Projects

Yelp

The original floor plan for tech firms was horizontal—a function of the broad campus spaces they occupied in Silicon Valley. But as companies locate in more urban environments that orientation often skews vertical—with no loss of the “horizontal” values that define the modern workplace: flat hierarchies and informal working conditions.

The original floor plan for tech firms was horizontal—a function of the broad campus spaces they occupied in Silicon Valley. But as companies locate in more urban environments that orientation often skews vertical—with no loss of the “horizontal” values that define the modern workplace: flat hierarchies and informal working conditions.

  • City San Francisco, CA

  • Year 2012

  • Size 106,000 sq ft

  • Team Primo Orpilla, Perry Stephney, Denise Cherry, Verda Alexander, Clem Soga, Steve Gerten, Elizabeth Guerrero, David Hunter, Alma Lopez, Renee Laput-Mendoza, Sarunya Wongjodsri, Jeorge Jordan, Olivia Ward, Kroeun Dav, Chase Lunt, Amie Zemlicka, Maleesa Pollock, Will Chu, Justin Ackerman

  • Photographer Jasper Sanidad

Stacking Interactions

Yelp’s move to floors 5-12 in a 26-story high-rise in San Francisco’s Financial District is a textbook example. The company’s identity is built around community—a community of businesses and a community of voices sharing information about them. To promote that concept among its own employees Yelp’s office stacks amenities up and down its 8 floors.

Yelp Central

Reception is in the middle of the stack on the 9th floor. Visitors to Yelp arrive at this central point— designed as a playful improvisation on the theme of a General Store—and travel up or down in the elevator to their ultimate destination. The “store” features merchandise displays, jars of candy, even a cash register—but it’s all design. Nothing is for sale.

 

Coffee on 8

Nor is the coffee on the 8th floor café. It’s free to Yelp’s employees and guests. Clad in planks of Douglas fir, red oak and walnut this professional-grade coffee bar anchors a seating area with red brick interior and custom light fixtures. The restaurant atmosphere is a magnet to employees up and down the office.

The Vertical Campus

By creating custom spaces and informal meeting areas on every floor, O+A’s design for Yelp stood the usual Silicon Valley tech campus on its head. Yelp’s employees occupy all the floors of their campus—not just the floor on which their workstations are located. The all-embracing design allows every staffer to take ownership wherever he or she gets off the elevator.

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