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 regularly goes off grid 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 outdoor experience of hiking a trail O+A chose a succession of finishes and palettes that subtly suggest changing landscapes. Each floor draws its look and feel from the characteristics of its natural inspiration. Central to our concept was the idea that every work project, like every hike, is a process of discovery. Classic interior design frames architectural moments to attract the most eyes at once. At Slack those moments come as “scenic surprises”—like an unexpected idea. You turn a corner and there is a wall installation that replicates the topography of Lake Tahoe. 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.
Additional Credits: Brianna Bernstein, Primo Orpilla, Samantha Calabrese, Marbel Padilla, Dan Kretchmer, Elizabeth Verkere, Amy Young, Nikki Hall, George Craigmyle, Dani Canepa, Emily Cano, Amy Kwok, Millie Kwong, Alex Bautista, Chase Lunt