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The New Home Office

When your workplace includes a bar, a resident chef, a gym, and a jam room, overtime becomes desirable.

Weebly headquarters San Francisco, designed by Huntsman Architectural Group

SLIDESHOW

A full bar near the DJ booth includes screens for watching sporting events and movies.

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Weebly headquarters San Francisco, designed by Huntsman Architectural Group

This fireside meeting space beneath the office’s mezzanine overlooks Bryant Street.

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Weebly headquarters San Francisco, designed by Huntsman Architectural Group

The LED light installation is by PixelPusher, whose creators met Weebly’s founders at Burning Man.

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Weebly headquarters San Francisco, designed by Huntsman Architectural Group

The speakeasy—accessed via a hidden latch in the library bookcase—is a nod to the building’s past as a liquor-distribution warehouse.

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Weebly headquarters San Francisco, designed by Huntsman Architectural Group

The speakeasy—accessed via a hidden latch in the library bookcase—is a nod to the building’s past as a liquor-distribution warehouse.

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Weebly headquarters San Francisco, designed by Huntsman Architectural Group

The graffiti art lining the gym is a remnant of the building’s stint as an underground rave club in the ’90s.

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Weebly headquarters San Francisco, designed by Huntsman Architectural Group

Employees can blow off steam in the office’s soundproofed jam room.

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A typical employee of web-hosting service Weebly hits the gym each morning, visits the meditation room, and then gets a massage. She showers, changes, and maybe throws in a load of laundry while answering emails. Lunch is on the house, prepared by a resident chef. After hours, she might lay down a track in the soundproofed jam room; challenge coworkers to a game of billiards, Ping-Pong, or foosball; or kick back beside the fireplace with a book and a craft cocktail—all without ever leaving the office. Whoever coined the adage “There’s no place like home” never interviewed at Weebly.

“People can work from anywhere these days,” says Sascha Wagner, president of Huntsman Architectural Group, which designed Weebly’s new SoMa digs at 460 Bryant Street. “Our challenge is to make people want to come into the office.”

The exposed brick–and–timber building is a unicorn in space-scarce SoMa. Built in 1907, the spot was originally a warehouse for liquor distributors before Prohibition. It served as a type foundry until 1999, when it was abandoned—apart from the occasional underground rave. (Huntsman architect Gregory Dumont, who worked on the Weebly project, remembers dancing in the graffiti-covered basement, since converted into Weebly’s gym.)

The cavernous space was bisected into separate wings with a 60-foot-long ramp. The open office on the ground floor includes 14 conference rooms. On the amenity-packed lower level, Wagner installed a booth where Weebly chief executive officer David Rusenko, a hobbyist DJ with a fondness for EDM, spins during parties—the exterior company logo, the reception logo, and the art-highlighting office spotlights can be synced to the beat through an iPad. A 650-pound steel fin sculpture, also illuminated by color-changing lights, is suspended above the new staircase, and a sprawling, 36,000-LED installation by PixelPusher displays digital still images and video.

But the workplace’s most impressive feature is hidden away: a room accessed through a pivoting bookshelf that nods to the building’s pre-Prohibition past. The latch is released by pulling out a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Inside, you’ll find flocked velvet wallpaper, exposed filament lighting, antique leather furniture, and a full bar. This secret speakeasy is a particular selling point when recruiting new job candidates, says Wagner. “It can be pretty effective in locking down a deal.”


Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco

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