Contract - Dropbox

design - features - corporate design



Dropbox

12 September, 2013

-By John Czarnecki. Photography by 
Bruce Damonte Photography


Management of the cloud is not entirely virtual. It takes actual people—20-somethings-turned-millionaires, and the tech experts 
and salespeople they hire—and physical real estate. For Dropbox, 
that means more than two football fields worth of office space in 
San Francisco.

Founded in 2007, Dropbox is a file hosting service with more than 175 million customers. It recently had a $4 billion valuation from venture investors, and its co-founders Drew Houston, 30, and Arash Ferdowsi, 27, ranked fourth and seventh respectively in Wealth-X’s list of the wealthiest 30-and-under “technopreneurs” in the United States. Houston and Ferdowsi had hired one of their Bay Area contemporaries, Lauren Geremia and her firm Geremia Design, to design their first office on a seedy stretch of Market Street. Dropbox quickly outgrew that location—increasing from a 30-person office to 80 people in less than two years—and the company called on Geremia again, along with San Francisco firm Boor Bridges Architecture, to help locate a new office space and design the interior.

Anticipating the future of the cloud
The latest Dropbox office occupies a linear ,74,000-square-foot single floor, previously built for a biotech company, atop the historic China Basin Landing building, a warehouse located just southwest of the Giants’ AT&T Park. Dropbox currently employs more than 200 and plans to expand to more than 400 employees by 2015. “Dropbox’s rapid growth rate as a business was a big challenge for our design,” Geremia says. “We had to think about what Dropbox as a company would need in the future, and keep a sense of flexibility in the design for the company to grow into.”

Like her clients, Geremia is a young creative who is suddenly receiving considerable attention. Recognized in a recent Forbes list 
of 30 Under 30, Geremia has designed 14 restaurants and bars, many 
of which are the cool places to be in San Francisco, as well as offices 
for burgeoning tech companies Instagram (now owned by Facebook) 
and YouSendIt (now known as Hightail). Geremia capitalizes on her understanding of the zeitgeist of the moment in San Francisco, 
where youthful creativity, technology, and commerce are colliding.

Geremia connected with Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges of Boor Bridges Architecture because of their similar approach to projects and shared design aesthetic, as well as their understanding of technology 
clients. “The tech clients understand the nature of design and that giving freedom, or trust, to the design team removes the fear of failure and allows passionate designers the freedom to explore, take risks, 
and try new things,” Bridges says.

For the Dropbox office, Boor Bridges took the lead in programming and space planning, and collaborated with Geremia 
on schematic design and finishes. Geremia specified the furniture, much of the lighting, as well as color and material palettes.

“The biggest challenge was creating a space that continues Dropbox’s strong culture and aesthetic as they more than quintupled their team,” Boor says. Dropbox wanted an open office plan on one floor where employees in different departments felt within reach, even if 
they had to skateboard from one end of the nearly 1,600-foot-long 
floor to the other. Multiple pods each contain about 36 workstations
and a lounge area. Game rooms offer diversions and, besides meeting rooms of various sizes, the office includes break rooms, nap rooms,
 a gym, and a full kitchen and dining area. Houston and his staff love music, so a fully outfitted music studio is the centerpiece of the space.

Beauty in simplicity
Geremia and Boor Bridges eschewed typical office materials such as dropped acoustical ceilings and fluorescent lighting. The raw, industrial aesthetic, simple in its sparseness, is enhanced and punctuated by moments of color and texture against the building’s exposed structure. Walls surrounding the core are clad in black walnut that is washed to create a charred effect, and copper cladding highlights specific areas. Acoustical felt is strategically placed along the ceiling and a few walls 
to keep the otherwise hard-surfaced office quiet. Windows on all 
four sides of the floor offer more than enough daylight, and are supplemented with dimmable LED can lights on tracks. Since coders hate the glare of harsh lighting, the office is not as bright as a typical one. In one conference room, an orange-colored film on glass adds 
an artistic touch: a warm glow akin to looking through sunglasses.

“We custom-designed office and conference tables, as well 
as much of the LED lighting, to create an original and inspiring work environment,” Geremia says. Besides furnishings that she designed herself, Geremia asked her designer friends to create bespoke furnishings and lighting, including pieces by Anzfer Farms, Ohio 
Design, Rich Brilliant Willing, and light fixtures by glass blower 
Lindsey Adelman.

Now that Dropbox has occupied the space for a number of months, the strength of the flexible layout is apparent, as the hackers hack away. “We gave them an elegantly designed but simple plan,” Boor says. “Dropbox’s creative culture centers around hacking, and that is what they have continued to do, always creating something new.”

Dropbox

  • Architect: Boor Bridges 
Architecture
  • Designer: Geremia Design
  • Client: Dropbox
  • Where: San Francisco
  • What: 74,000 square feet 
on one floor
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request

Key Design Highlights

  • Geremia designed many 
furnishings, and invited her designer friends to create other bespoke pieces and lighting 
for Dropbox.
  • Workspace lighting is primarily dimmable LED can lights on tracks, rather than fluorescents.
  • Washed black walnut walls add warmth and texture.
  • Acoustical felt is implemented on ceilings and select walls to quiet the hard-surfaced office without the need for a dropped ceiling.




Dropbox

12 September, 2013


Management of the cloud is not entirely virtual. It takes actual people—20-somethings-turned-millionaires, and the tech experts 
and salespeople they hire—and physical real estate. For Dropbox, 
that means more than two football fields worth of office space in 
San Francisco.

Founded in 2007, Dropbox is a file hosting service with more than 175 million customers. It recently had a $4 billion valuation from venture investors, and its co-founders Drew Houston, 30, and Arash Ferdowsi, 27, ranked fourth and seventh respectively in Wealth-X’s list of the wealthiest 30-and-under “technopreneurs” in the United States. Houston and Ferdowsi had hired one of their Bay Area contemporaries, Lauren Geremia and her firm Geremia Design, to design their first office on a seedy stretch of Market Street. Dropbox quickly outgrew that location—increasing from a 30-person office to 80 people in less than two years—and the company called on Geremia again, along with San Francisco firm Boor Bridges Architecture, to help locate a new office space and design the interior.

Anticipating the future of the cloud
The latest Dropbox office occupies a linear ,74,000-square-foot single floor, previously built for a biotech company, atop the historic China Basin Landing building, a warehouse located just southwest of the Giants’ AT&T Park. Dropbox currently employs more than 200 and plans to expand to more than 400 employees by 2015. “Dropbox’s rapid growth rate as a business was a big challenge for our design,” Geremia says. “We had to think about what Dropbox as a company would need in the future, and keep a sense of flexibility in the design for the company to grow into.”

Like her clients, Geremia is a young creative who is suddenly receiving considerable attention. Recognized in a recent Forbes list 
of 30 Under 30, Geremia has designed 14 restaurants and bars, many 
of which are the cool places to be in San Francisco, as well as offices 
for burgeoning tech companies Instagram (now owned by Facebook) 
and YouSendIt (now known as Hightail). Geremia capitalizes on her understanding of the zeitgeist of the moment in San Francisco, 
where youthful creativity, technology, and commerce are colliding.

Geremia connected with Seth Boor and Bonnie Bridges of Boor Bridges Architecture because of their similar approach to projects and shared design aesthetic, as well as their understanding of technology 
clients. “The tech clients understand the nature of design and that giving freedom, or trust, to the design team removes the fear of failure and allows passionate designers the freedom to explore, take risks, 
and try new things,” Bridges says.

For the Dropbox office, Boor Bridges took the lead in programming and space planning, and collaborated with Geremia 
on schematic design and finishes. Geremia specified the furniture, much of the lighting, as well as color and material palettes.

“The biggest challenge was creating a space that continues Dropbox’s strong culture and aesthetic as they more than quintupled their team,” Boor says. Dropbox wanted an open office plan on one floor where employees in different departments felt within reach, even if 
they had to skateboard from one end of the nearly 1,600-foot-long 
floor to the other. Multiple pods each contain about 36 workstations
and a lounge area. Game rooms offer diversions and, besides meeting rooms of various sizes, the office includes break rooms, nap rooms,
 a gym, and a full kitchen and dining area. Houston and his staff love music, so a fully outfitted music studio is the centerpiece of the space.

Beauty in simplicity
Geremia and Boor Bridges eschewed typical office materials such as dropped acoustical ceilings and fluorescent lighting. The raw, industrial aesthetic, simple in its sparseness, is enhanced and punctuated by moments of color and texture against the building’s exposed structure. Walls surrounding the core are clad in black walnut that is washed to create a charred effect, and copper cladding highlights specific areas. Acoustical felt is strategically placed along the ceiling and a few walls 
to keep the otherwise hard-surfaced office quiet. Windows on all 
four sides of the floor offer more than enough daylight, and are supplemented with dimmable LED can lights on tracks. Since coders hate the glare of harsh lighting, the office is not as bright as a typical one. In one conference room, an orange-colored film on glass adds 
an artistic touch: a warm glow akin to looking through sunglasses.

“We custom-designed office and conference tables, as well 
as much of the LED lighting, to create an original and inspiring work environment,” Geremia says. Besides furnishings that she designed herself, Geremia asked her designer friends to create bespoke furnishings and lighting, including pieces by Anzfer Farms, Ohio 
Design, Rich Brilliant Willing, and light fixtures by glass blower 
Lindsey Adelman.

Now that Dropbox has occupied the space for a number of months, the strength of the flexible layout is apparent, as the hackers hack away. “We gave them an elegantly designed but simple plan,” Boor says. “Dropbox’s creative culture centers around hacking, and that is what they have continued to do, always creating something new.”

Dropbox

  • Architect: Boor Bridges 
Architecture
  • Designer: Geremia Design
  • Client: Dropbox
  • Where: San Francisco
  • What: 74,000 square feet 
on one floor
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request

Key Design Highlights

  • Geremia designed many 
furnishings, and invited her designer friends to create other bespoke pieces and lighting 
for Dropbox.
  • Workspace lighting is primarily dimmable LED can lights on tracks, rather than fluorescents.
  • Washed black walnut walls add warmth and texture.
  • Acoustical felt is implemented on ceilings and select walls to quiet the hard-surfaced office without the need for a dropped ceiling.

 


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