Projects

55 Hawthorne

With over 135 million visitors every month Yelp functions like a giant online marketplace where people meet to exchange information and opinions on the shops, restaurants, entertainments and services that operate in their city, the cities they are soon to visit and the cities they can only dream of.

With over 135 million visitors every month Yelp functions like a giant online marketplace where people meet to exchange information and opinions on the shops, restaurants, entertainments and services that operate in their city, the cities they are soon to visit and the cities they can only dream of.

  • City San Francisco, CA

  • Year 2015

  • Size 68,000 sf

  • Team Denise Cherry, Perry Stephney, Michelle Richter, Neil Bartley, Olivia Ward, Annie Tull, Elizabeth Vereker, Sarunya Wongjodsri, Patrick Ojeda, Reema Farhat, Kroeun Dav

  • Photographer Jasper Sanidad

A Marketplace of Markets

This idea of a common forum for international markets became the design inspiration for Yelp’s offices at 55 Hawthorne in San Francisco. Each floor springs from the textures and moods of a particular market in a city where Yelp has a significant presence: Istanbul, Tokyo, London, Amsterdam. Drawing on the colors and patterns of four ancient cultures—and four markets that have survived for centuries—O+A’s designers created four spaces brought together by the universal impulse to share experience.

Light on the Bosphorous

Because regional references in space design can easily be overdone, O+A used the four markets as jumping off points for designs that subtly, rather than overtly, evoke their sources. Each space abstracts its country of origin into colors and patterns. The space inspired by Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, for example, combines copper light fixtures, hanging textiles and Bosphorous blue accents to create a mood more contemplative than commercial. No one would label this a “Turkish” design, but the nuances of that ancient culture flow consistently through its modern surfaces and textures.

Geometries of Nature

Probably the most literal references in this suite of workplaces are those inspired by Amsterdam’s Bloemenmarkt. Multi-colored, geometrical patterns on the walls and floors clearly reflect the style of Dutch artist Piet Mondrian, but their true source—and the link to Amsterdam’s Floating Flower Market—is the way Dutch tulip fields look from the air. Even with this traceable link, however, the execution is sufficiently abstract to make the space a general expression of ebullience rather than a specific evocation of Dutch culture.

Design from the Inside Out

Similarly the space inspired by Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market, betrays no hint of fish—or of Tokyo. The finish and furniture choices here are drawn instead from the traditions of Japanese craftsmanship that make textiles, carpentry or sushi occasions for expressions of character. From the joinery of the wood furniture to the patterns etched into raw concrete floors, the values, not the imagery, are identifiably Japanese.

Vintage Modern

Values are at the heart, also, of the space inspired by London’s Spitalfields Market. While the toile wall coverings convey a vaguely British spirit (or Scottish), the impact is not so much regional as generational. Spitalfields is, among other things, a well-known vintage clothing market, a center of funky chic in London’s increasingly trendy East End. That’s the design echo this Yelp space projects—a culture of informality and comfort, an unpretentious culture of putting old things to new use.