When an interior architecture, planning and consulting firm designs its own workplace, you know it’s going to be high on form and function. That’s certainly the case at Gensler’s new office in Oakland, California, which is designed to be inspiring, flexible and responsive to users’ needs.
Located on the top floor of a 20-storey tower, Gensler’s workplace has 360-degree views of Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco skyline. But don’t let the panorama distract you from what’s happening inside, because the office is just as eye catching.
The space is influenced by the Bay Area’s start-up culture and configured into multiple components that support the firm’s unique practice. There are small and large meeting rooms around the core of the building, and sit-stand desks, benching tables and drop-in stations around the perimeter to take advantage of natural light. The conference room, located next to the reception area, has retractable glass walls so the spaces can be combined for social events.
A large flexible project area has custom-designed pinboards that swing out to partition off space; the pinboards are also used on the rear of the library wall to serve as room dividers, creating temporary project areas. Large moveable storage units hold material samples and reference books.
Despite being a modern tower, the workplace has a warehouse feel with exposed ceilings and unfinished metals to relate to the city’s industrial roots. The 12-metre-long library wall is made of cold-rolled steel (with a bright yellow ladder); the reception desk is composed of blackened steel plates and salvaged oak; meeting rooms are lined with ply overlaid with architectural imagery; and a wall of staff photographs is embellished with industrial pulleys.
The industrial aesthetic is complemented with Andreu World’s Flex Executive chairs in the meeting rooms. Designed by Piergiorgio Cazzaniga, the award-winning collection is an elegant yet practical option for workplace, commercial and corporate projects, and at Gensler provides a comfortable and flexible seating solution for the contemporary-warehouse interior.
The collection includes height-adjustable low and high-back chairs and armchairs available with a four-star swivel base or five-star swivel base with casters. The base is polished aluminium or white or black finish, and the thermos-polymer seat and backrest is available in several colours, as well as the option of being fully upholstered or with a seat pad in a range of fabrics.