Projects

Uber 5

No client in O+A’s 25-year history has more enthusiastically embraced the creativity of design than Uber. As the maverick ride-share company expands to new locations and new floors of its present location, each project becomes a blank canvas on which to explore a fresh theme. That theme for the 5th floor of Uber’s San Francisco headquarters was Paris Meets Blade Runner—a high-concept tagline that became, in execution, a meditation on the layered transience of design.

No client in O+A’s 25-year history has more enthusiastically embraced the creativity of design than Uber. As the maverick ride-share company expands to new locations and new floors of its present location, each project becomes a blank canvas on which to explore a fresh theme. That theme for the 5th floor of Uber’s San Francisco headquarters was Paris Meets Blade Runner—a high-concept tagline that became, in execution, a meditation on the layered transience of design.

  • City San Francisco, CA

  • Year 2016

  • Size 79,522 sf

  • Team Denise Cherry, Elizabeth Guerrero, Michelle Richter, David Hunter, Hilary Hanhan, Jocelyn Lee, Alma Lopez, Sarah Dziuba, Alan Lee, Donald Koide, Elizabeth Vereker, Clem Soga

  • Photographer Jasper Sanidad

“We’ll Always Have Paris.”

Starting with the city that many would judge the highest achievement of urban culture, O+A imagined Paris over a span of centuries (not excluding those to come) and created an office that mashes together sci-fi and antiquity. This 5th floor “Paris,” much like its counterpart in France, is an assembly of distinct neighborhoods, laid out as if for a culture of flaneurs, but overlaid with modern energy and drive.

Making Details Magical

Uber is a strongly aspirational company, and the 5th floor design points aggressively toward its future. The details here are familiar things reimagined in slightly magical ways: bean bag chairs upholstered in carpet; “hard-candy” seating pods (hard on the outside, soft in the center); a floating staircase; a hero wall that illuminates each hero walking past; a colonnade of mirrors that appears to bend light.

Sci-Fi Inspirations

The naming conventions on this floor are drawn from the geography of science fiction novels, and carrels for private study or small meetings are upholstered in leather etched with subtle visualizations of sci-fi themes. Ender’s Game, Contact, The Martian, 2312—Uber’s sci-fi enthusiasts chose the stories that inform the design. The result, if not quite otherworldly, certainly suggests what this world can be with a little extra effort toward making it marvelous.

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