Studio O+A designed the new headquarters of Meraki, a San Francisco-based provider of cloud-managed networking equipment, recently acquired by Cisco.
The panoramic view of San Francisco's waterfront from Cisco-Meraki's new offices in some ways sets the theme for O+A's design. Viewed from almost any angle, the interiors create an impression of light, spaciousness, bright color, long sightlines.
O+A sought to build the space the way Meraki builds its products, with an emphasis on simplicity and seamless ease of use, while remaining mindful of the importance of the Cisco-Meraki merger to the company's identity. Located in the rapidly changing Mission Bay neighborhood, Cisco-Meraki's 110,000-square-foot suite of offices now becomes Cisco's principal San Francisco location.
At the outset, O+A surveyed Meraki's employees to find out what they liked about their old, much smaller headquarters. A consensus emerged for natural light, plenty of collaboration space, and preservation of the company's tightly knit culture. The size of the new space and the prominence of its floor-to-ceiling windows made collaboration and natural light relatively easy to incorporate. O+A's design offers a variety of meeting spaces-formal and informal, indoor and outdoor-many of them bathed in the crystalline light of San Francisco Bay. The scale and the light support a rich palette of colors and design elements: a wide staircase with integrated stadium seating at its base, a meeting room with hanging tillandsia plants, and an outdoor deck offering views of the baseball park and Bay Bridge.
Maintaining Meraki's cozy ambience in the hangar-sized complex proved more challenging. O+A's solution was to create a medley of small gathering spaces within the large footprint. Sunken seating brings intimacy to horizontal common areas while preserving broad sightlines. Yurts, cabanas, and phone rooms offer varying levels of enclosure. Throughout the office, colleagues can sit down and talk in informal lounge spaces.
Despite the rich finishes and the wide array of typologies, one of O+A's goals was to give Cisco-Meraki employees a blank canvas on which to paint their own pictures. In lieu of pervasive branding graphics, O+A provided ubiquitous chalkboards, whiteboards, and corkboards so that employees could sketch, write, and pin-up graphics meaningful to them. As might be expected, given the company's strong do-it-yourself culture, mobility and adaptability were big factors in the selection of furniture and workstations. These are people who like to move things around.
Photos: Jasper Sanidad