A guided tour of the new 37signals office space by chief architect Brad Lynch from Brininstool, Kerwin and Lynch. He explains the layout, materials, lighting, and the decision-making process behind the design.
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Peter Goziniaon 08 Oct 10
I can’t view on my iPad. Is there a YouTube link or similar?
Reyon 08 Oct 10
love the chalkboard!
AaronSon 08 Oct 10
I like his comment about the chalkboard tactile feel as opposed to a whiteboard. My question about that is do you feel that keeping it clean is more difficult? My two concerns would be chalk dust on the floor / hands and then when you erase, it not getting all perfectly clean and black again.
Thank you for the video and walkthrough.
JFon 08 Oct 10
My question about that is do you feel that keeping it clean is more difficult? My two concerns would be chalk dust on the floor / hands and then when you erase, it not getting all perfectly clean and black again.
Everything is a tradeoff. A bit of dust is worth the gains from the feel, the overall look, the flexibility, and the sound (squeaky marker boards are a no go for me).
David Andersenon 08 Oct 10
Can you guys share the manufacturer/suplier of the chalkboard? It’s obviously not your typical school chalkboard. I’ve been looking for something like this.
Joseph Jackson 08 Oct 10
NICE office. Very productive for clear thinking.
AaronSon 08 Oct 10
JFon 08 Oct 10
David: I wouldn’t recommend them – the material came damaged numerous times. They didn’t seem to care.
Timon 08 Oct 10
One thing I really appreciate is the regular-height conference room table in the kitchen area.
In the last two companies I’ve worked at, they had bar tables (the high kind) with bar chairs. It seems that the idea is to be kind of cool or something, but these are very uncomfortable: the seats and the tables are tiny and usually flimsy and unstable, there is no way to have your two feet solidly on the floor, etc. Just a big regular table with regular chairs keeps it simple, comfortable and authentic.
There are no good justifications for these bar tables.
Ryanon 08 Oct 10
Seems like a lot of care was taken to reduce echo chamber effect of most open offices (felt central box, cork, panels, etc.). Kudos though a lot can be heard in the open area. Is there any treatment on the ceiling? I’ve always loved the acoustic panels designed by OFFECCT in Sweden.
Melvin Ramon 08 Oct 10
Very nice culmination of many considered decisions. Kudos to Mr. Lynch.
JFon 08 Oct 10
Kudos though a lot can be heard in the open area.
That’s because our whole company was talking/socializing in the theater. This isn’t a standard work day or a common scenario.
Andreason 08 Oct 10
It feels huge and empty in the video. Almost a cause for agoraphobia. To big and empty for my taste.
How is it a regular workday?
Benjion 08 Oct 10
You forgot the bathroom!
Chad Keckon 08 Oct 10
I love the design—would be a great office to work in! Congrats.
Anonon 08 Oct 10
I’m surprised you guys went with such a bland office. You had so much opportunity to really create something innovative and great. Taking your methodology from your products to physical space.
The colours and bland office setting really don’t connect with your brand very well.
Overall good effort.
Mathias M.on 08 Oct 10
Do you have a HTML5 version of the video available? I’m on my iPhone.
mton 08 Oct 10
I am surprised you went for open space. I remember you advocating solitary work.
Willon 08 Oct 10
The varying wall textures are incredible – the felt, the cork, the mystery material, the wood. Beautiful selections. There’s nothing bland at all about this space from the look of it.
qwertyon 09 Oct 10
Here is a very different interior at Google in Waterloo: http://designfabulous.blogspot.com/. Just like one comment there says, it looks almost like a day care center with all the toys and primary colors. Tastes obviously vary but I find the 37S office much more appropriate and would prefer it. I’d love to see a modern office on Apple’s campus.
macon 09 Oct 10
I would say that the most important thing is that the realisation meets your expectations and that you are happy and productive in your new office. So, if that’s the case: I am happy for you! :)
That said, I was – like other readers – a bit disillusioned. I expected great things from your office, but the overall feeling I got through the video, is that of something built “on the cheap”, with not so much care for the details. Some examples: the chalkboards have a plastic/wood feeling rather than the true thing (rock), in all surfaces which are tessellated (carpets, various walls…) the joints are really prominent and visible, the ceiling feels like “oh well… nobody is working up there, who cares?”.
Sure: you probably maximised your “bang for the buck”, yet – compared to the neat image you convey with your products – your office fails to impress. Again though: if the result is what you wanted and if you feel you are now productive and happy… who cares? It’s YOUR office, not the one of your readers! :)
JFon 09 Oct 10
That said, I was – like other readers – a bit disillusioned. I expected great things from your office, but the overall feeling I got through the video, is that of something built “on the cheap”, with not so much care for the details. Some examples: the chalkboards have a plastic/wood feeling rather than the true thing (rock), in all surfaces which are tessellated (carpets, various walls…) the joints are really prominent and visible, the ceiling feels like “oh well… nobody is working up there, who cares?”
Nothing could be further from the truth. All the materials are very high end, very carefully chosen and considered. When presented with two options, we chose the better option. This may not show up in a blurry handheld video, but if you see the space in person you will understand. This space is all about the details. This becomes obvious when you are in the space.
The chalkboard surfaces are not plastic – they are metal, solid, and have a wonderful feel. Since they are metal they are also magnetic. The joints and edges where materials meet are very well considered. Anything that looks like wood is wood. Anything that looks like metal is metal. There are no materials substituting for other materials (ie. no shiny plastic that is supposed to look like metal).
The cork and felt was built on panels which were then hung on the walls. This modular approach allows us to replace a panel if it gets damaged without having to tear down an entire wall. It a smart, practical design. We’ve already replaced a few panels due to defective material we noticed post build-out. The modular look lines up nicely with the kind of work we do on the web.
The ceiling: We like the open exposed look. The rest of the space is really refined so the exposed concrete-beamed ceiling reminds us that the space is an old industrial loft. We like that.
Sam Gibersonon 11 Oct 10
I think the office came out great and the materials show really well in photo and in video. The chalkboards and layered walls give the office some real dimension and character. Watching the video I was actually surprised at the amount of square footage and meeting spaces; it almost seemed out of character for 37 Signals it’s so big. Congrats on the great new space.
Scotton 12 Oct 10
The space looks great. It shows much better in the photos and video with dolly than the handheld shots. http://37signals.com/svn/posts/2593-official-pictures-of-our-new-office And I suspect it looks even better in person.
Jamie Edwardson 14 Oct 10
I think the office oozes style, quality and absolute class. Kudos to all those involved in the design of it. I’m sure you’ll love working there.
matthewdlyonson 14 Oct 10
Thanks for the tour. Perhaps because I am a fan of minimalist design, the form and function of the various spaces within the office really grabbed me. I think the concept, to design, to execution worked out very well. I don’t get the opinion about materials being cheap. Even with a glance, you can tell the materials are high quality and thought was given as to what materials should be used where.
I am a huge fan of chalkboards. I’ve only used chalkboard paint at home, but like that yours are metal so you can attach things with magnets as opposed to having crappy-looking stick tear sheets up everywhere.
I plan to share this video as an example of creative minimalist design. Hats off to you guys and the architects on the project. Great work.
This discussion is closed.