As of late, I have been working with Monitise Create (a digital agency focused on mobile app development). We are a team of 150 across London and San Francisco. I am currently leading and building out their creative and UX team in San Francisco. As a company, we are best known for building the FIFA app for the World Cup.
As part of my duties, I was tasked with helping to design our brand new office in downtown San Francisco. We took over the entire 9th Floor of One Embarcadero and our 360 degree view gives us an exceptional view of the city. I had the great pleasure of working with our architect and leadership team designing the office to maximize space for 150+ people and still create an open floor plan that allows for creativity to flow.
From signing the lease, we designed and opened the office in under 10 weeks, not bad when you have to remodel an entire suite.
I personally got into designing software products as I always loved building architecture and it translated well over to software design, just in a soft form. Have you ever walked into a building and thought to yourself, why is this door here? Or, that window there makes no sense? That is how I feel about software and made the decision to build great user experiences in the digital sense. After helping design our new office, I have come full circle from software to the physical space. Designing a new office is a lot like building a software product, there are a lot of stakeholders, moving parts, design decisions to be made, and tons of people you have to coordinate with to make it all come together. Additionally, you must be good at project management because unlike software which can change quickly, building out an office suite doesn’t allow you to just knock out a wall and expect everything will be ok.
Here are a couple of great ways that we were able to make our new home more inviting for our team, customers, and guests.
We commissioned a great designer named Ferran, from Wall & Wall, to design our elevator lobby. Being an international company, we wanted a welcome point that was warm and friendly. Additionally, we got everyone a personal doorman to greet them when they leave! Lastly, we wanted people smiling when they leave, so we put up a positive saying so they carry on their day with a positive image of Monitise.
Once you come through the front doors, our entry wall had to make a big impact. With the help of Nico our awesome painter, we created a kaleidoscope effect for the background with the underlying theme of “money” to represent Monitise’s core business. We then commissioned a Lego logo that is 6 ft wide by 2 ft tall. This amazing logo was created by Sean Kenney.
History of Money:
Since Monitise specializes in moving money in the financial services sector, Nico and I took our main wall which spans 30 feet and created a “History of Money” timeline. We started the journey 10,000 years ago in the barter economy, showed when China invented paper money, how the UK adopted the gold standard, when America invented the credit card, and how we entered the new era of Bitcoin. Our goal with the Money Wall is to give you a quick history of money and teach you something new.
No kitchen is complete without a Keurig and we wanted our kitchen to really pop, so we painted the exterior wall that is about 15 ft wide with a cool 50’s diner theme mixed with a lil bit of modern. Additionally, there is a TV wall that highlights each employee. We highlight what they do at the company, their nickname, if they have one, and three fun facts that they want everyone to know about themselves.
Everyone loves games and what better way to let our employees get in on the action. Our gaming area consists of an Xbox One and a Super Nintendo. Whether you like Halo, Super Mario Brothers, or board games, our game library is stacked.
Department Signs & Name Tags:
With a big team, not everyone knows each other by name and you often wonder where people are. For each department we created a character, his name is Mr. Coin. He is seen throughout the office, just like Mickey at Disneyland. Each department has their own sign so you know where you are. For each employee we took the classic name tag and improved upon it. Each name tag was printed on metal to provide some extra style and class.
No office is complete without conference rooms. We put our room names to a vote and with overwhelming response, 85% of the people voted for SF street names. It beat out concepts such as video game characters, different forms of currency, landmarks, and even superheroes; sorry Spiderman. For our new conference rooms, we designed each room with its own theme based around the room you are in, whether you are in Lombard and its crooked nature, or the Mission room with its cultural heritage, you will always know where you are. Lastly, we also created two rooms for private calls, those were dedicated to Alexander Graham Bell & Thomas Watson, pioneers of the telephone.
Bridging the Gap between San Francisco & London:
Since our company is headquartered in London, we wanted to design something that connected us to our roots but also showed how we are in the heart of technology. With this vision, we created the Bridge, two big walls about 30 ft. in length that reflect our heritage in SF & London and how we are a one family and a global company.
Designing this office was an exceptional ride as it brought together many different people from Finance, HR, Project Management, and the Creative team to collaborate on our new home together.
We look forward to welcoming you to our office, come by, have a coffee, and enjoy the amazing view!