California-based architecture firm Rapt Studio has just completed the renovation of Dropbox’s headquarters in San Francisco. The magic of Dropbox is it allows you to work anywhere, using a nearly invisible interface. But the company’s 300,000-square-foot physical offices couldn’t be invisible. The space needed deliberate visual cues to support collaboration among the company’s many teams. The solution was a bustling city layout based on landmarks, neighborhoods, and shared community values.
The neighborhood concept grew out of the discovery phase, when Rapt Studio learned a major source of frustration at the old office was that most workspaces were situated in narrow hallways — making collaboration difficult, disruptive, or both. So they created distinctive neighborhoods flanked by portals and meeting rooms to align with the needs of different departments. Groups of 40 to 50 people could create their own company subcultures based on their collective personalities, from quiet and industrious engineers to more social, vocal marketers.
In addition to the various neighborhoods, there are strategic spaces for different modes of work. These include ‘The Library‘, inspired by a fuzzy, 1970s Italian theater, it’s all round corners and plush carpeting, ideal for retreating to read or send a few emails. When sunlight shines through the windows, the whole space glows pink. ‘The purposeful Deep Focus room‘ is a darker room that brings the employee’s work front and center, meanwhile ‘The casual Karaoke Bar‘ is a reference to the company’s startup days featuring a basement bar and happy hour every Friday.
Even as you walk by on the street, the lobby invites you to come in and explore, with massive mirrors that collapse the distinction between inside and out. In so doing, they reflect one of the company’s core values: infinite depth of storage and possibility.
all images courtesy of Rapt Studio