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Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal
Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.

Pinterest in San Francisco, CA by Schwartz and Architecture

January 17th, 2014 by Sanjay Gangal

Article source:  Schwartz and Architecture

SaA’s work as executive architect for this 45,000 sq ft tenant improvement corresponded with Pinterest’s rapid expansion, including the continued evolution of the company’s ethos and character. In many ways, the building was seen by the client as a blank architectural canvas to be curated by the employees, much as their web presence supports the gathering and organization of images into a virtual pin board. Through a series of Make-A-Thons, the Pinterest folks moved in and hacked the space, immediately making it their own.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, Pinterest’s South of Market headquarters with new signage by Pinterest. The move back into the heart of the city has been embraced by San Francisco, with Pinterest part of a broader trend for many tech companies. The adaptive reuse of an older building fits with the DIY, collector spirit of the company.

  • Architects: Schwartz and Architecture (Neal Schwartz, Lourdes Garcia (Project Manager) )
  • Project: Pinterest
  • Location: San Francisco, CA, U.S.A
  • Photography: Eddy Joaquim
  • Project Designer: All of the Above / First Office: Janette Kim / Anna Neimark & Andrew Atwood
  • Project Manager: Gina Caruso, Relocation Connections, Inc
  • Pinterest Team: Pinterest
  • Contractor: NOVO Construction
  • Structural Engineer: Yu Structural Engineers
  • Furniture Consultant: One Workplace
  • Lighting Design: Jody Pritchard, Pritchard Peck Lighting
  • Year: 2013

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, Reception area made home by Pinployees with glass display backdrop designed by SaA. The front lobby has taken on an unassuming school aesthetic; something that was developed organically from within over the course of the project. SaA’s main contribution was the design and detailing of the glass display wall, which creates a layer of privacy from the main office space while still providing a glimpse of the employees’ collections beyond. The pattern references the visual cataloguing system of Pinterest’s website as well as the sense of scrolling through the site’s images. The variation in opacities comes from a simple system of glass films adhered to either side creating four distinct levels of transparency.

SaA worked with an initial schematic proposal from the project designers, adding components to the design as the company’s needs developed through construction. For us, the project showcases our collaborative spirit with our clients; one which fosters spaces aligned with their unique visions.

We are currently continuing our collaboration with Pinterest as the architect for the 15,000 sq ft expansion of their headquarters into an adjacent historic structure.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, Opposite side of SaA display shelving integrated into the raw space with Pinployees’ personal collections. Here just a bit of “designed” space tucks into the existing rough frame of the warehouse shell. As in all of our work with Pinterest, we proposed design solutions that were open and flexible to meet their changing and evolving needs in the space. The display shelves become an analogue version of their digital ethos.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, Main atrium space with the existing elevator and ceiling stripped down to bare bones and decorated by Pinployees’ hanging art lanterns. SaA worked to maintain and reveal the inherent character of the existing raw space. Certain elements, such as an ill-placed and un-moveable glass elevator were stripped bare to de-emphasize their iconic position in the space. Similarly, a vintage 1980’s racetrack soffit was removed exposing the raw skylights above.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, SaA incorporated two existing and awkward mechanical shafts into a meeting booth/threshold to the main space at the second floor. The interior is lined with cork flooring and provides an open yet intimate meeting space.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, View of main atrium space with signage by Pinterest. Simple moveable wood tables on metal frames foster the flexible, casual school aesthetic. This ground floor space serves as both dining hall and all hands space.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, The initial designer’s concept inserted several white volumes into the space, which SaA detailed to keep as minimal as possible. These have become areas for further curation by the Pinployees. This volume at the dining area/kitchen plays off of the existing stair.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, SaA worked closely with the structural engineer on this new “hanging” stair within the existing space, increasing the connections between the three levels of work areas.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, With our work complete, the Pinployees moved in to make the space their own with this DIY speakeasy lounge. While there was much discussion throughout the process about what this relatively dark and somewhat “leftover” space should/could be, in the end the design evolved organically from the energy of the Pinployees alone.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim, SaA is currently designing Pinterest’s expansion into this adjacent historic structure.

Image Courtesy © Eddy Joaquim

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