio, Dropbox created a workplace that is more like a city plaza than an office building. The project to create the new headquarters was overseen by Dropbox’s space design lead Glara Ahn a designer on Dropbox’s black ops project Claire Pederson. They worked together to design the building to be a blend of public and semi-private spaces that would accommodate any needs or moods the workers might have.
“Previously, the San Francisco office was split up between two buildings,” Ahn says. “We wanted to merge these two halves into a coherent organism, in a space that was just like Dropbox the product: a combination of simplicity and function that was collaborative but still felt individualistic and human.”
What they wanted to avoid when designing the building was the idea that one-size-fits-all. In order to understand the needs of the employees, during the research phase of the project they reached out to the employees to see what their needs were like. “We asked all our employees to sketch out their hourly experience, and how they liked to work,” explains Ahn. It was then that they realized that the employees enjoyed variety and the ability to shift to different workspaces depending on their mood.
Each space has a unique design so employees can find a spot that suits their mood. Some spaces are open, light, and airy, creating an intimate space that allows workers to feel part of a community, while others are dark and quiet, providing a moodier space for those looking to focus. Every room and meeting space in the building was designed to evoke different moods, making it easier for employees to find a location that suits them.
Roughly 1,500 employees will be working at the San Francisco headquarters on a daily basis and Ahn hopes that they’ll be able to find a room that caters to their needs. She explains that office building designs can sometimes forget about the people who will be working in them but it’s important to remember what the design is ultimately about. “It’s not about the things you fill a room with, whether it’s marble, antiques, or whatever,” says Ahn. “It’s about the human who is going to be there, and where they find their happiness.”