Spotlight on the project
A bright commissary, a Parisian-style bistro, and a retail boutique showcasing products from independent retailers and artisans are just a few of the standout amenities at the sprawling online wholesale market office.
By Nate Floor
24 October 2021
When it came to conceptualizing Faire’s new office nestled between San Francisco’s Design District and Potrero Hill neighborhood, Studio Plow knew it had to reflect the company’s virtual marketplace that connects local brands. to retailers. “It’s a place to discover the people, the stories and the partnerships that made their new home a reality,” explains Brit Epperson, Founder and Head of the Creative Office at Studio Plow.
Housed in a former warehouse from 1910, the space looks more like a coworking and private members’ club than a 70,000 square feet the head office. There is the commissary filled with daylight equipped with Windsor-style ash chairs, white picnic benches and hanging globes; the Parisian-style café, Petit Faire, where employees stock up on espresso and cold beer; a meditation safe for much-needed midday resets; and a charming boutique filled with products from manufacturers and artisans on the Faire platform. The workspaces are airy and bright and adorned with greenery and Molo textile softwalls. Plow has worked closely with local businesses, women and gays to weave the community since founding to ensure that the 100 Potrero office reflects the diverse community of Faire. Even in the age of working from anywhere, the dream space is enough to cause a serious case of office envy in the most steadfast digital nomad.
Here we take a closer look at the project.
Project description: In March 2019, a small team of Faire embarked on a mission: to create a home in San Francisco for more than 400 Faire employees, intentionally designed from the foundation. Faire’s 70,000 square foot new headquarters in San Francisco is their latest collaboration with Studio PLOW. Designed to attract and retain talent, the new office at 100 Potrero builds on PLOW’s previous work with the growing company by expanding equipment and showcasing a more refined brand identity. The project focused on interior renovations, finishes and furnishings which not only expressed the brand’s ethos, but also worked in harmony with the building structure.
Inspiration: The ethics and identity of the Faire brand were key inspirations. The space had to be a direct reflection of the light and airy brand. The design team has created a range of in-house amenities that support Faire’s ethics and corporate culture. A lighted commissary provides meals for staff, where custom draperies extend eighteen feet to reach the ceiling, softening the perimeter and creating favorable acoustics. An in-house retail store allows staff and visitors to shop directly from manufacturers and artisans who sell their products through Faire’s digital platform. An existing vault with a scalloped plaster ceiling transformed into a restful meditation room. At the same time, a stand-alone café with a Parisian atmosphere allows staff to “go out” for a coffee while promoting the community more.
Plan: Led by an all-female team, health, both physical and mental, was a key tenet of the space. The design team therefore developed amenity spaces to support these efforts. Coffee spaces, healthy lunch options, meditation rooms, mother’s suites all help support the staff at Faire. Dark brick walls, old-wood beams, and a fully exposed ceiling characterize the 1910 industrial building that Faire now calls his home. This imposing historic hull forced PLOW to navigate the disparate demands between the drama of the existing heavy industrial aesthetic and the brightness and sophistication of the client’s brand identity.
Take away food: Rather than competing with the deeply historic space, PLOW’s design approach harmonizes with the existing by using rich, warm tones in soft textures and natural materials to create a new neutral palette. Tempering the heavy structure with inviting and elegant moments pays homage to the historic structure while celebrating the culture of the Faire brand.
Taking the heavy tones found in the historic shell and pulling them through details such as fabric, stone veins and furnishings establishes a sultry relationship between the building and the interior. The use of unpainted brass in new fixtures and details will acquire a patina over time, offering modernizations that will create their own history.
Challenges: COVID struck as the project drew to a close, and the team had to quickly navigate a new world of regulations and delays. When the project started, the space was already under construction as a suite of specifications and Plow worked with AOR (Huntsman Architectural Group) to reorient the design. transforming it from a suite of owner specifications to a highly organized and meaningful space to do. The existing building is beautiful but also makes a statement of its own and a statement contrary to the branding of Faire. The plow worked to create harmony between the two.