Samsara’s new San Francisco Headquarters (Samsara HQ) reflects the cloud-based software and hardware company’s mission to help global businesses operate more safely, efficiently, and sustainably. Samsara HQ brings employees together under one roof with a variety of highly flexible workspaces and amenities that support efficient workflows, collaboration, and hybrid work. Located on a prominent site within San Francisco’s Design District, Samsara now enjoys a significant presence in the City. Visible from the street, the interior design takes cues from the area’s rich history while displaying Samsara’s creativity to the neighborhood.
The tenant improvement takes inspiration from the newly constructed base building, San Francisco’s first cross-laminated-timber (CLT) building. The building’s materials, such as CLT, concrete, steel, and glass, blend well with the historic brick and timber warehouses in this well-established light industrial neighborhood known for design studios, art galleries, show rooms, and creative agencies. Ample glazing allows for a clear view of the CLT elements and other design elements. The tenant improvement celebrates the natural beauty of wood as both a finish and a structural element as established by the base building architect. Modifications to the 20-foot tall reception area include a digital display inserted in the perforated wood panels and an extension of the CLT millwork from the walls to the reception desk. Industrial staples like white metal mesh were retooled as a wayfinding tool that denotes key circulation pathways. The building’s tinted blue curtain wall material is also featured on the interior, in reveals and door frames, giving the entire building a built-to-suit feel. This approach creates a cohesive and connected sense of place at different scales, from neighborhood to building to interiors.
To accommodate hybrid work, Samsara HQ had to balance the comforts of home with the professional workspaces and amenities needed to support collaboration and company culture. The ground floor and mezzanine feature the building’s most “public” spaces, many of which are visible from the street, including a 700-person dining hall that flexes for all-staff gatherings. The space is tech-enabled to support multi-office engagement, allowing staff to connect globally. The program also includes a hardware demonstration suite, training rooms, an incubator space, a conference suite, board rooms, coffee lounges, and a customer experience center. The white metal mesh installation serves as a wayfinding tool, encouraging employees and visitors to follow a choreographed tour through the building that demonstrates the products and culture exemplifying Samsara. Exposed CLT panels and color-coded graphics with different Samsara-branded shades of blue add warmth and personality.
Space planning of the upper floors centered on providing enhanced flexibility and meeting employee demand for small meeting spaces serving groups of two to four. “Anchors,” enclosed two and four-person pods and huddle rooms, are situated amidst open desking to create human-scaled neighborhoods. Flexible seating surrounds these anchor rooms, allowing the spaces to open up and flex for larger groups. Movable furniture, foldable partitions, marker boards, and acoustical treatments give employees the flexibility they need to work in a way that suits them best. Large conference rooms and lounges are located at the corners of the triangular building, providing users with visually stunning and well-lit spaces. Informal workspaces encircle the perimeter of each floor, further supporting the transition from focused to collaborative work and social time.
The tenant improvement is LEED Platinum, exceeding the expectations a new local law mandating that first-generation tenant improvements achieve LEED Gold or higher. The workplace neighborhoods are organized to make the best use of direct afternoon light and reduce the amount of energy used for artificial lighting. The enclosed work pods, or anchors, are situated to act as physical buffers that minimize heat gain and to fully realize the benefits of an efficient HVAC system. For the upper floors, the interior design team leveraged the base building architect’s use of FSC certified CLT, promoting a warm aesthetic, minimizing additional finish materials, and relaying a commitment to reduced embodied carbon.
Samsara HQ falls within one of San Francisco’s zoning districts dedicated to preventing displacement of Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) businesses. A certain percentage of the building’s square footage had to be dedicated to light industrial uses. The project satisfies this goal and adds to the area’s locally-made products.