Slack HQ, | San Francisco, California
Following personal consultations with a variety of individuals from Slack ( a tech firm with offices in Vancouver, San Francisco, Dublin, Melbourne, and New York) we worked to design, create and build the unique detailed custom features for their space and give employees an environment that reflected the values and maxims of Slack.
Designing the reception sign for Slack San Francisco headquarters attention to detail, familiarity with the company and it’s values were crucial in creating a unique, eye catching, impactful entrance. We strove for a subtle yet impactful piece that built with reclaimed wood and hand forged steel lit with LED lighting that is sustainably constructed highlighted the uniqueness of the company. At a fraction of other quoted providers, Slack choose our design for the story and the source- hand made by a wood worker and welder Shaw Thompson who researched the origins of the company and founder to familiarize himself with who Slack is. He choose pieces of reclaimed wood that gently hinted at the branding colors of the company, all placed at the exact angled degree as the logo. Taking in the entryway environment, the back lit hand forged blackened steel "S" with a adjustable dimmer switch is accentuated by plants native to California.
Coffee and espresso times are sacred rituals at Slack and early into the project a custom coffee bar was crucial to the space. With our design and the talent of furniture builder Russ Fry, we built a completely customized coffee bar to the requests of the Food & Beverage Coordinator. Built from reclaimed timber and steel, the piece has hidden drawers for bean storage, built in water jet system, knock box for grounds with a removable canister and cup storage tower. The top counter was made of 100% eco friendly paperstone and dimensions built to spec for their deluxe espresso machine. The coffee bar was put on industrial locking castors so as Slack grows and expands, the coffee bar travels with. Down to the finest details of how employees flow around the coffee bar, height of the counter for precise espresso compression and the ease of hidden storage drawers on rollers, we worked to create a unique piece of furniture that is not only aesthetically pleasing but is functionally built to serve their exact needs.
Pleased with our coffee bar design, Slack requested we create a matching bar for employees to socialize during gather hour with storage, built in ice boxes, and a place to post up and engage with coworkers and guests. With removable industrial rolling castors, this sectional bar can travel with Slack and creates a fun, comfortable counter bar for employees to rest an elbow and chat after work. We installed a salvaged mirror from an 1900's marine ship for the back counter to pull together the relaxed atmosphere and prominently displayed the lovely glassware from a variety of events and milestones that have been held at Slack.
A different kind of podium
In building a podium for Slack, we wanted to design something new to rise above the generic designs available on the market today. With adjustable table height, built in cabinetry for microphones, iPad control system docking capabilities, and designed to fit the exact needs from the IT/AV Coordinator at Slack, we have created a streamlined and deluxe podium that can be entirely customized to represent an individual company while still being price competitive. Slack requested 2 of our podium builds with their customized aesthetics. In these particular designs, we used a blackened steel and reclaimed barn wood to match the area in which the All Hands and presentations take place. We created small matching side tables providing easy access cover to the outlets and IT/AV whips to be hidden from view as well. The result is an efficient functional podium design that is comfortable, highly functional and individualized in it’s appearance to each company to fit the exact needs of the users.
At the request of CEO Stewart Butterfield, we were tasked with creating additional seating in the boardroom that was desperately needed. We wanted to create a solution that was comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, conscious of space and time requirements as well.
We designed sectional bench seating that is moveable with storage spaces below for bags. Built from a reclaimed early 1900's redwood water barrel from Sausalito, our craftsman Christopher LaPoint built bench seating to the specifications of the boardroom to comfortably seat the requested additional people. Each one is unique in the grain and coloring of the wood and cushions were custom hand sewn in the Bay Area. The entire seating system was significantly lower in price than designer office chairs and the benches have character while at the same time eliminating the hassle of wheeled office chairs taking up precious storage space when not in use.
Additionally, we designed a boardroom table built to the exact specs and requirements from the IT/AV departments of tech companies with the aesthetic appeal of streamlined efficiency. For Slack, we built the top with reclaimed walnut and blackened steel legs. The center steel piece is built to house all the tech needs so that when a boardroom meeting begins, participants have access to a comfortable space to which they can plug in any of their devices without cord clutter or tangled lines. Our system of cord management leaves the top of the boardroom table clear and sleek. While underneath all IT/AV systems are hidden in a steel tray with ventilation points to cool the systems installed within the tech box and easy access for any maintenance or repairs to be done.
Understanding the importance of quality and the longevity of the table, the table is built to fluctuate with the humidity of San Francisco as the wood is a material that changes with the environment. The bracing systems and methods we employ allows the wood to fluctuate as needed without ever altering the smooth surface. All the IT/AV system are protected and housed in the steel and the 16ft long table can be broken into two separate tables as Slack moves and expands. Our copyrighted tech table can be built to service the smallest meeting room needs to the largest boardroom while providing a convenient and familiar layout for all service of IT/AV equipment within.
For the library in Slack (as seen in the photo of the The Guardian April 4th, 2016 article) employees asked for a speakeasy styled theme to the library. Engineers liked soft lighting and comfy seating to tuck themselves away while they worked to take a break from their desks. We took these requests and created a historic styled and relaxing space for employees to work in lounge chairs with their feet up. Using historical photos we created a photo collage representing the history of the Bay area, large faux leather couches and plenty of footstools for employees to kick up their feet. We included mind puzzles made of metal and wood to give themselves a break from the laptop screens.
One of the unique vinyl pieces created by artist and graphic Designer Yogesh Simpson was a piece that filled the hallway entrance from the elevators to the front desk of Slack. A scattering of the components of Slack's logo tumble across the walls until forming the complete logo by the entrance to the office. Unique and eye catching, Yogesh spent time getting to know the history of Slack’s beginnings and the building of the company, which is then reflected in the vinyl art piece. You can see this was featured with Anne Toth, head of people and policy at Slack in The Guardian, March 25th, 2016 article
Affordable additions to customize a space that is both time and budget sensitive are vinyl wall applications like the examples shown above. For Slack, we highlighted a few of the company's core maxims and values to display around the office. For the training room (or rocket room) we used the Slack rocket graphic to create some fun wall artwork to greet new trainees to Slack. In the slideshow above, you can see images of etched glass vinyl used to create privacy in the relaxation room - where employees could book a massage, play a variety of instruments, board games and video games. This way employees taking a quick break are tastefully out of sight while not distracting others or visitors to the office. We added style as well as privacy to the snack area, the kitchen/catering zone and even for the contents in the fridge!
The issue of employees running to a meeting having a hard time knowing which room they were supposed to meet in became apparent in our time working with Slack. Therefore, we created vinyl wall applications that can be read as employees were running down the halls with laptops in hand.
Break out space
In the four corners of the office we created lounge spaces for employees to take a break from the desks, put up their feet to work or collaborate with fellow employees in a comfortable environment. We provided lounge chairs, custom coffee tables and a few mind puzzles here and there for employees to take a break.
Functional little touches are key to our detailing, therefore we had our metal smith artist Charlie Koelling create blackened steel medical boxes for each 4 corners to add a little style to an otherwise unapproachable white first aide box. We wanted it to be playful, so the Slack Apothecary boxes make it comfortable for employees to access the bandaids, contact solution, tylenol, etc. that they may need throughout the day. Additionally, Charlie created a hammered metal letter box for the front desk as requested by the receptionist to have a stylish way to keep mail at the front desk without looking cluttered with envelopes.
Art in the workplace
We commissioned oil artist Hannah Skidmore to capture the maxim "Be the Dog" from the company founder Stewart Butterfield. The saying "Be the Dog" is meant to represent the hyper vigilance of hard work for others while remaining joyful - something Stewart had seen on a working ranch with the herding dogs and was inspired by. From his story, she created a energetic, lively oil triptych painting that inspires and livens the hallway of Slack for the employees.
Pat Hoffman is a ceramic artist that created 2 pieces for Slack SF -an interactive piece of ceramic orbs with magnets on the back that allows them to be mobile and engaging. Eye catching, moving, and a conversation piece, employees passing by occasionally move an orb here or there - these works of art capture the playfulness partnered with craftsmanship that Slack values. Lead designer Claire Kleese created an art piece for the entrance of ink and tin - this was based on a resignation letter in which Slack founder Stewart Butterfield referenced tin. After reading the letter, she created this piece to highlight the maxim of the company to "Go First, Take Risks". For the new mother's space artwork from Cherlyn Wilcox, an abstract acrylic artist, added comfortable and relaxing tones of fine art for new mother's to enjoy while using the room
Slack | Melbourne, Australia
Working with the architecture firm Breathe designing the new Slack office in Melbourne, Slack requested we design and build the signage for the entrance of the office. We created a sign to fit the ambiance and styles of the office the architects were building out while keeping the focus on the personality and style of Slack. Using cold rolled steel to match the steel used in the building, we added subtle green tones to the metal in order to accent the greenery that was being installed in the office. Additionally we used recycled Australian wood that matched the wood being used in the office floors. Once again, we back lit the steel with LED lighting system with a dimmer switch and wattage that matched the cooler lighting features in the office to create a cohesive flow to the space as you are introduced to the office when you walk in.