The 80,000-square-foot office that Studio O+A designed for Evernote, an online data storage company in Redwood City, California, makes a virtue of the start-up’s tight budget and tight schedule: the construction process became part of the aesthetic. Unpainted Douglas fir plywood serves as cladding in for coffee bar and break areas, and the company’s name, tagline, and logo are drawn in chalk. To encourage creative interaction among employees, those snack and coffee counters, along with other communal and recreation spaces, are scattered generously throughout—even the white ash staircase between the second and third floors doubles as a gathering spot, with wide, cushioned steps. The reception station has its own coffee bar with a donut and pastry counter.
+ Statement from Studio O+A
At Evernote in Redwood City, California, the strict budget and swift pace of construction helped determine the direction of the design. Evernote is an online data storage company that allows its users to save (and retrieve) everything from Post-It notes to photographs to formal documents in the Cloud. With the company moving into a much larger building than it had previously occupied, and with business booming, Evernote needed to be up and running in its new space with a minimum of downtime. Our challenge was to design an office commensurate with Evernote’s soaring profile—on what was essentially a start-up budget and schedule.
We began with the concept of making the process of construction part of the aesthetic. In a clean and modern context, construction materials may acquire the design impact of richer finishes. Evernote’s coffee bar and break areas are clad with Douglas fir plywood, the texture and grain of which provides its own graphic patterns. Forgoing expensive interior branding, Evernote instead hired chalk artist Dana Tanamachi to draft a wall-sized representation of the company’s identity, complete with its tagline, “Remember everything,” and elephant logo. Low-maintenance, water-conserving plants on an adjoining wall contribute to the reception area’s look of unforced spaciousness.
Adding to the informality is the placement of a coffee bar—with fully functioning donut and pastry counter—at the reception station. An echo of Evernote’s mission of turning impulses into lasting archives of information, our design transforms the spontaneous habits of its staff (grabbing a donut on arrival, for example) into a lasting element.
This encouragement of spontaneity is reprised in the white ash stairway that connects the second and third floors. The wide staircase is fitted with cushioned step seating to make it a natural gathering place and area for relaxation. There are other spaces for breaks and informal meetings throughout the office—a large communal dining room; a ping-pong table; a designated fitness center equipped with treadmills, stationary bikes, and other exercise devices; and a series of small, strategically placed snack and coffee counters. The cumulative result of all these break options is an environment that promotes those casual interactions from which so many creative impulses spring.
As befits a work environment attuned to informal collaboration, the finish palette for Evernote is light. White walls and pastel accents mix with blonde wood and lighting that augment the natural brightness of the windows to subliminally communicate the spirit of the company—and turn a tight-budget, tight-schedule build-out into something memorable.
+ Project facts
Architect: Studio O+A
Project Team: Primo Orpilla, Verda Alexander, Clem Soga, Denise Cherry, Perry Stephney, David Hunter, Emily Brooks, Kroeun Dav, Alfred Socias, Sarunya Wongjodsri, Alma Lopez, Caren McDonald, Olivia Ward, Jeorge Jordan
Location: Redwood City, California
Gross square footage: 80,000
Contractor: DA Pope
Consultants: Vaziri Structural Engineering
Key materials: (type/brand) Carpet: Shaw Contract, Interface Flor; Furniture: Allsteel, HPL, Inscape, Herman Miller; Cabinetry: Caesarstone, Abet Laminati, Formica, Nevamar; Flooring: Bolon, Armstrong, Capri Cork; Lighting: Daybrite, Kirlin, Amerlux, Pinnacle, Prudential, Louis Poulsen, School House, Lithonia, Intense, Omega, Delray
Software used: AutoCAD, 3D Studio Max, Adobe Creative Suite
Photographer: Jasper Sanidad
+ All images courtesy Studio O+A, photo by Jasper Sanidad