— Frame Magazine —

Taking an angular approach to innovation for Microsoft's San Francisco office

Microsoft's new home in San Fransico has been realised by local architecture and design firm Blitz to be a symbiosis between the requirements of the workforce and new technologies, driven by the user experience of the space.

This is not just an office. It is also a customer-facing technology centre, a testing lab and a 'showroom for innovation and discovery'. Located in the iconic Bank of America building at 555 California Street in the city's second tallest skyscraper, the tech firm's branding permeates the space and allows for the street-front visibility that the brief called for. From the swathes of vibrant colour extracted from the Microsoft corporate palette to the 3form ceiling sails inspired by the early 'flying windows' screensaver, an outward transparency is evident with the multicoloured aspects flowing up the facade creating a street presence and intrigue amongst passers-by.

Inside the building, angular pavilions house workspaces of varying size and function, all communicating a sense of strength and direction. The jutting walls provide orientation, pointing visitors and employees on the right path like giant wayfaring markers. The blocks of colour in the back-painted glass create banks of glossy surfaces, which bring to mind the tactile touchscreens of Microsoft's products whilst at the same time reflecting the incoming light.

Blitz has ensured all the requirements for daily working are catered for, optimising opportunities for collaboration with airy, open-plan zones and 'touchdown' hubs along with spaces that are perfect for when focused concentration and quiet time are required. Workstation zones are not fixed, and the essence of the office design is based around flexibility and empowering the employee to choose where they want to work in an agile environment.

Photos Bruce Damonte.

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Blitz has an equally-innovating project showcased in The Other Office 2, our recent release that highlights the prevailing trends in creative workplace design (available in our webshop). Meanwhile, to get the low-down on another of Microsoft's idea-generating working environments, look out for our upcoming title Spaces for Innovation which will feature a case study about the tech giant's Seattle campus. To be kept updated about this spring release, email us for details. Finally, check out our five formulas for future-proof offices in Frame #108.