Designing Offices for Digital Technology Companies

We rent office space on the Westside of Los Angeles and in San Francisco to digital technology companies.  Our tenants include or have included Twitter, Google, DoubleClick, Yammer, Scribd, Applied Semantics, Microsoft, and Eventbrite.  Much has changed from the dot-com days.  Today, the three factors that are important for the design of these spaces are creative environments, densification, and collaboration.  Spaces are open to allow for the ability to scale to densities of up to 10 people per 1000 square feet.  Although the company may start out at 4 people per 1000 square feet, the ability to scale within the space will enable to firm to expand without taking on additional space and without moving.  To allow this densification, the space should have good light, open areas, and a lot of power and outlets.  Higher ceiling volumes with open structural elements help reduce the feeling of being cramped into a tight area.  Although liner table arrangements are the most efficient, undulating plans have also worked and reduce monotony.

Diagram from the dot-com days.

Creatively remodeled office space.

In the dot-com days, designers used circular and angle offices to create visual interest.  Today, these designs reduce the efficiency of the floor plan.  Designers now use the natural beauty of the physical structure, colors, textures, and lighting to create visual interest.

Large, high partition work stations have given way to interconnected non-partitioned tables where groups of designers sit together in close proximity.  Email, texts, and social networking have replaced audio phone use and hence eliminated the need for partitions.  Enclosed spaces are used primarily for conferences, group meetings, and other collaborations.  These enclosed meeting spaces average about 1 per 1000 square feet.

Yammer Collarboration Area at PMI's 410 Townsend in San Francisco.

Collaboration spaces have become more important in offices today.  People are used to collaborating in cafés; now designers are incorporating the “café look” into the office design.  Today workers come from the Starbucks generation where coffee houses are iconic symbols of collaborative settings.

Kitchens have expanded into highly designed café settings in very visible locations.

Kitchen at PMI's 3525 Eastham in Culver City.

Kitchen at TechCrunch at PMI's 410 Townsend in San Francisco.

This is a refreshing contrast to the kitchens of the past, relegated to a hidden enclosed corner with vinyl floors and fluorescent lights.  Several companies, some as small as 40 people, have dining areas that can fit much of the company’s employees.  They also require company lunches several times a month or even a couple times a week.  Other examples of collaborative settings could involve a game room or juice lounge.   Instead of just one kitchen, there may even be multiple areas with sinks, refrigerators, and snacks.  This gives a modern spin to the popular water cooler meeting spot that all offices seem to share.

All in all, there are many designs and combinations that can be created for all the different types of tenants we house.  For PMI, we strive to meet all of our tenant’s requests and see to it that creativity continues to flourish among our properties and tenants.  Scroll down to see more examples of the creative space we have produced for our outstanding tenants!

Kitchen at Mitch Kapor's offices at 543 Howard in San Francisco.

Mahalo's Kitchen at PMI's 3523 Eastham in Culver City.

Eventbrite's former space at PMI's 410 Townsend in San Francisco.

Afar Media at PMI's 394 Pacific in San Francisco.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s