Studio O+A have implemented a nature-inspired design concept for Slack's new headquarters located in San Francisco, California. The design story presented itself as Slack's CEO Stewart Butterfield is an outdoorsman, and spends his free time hiking in the various wildernesses that make up the Pacific Crest Trail.
This trail forms a bridge between two of Slack's offices in Vancouver and San Francisco, so it seemed appropriate to incorporate this theme into the design of the workspace, creating a floor-by-floor evocation of theose landscapes, caputuring the experiential links between hiking a wildnerness trail - and work.
Slack's team saw value in having each floor reflect the variety and irregularity of nature. Just as wayfinding on a mountain trail typically involves conferring with other hikers, so is each work day an experience of collaborating with others to find your way to the next level. The unique spaces on each floor of Slack's headquarters, echo this need for community that comes with taking a new path.
O+A chose a succession of finishes and palettes that suggest changing landscapes in order to replicate the distinct outdoor experience of the Pacific Crest Trail. For example, the second floor is inspired by baked earth colours and ubiquitous cacti to evoke the Baja desert, while Floor 5's library replicates the stillness of a mountain lake. This motif is sustained throughout the workspace's 10 floors, with inspiration taken from old growth forests, mountain streams, volcanoes and glaciers.
Central to the design concept was the idea that, like with every work project and every hike in the wilderness, there should be scenic surprises - a process of discovery. At Slack's headquarters, you turn a conrer and there is a stunning design feature such as a wall installation replicating the topography of Lake Tahoe, or a starry night room. At every instance the beauty is a reward for effort, reinforcing the idea that those who venture away from their desk makes the most of their workday.
Every hiker knows that a favourite trail or campsite is never the same place twice. It changes, offering new pleasures and challenges each time. Each floor in Slack's workspace is equipped to adapt to the changing needs of a single work session. This setting inspired by nature welcomes whatever the day may bring.