Studio Plow Brings Faire’s Digital Identity to Life at its New Headquarters in San Francisco
A light-filled commissary, Parisian–style bistro, and retail shop showcasing products from independent retailers and artisans are just a few of the standout amenities at the online wholesale marketplace's sprawling office.
When it came to conceptualizing Faire’s new office nestled between the design district and Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, Studio Plow knew it had to reflect the company’s virtual marketplace that connects local brands with retailers. “It’s a place to discover the people, stories, and partnerships that made their new home a reality,” says Brit Epperson, founder and chief creative office of Studio Plow.
Housed inside a 1910 former warehouse, the space feels more like a private co-working and members club than a 70,000-square-foot corporate headquarters. There’s the thedaylight-filled commissary outfitted with Windsor-style ash chairs, white picnic benches, and pendant globes; the Parisian-style cafe, Petit Faire, where employees fuel up on espressos and cold brew; a meditation vault for much-needed midday resets; and a charming boutique stocked with products from the makers and artisans on Faire’s platform. The workspaces are airy and bright and adorned in greenery and Molo textile softwalls. Plow collaborated closely with local, womxn, and queer-owned companies to weave the community in from the foundation up to ensure the office at 100 Potrero mirrored the diverse Faire community. Even in the work-from-anywhere era, the dreamy space is enough to induce 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 of 2019, a small team at Faire embarked on a mission: create a San Francisco home for over 400 Faire employees, intentionally designed from the foundation. Faire’s new 70,000 square foot headquarters in San Francisco is their latest collaboration with Studio PLOW. Designed to attract and retain talent, the new office located at 100 Potrero builds on PLOW’S previous work with the growing company by expanding amenities and presenting a more refined brand identity. The project focused on interior renovations, finishes and furniture that not only expressed the brand ethos, but also worked in harmony with the building structure.
Inspiration: The Faire brand ethos and identity were key inspirations. The space needed to be a direct reflection of the light and airy brand. The design team created a range of in-house amenities that support Faire’s ethos and company culture. A light-filled commissary provides staff meals, where custom drapery stretches eighteen feet to meet the ceiling, softening the perimeter and creating favorable acoustics. An in-house retail shop allows staff and visitors to shop directly from the makers 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. Simultaneously, a standalone café with a Parisian feel enables the staff to “go out” for coffee while further fostering community.
Blueprint: Led by an all-female team, health, both physical and mental, were key principles of the space, so the design team developed amenity spaces to support those efforts. Cafe spaces, healthy lunch options, meditation rooms, mother’s suites, all help to support the staff at Faire. Dark brick walls, old-growth timber beams, and a wholly exposed ceiling characterize the 1910 industrial building that Faire now calls home. This imposing historic shell required PLOW to navigate the disparate demands between the drama of the existing heavy industrial aesthetic and the brightness and refinement of the client’s brand identity.
Takeaways: Rather than compete with the profoundly 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 Faire’s brand culture.
Taking the heavy tones found in the historic shell and pulling them through details such as fabric, stone veining, and furnishings establishes a sensuous relationship of building to interior. The use of unlacquered brass in new fixtures and details will patina over time, providing modernizations that will create their own history.
Challenges: COVID hit as the project neared completion and the team had to quickly navigate a new world of regulations and delays. When the project began the space was actually already under construction as a spec suite and Plow worked with the AOR (Huntsman Architectural Group) to redirect the design. transforming it from a landlord spec suite to a highly curated and meaningful space for Faire. The existing building is beautiful but also very much makes a statement of its own, and a statement counter to the Faire brand expression. Plow worked to create a harmony between the two.