Three Office Spaces in San Francisco Redefine Commercial Design


As work culture evolves, so have the spaces that accommodate it. Happily, as a recent spate of inviting offices and well-appointed coworking hubs in San Francisco may indicate, one thing we’ve learned is this: the best way to achieve work-life balance is to create office environments that blend elements of both worlds, allowing life to thrive at work. Here are three new projects that combine practicality and inspiration with homelike appeal. 

Artworks by (L-R) Joel Shapiro, Shawn Huckins and Nancy Garcia punctuate the Garcia Tamjidi-designed library space inside Index Ventures in San Francisco; photo by Joe Fletcher.


Created by Garcia Tamjidi Architecture Design, the minimalist library at Index Ventures (139 Townsend Street) is a place for peace in the firm’s busy office. Architect Michael Garcia notes that, after completing the office’s open-plan areas in exposed brick and timber, a bit of unused space remained, so the team decided to give it a special program and very different character. “We made a conscious choice to turn it into an inward place for quiet reflection or one-on-one conversation,” says Garcia of the 15-by-15-foot room. Here, walls are a warm gray stain over oak panel, while the 10-foot ceiling is defined by stretched fabric below LED lighting that Garcia says “glows, almost like a sky.” A secondary layer of brightness emits from cove lighting in the corner bookcases, which are painted matte white and blend seamlessly into the room. Furnitureis kept low and closely arranged to accentuate the volume of space. “It invites you to put your phone away, fold your screen down and just be,” Garcia notes.


San Francisco artist Windy Chien’s custom knotted rope works bring soft texture to Combine’s industrial-chic headquarters; photo by Helynn Ospina.

A former auto-body shop is the stage for venture firm Combine’s sophisticated new headquarters (52 Zoe Street), a renovation project led by architect Karen Curtiss of Red Dot Studio and interior designer Katie Storey of Storey Design. Oak ceilings, brick walls and polished concrete floors set the tone for a hard-meets-soft aesthetic that comes together with lighting by Schoolhouse Electric and furnishings by Croft House, Brabbu and Menu in a rich, jewel-toned color palette. “I wanted to warm the industrial feeling with beautiful textiles,” says Storey of the suede and linen fabrics she layered in the 6,000-square-foot space. An abundance of plants, including a living wallby Habitat Horticulture, contribute to the inviting atmosphere. The highlight, however, is local artist Windy Chien’s knotted-rope room dividers, which riff on her signature “circuit board” pieces in a custom pattern. “We chose creamy white cotton rope to bring soft texture into the space,” Chien says, “and it also adds a touch of brightness against the dark background.”


For the library of its San Francisco location, The Wing partnered with local independent bookseller Dog Eared Books to create a “Wing Women Reading List” of 50 women-authored titles that connect to Bay Area themes; photo by by Troy Williams

Following the success of its four locations, private women’s club and coworking collective The Wing (115 Sansome Street) expanded West with the launch of a San Francisco outpost
in October. A nine-month renovation led by New York-based team Alda Ly Architecture & Design and Chiara de Rege Interiors  has replicated the club’s amenities and signature Scandinavian-inspired aesthetic—blush walls, pale European oak floors, birch millwork—in the 8,000-plus square-foot space, but with a stronger use of color and pattern. “There’s a bit more play on feminine and masculine styles in San Francisco,” says de Rege of her approach to this iteration. Natural light fills the airy central spaces, which are dressed in Kravet wools, cement tile by Clé and curvy furnishings by Ralph Rapson, Cristina Celestino and Cedar & Moss. An art gallery features work by local female artists, including Elisheva Biernoff, Tammy Rae Carland, Rebekah Goldstein and Katy Grannan.

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