“Light is inspiration. And light in motion inspires exponentially,” says the design team at HUSH about their latest project, The Stream at Uber’s San Francisco Mission Bay headquarters. Combining bespoke lighting and sound design, as well as interactive content, The Stream translates the company’s mission into a dynamic ‘experience’ aimed to focus and motivate employees, guests, and partners. HUSH is no stranger to this challenge, fielding similar prompts from Facebook, Nike, and IBM. This particular project has been so successful that HUSH will install more Streams in Uber’s other branches worldwide.
Below, we take a closer look at the site-specific commission.
Project Description: The Stream is an architectural scale, interactive experience designed to foreground Uber’s core mission “to ignite opportunity by setting the world in motion.”
The goal was to design a permanent experience at Uber’s San Francisco Mission Bay campus to focus every employee, guest and partner on the impact of their effort and align them with Uber’s organizational mission. This has never been more important than in a post-pandemic world where Uber employees will return to a new workplace after months of operating remotely.
Project Inspiration: Light is inspiration. And light in motion inspires exponentially. Motion is a critical part of Uber’s brand value. Bringing these ideas together allowed us to blend the artistry of metaphor with the specificity of brand storytelling into an experience design concept that defines Uber’s brand upon entry.
Project Blueprint: The form of The Stream cuts through the lobby atrium descending from the upper floors, across the ceiling and to a central point of focus. The extreme scale of the lobby lends itself to extreme perspectives and strong focal points. Units of digital light appear to emerge from above – the floors on which Uber’s employees engage in their innovative work – and appear to carry this innovation downwards. Each unit of light appears to contain a story of innovation and impact, set in dynamic motion. As the light descends through the physical form of The Stream, it merges with other lighting effects, growing in density, speed, resolution, and ultimately resolves in fully materialized, high-resolution stories of impact. Guests interact with these stories as they move underneath The Stream—parting the “digital flow” of the light in order to reveal the stories within.
The experience has many modes of behavior. Each mode, whether tailored to colleagues, special guests, or specific messaging, helps Uber express its core brand story as well as foreground its most important relationships with its customers and drivers.
Project Challenges: The project spanned more than three years, from initial experience strategy, through design, to final delivery and was completed during the height of the pandemic.
Project Takeaways: In bringing Uber’s entryway to life, The Stream uses lighting, sound, and interactive content to help convey Uber’s core brand story and collective impact of igniting opportunity by setting the world in motion. By using a range of visual and sonic design elements—from local stories about drivers to global data—Uber Mission Bay’s lobby bridges the gap between employees’ day-to-day work and Uber’s greater purpose of providing benefits through transportation.
In envisioning our concept, it became clear that no off-the-shelf digital lighting would suffice. We designed lighting pieces specifically to optimize the look and feel of the experience and create a kit of parts unique to the bold form of The Stream. By using these elements as units of a cohesive design system, we were able to vary the form, density, and scale of The Stream to meld it with the architectural volume of the lobby itself.