San Francisco-based startup, Gusto, working alongside world-leading architects Gensler, have created a gigantic new office in the former Union Iron Works machine shop at Pier 70, which is designed to feel like home with its shoeless policy.
Dogpatch, San Francisco
designed by

As a San Francisco-based startup that helps small businesses manage their payrolls, benefits and human resources, Gusto is always up to date with the latest trends in work, technology and design. Their gigantic new office in the former Union Iron Works machine shop at Pier 70, in the up-and-coming neighbourhood of Dogpatch, has been designed by architects and interior designers Gensler, with whom we’re very happy to have an ongoing collaborative relationship – and as you can see, it’s absolutely stunning.


Photography Credits: Rafael Gamo

“ We want our office to feel like a home, to be comfortable and authentic. ”
Josh Reeves, CEO of Gusto

In the words of Gensler’s design manager Marcus Hopper, “This is basically a new building inside an old building.” Countless ships have been repaired in this 55,000 square-foot machine shop, going back to the days of the Spanish-American War of 1898, and Gensler decided to leave the old gantry cranes, lifts, pipes, beams and roofing as a visual focal point an also an homage to the past. In keeping with the building’s history, they designed the conference rooms to look like shipping containers; however, in keeping with the building’s bright future, these rooms have been named after some of Gusto’s 60,000 small business clients: the Bait and Tackle Shop, the Bakery, the Florist, the Gelateria, the Ramen Shop, and so on.

Gensler is committed to designing spaces that place the needs of employees first, and as such they involved Gusto staff in every stage of the process: team members helped come up with ideas like the heated floors and no-shoes policy, explored early designs in virtual reality, and even helped paint a 40-foot mural celebrating their customers. “We want our office to feel like a home,” explains Gusto’s  CEO and co-founder Josh Reeves, “to be comfortable and authentic.” 

To help with this homely, authentic feeling, we installed our Palisades Grid system as a series of stylish zone dividers in the open-plan atrium space at the heart of the building – and, given that our Palisades Grid was inspired by Californian furniture designer Muriel Coleman’s mid-century modern shelving units, it felt great to be bringing it back to the Golden State.