We started working with Twitter when they were 40 employees, and we were involved in the decision to choose Market Square as their headquarters location. Their decision to move there has changed San Francisco – revitalizing a part of Market Street that has been derelict for 50 years. The Market Square complex was the old San Francisco Furniture Mart – an enormous 11-story building of 1 million square feet. The typical floor plates were 80,000 square feet, so two of the design challenges were maximizing the available natural light and creating an easily understood circulation system on floors that large.
Phases I occupies over 350,000 square feet of the building, and given Twitter's aggressive schedule we felt that we should bring in a partner to assist with the project delivery. We contacted IA (Interior Architects) to join us and they were an excellent addition to the team, executing much of the documentation while allowing us to concentrate on the “special” design opportunities that the build-out offered. While both firms worked collaboratively on all aspects of the design, our focus narrowed in on the cafeteria and dining spaces, the lobbies, and the custom furniture and fixtures.
The cafeteria was the biggest design opportunity, taking the old auditorium and transforming it into what is really the heart of the Twitter campus. A large double-height space that opens to a generous rooftop terrace, we worked closely with Bon Apetit Management Company to provide a company dining experience second to none. In the rest of the plan we grouped the meeting rooms and ancillary spaces in the center, in order to insure that the open desk areas were always near to windows. The internal spaces were enclosed with transparent or translucent glass walls, and in lighting them they became internal lanterns for the building.
And, of course, the LD shop was involved, building custom conference tables, the main reception desk (from a reclaimed bowling alley bought on craigslist), and even some twig light fixtures (using found manzanita branches from the Sonoma coast).