Custom oak banquettes, Brendan Ravenhill sconces, and Sage Meditation cushions furnish the meditation room at Faire, a tech startup that connects makers with retailers.
Custom oak banquettes, Brendan Ravenhill sconces, and Sage Meditation cushions furnish the meditation room at Faire, a tech startup that connects makers with retailers.

Studio Plow Designs a Meditative Startup HQ in San Francisco

Born in rural Oklahoma, and a graduate of Kansas State University, Brit Epperson’s Midwest roots run deep. But the architect is now based in San Francisco, which is where she founded Studio Plow, the firm name an homage to her heritage, five years ago. Her small team has been busy during the pandemic, including, perhaps surprisingly, with workplace projects, namely the 70,000-square-foot, three-story headquarters for Faire.

The office marks Plow’s second go-around for the digital platform, which connects makers with local and global retailers. The earlier project, completed in early 2019, “was a Craigslist special—a vanilla shell for a maximum capacity of 126,” Epperson recalls. Fast forward less than a year. The Faire office 2.0, prompted by “massive employee growth,” is the antithesis, thanks to the site, Epperson’s response to it, and her client’s vision toward a collegial change in how people work.

A corner lounge shows off the 1910 former warehouse’s extensive windows, their wood frames repainted, and offers alternative work space.
A corner lounge shows off the 1910 former warehouse’s extensive windows, their wood frames repainted, and offers alternative work space.

Faire now occupies a 1910 brick-and-timber former warehouse. After the architect of record addressed the necessary seismic and infrastructure upgrades, Epperson embraced the building’s rich, architectural history with the maxim: “Let’s lean into it.” Work spaces, mostly benching configurations, span the three levels. Nothing is crowded: Epperson made sure to limit neighborhoods to 25 employees and intersperse them with amenities. Lounges, a total of 22 throughout, are rife with seating options, beckoning as alternative work zones. Ad-hoc meeting areas can be cordoned off with textile partitions. Dozens of conference rooms plus a boardroom offer more traditional gathering outlets.

Vegan leather chairs surround the boardroom’s custom table.
Vegan leather chairs surround the boardroom’s custom table.

There are also multiple spots for recharging. The airy commissary, which doubles as the all-hands space, is populated with minimalist white steel picnic benches and pendant globes along with warmer Windsor-style ash chairs and round teak tables. Just past reception, again warm with a sectional sofa upholstered in brassy velvet, is Petit Faire, a French bistro–inspired coffee bar with a white-oak communal table and accessories from Faire wholesale vendors. Pantries, one per floor, are well-stocked, and live interior landscaping by a local LGBTQ-owned business is everywhere. (There’s also a pop-up with rotating Faire merchandise.)

The Douglas fir columns and stair in the commissary/all-hands are original, but the existing concrete floor has been newly sealed.
The Douglas fir columns and stair in the commissary/all-hands are original, but the existing concrete floor has been newly sealed.
Overlooking a velvet sectional and marble table by Norm Architects, reception’s Workstead sconces can be individually controlled.
Overlooking a velvet sectional and marble table by Norm Architects, reception’s Workstead sconces can be individually controlled.
Another lounge features custom curtains and Blu Dot seating.
Another lounge features custom curtains and Blu Dot seating.

But the real recharging happens in the dedicated meditation room, a tidy brick vault that Epperson transformed into a restful aerie with built-in oak benches, plush cream meditation cushions and carpet, and integrated speakers for staff to tune into Headspace or Breethe. Employees started trickling in last April, first at 5 percent, then up to 25 on a reservation basis in June. “We gave them lots of places to gather,” Epperson comments, “but it’s all so open that everything feels safe.” Calming indeed.

The existing scalloped plaster ceiling was painted and a second door installed.
The existing scalloped plaster ceiling was painted and a second door installed in the meditation room.
Flexible partitions throughout help with acoustics and form ad hoc meeting areas, like this one with Afteroom Studio chairs and a custom table.
Flexible partitions throughout help with acoustics and form ad hoc meeting areas, like this one with Afteroom Studio chairs and a custom table.
Reception adjoins a French bistro–inspired staff coffee bar with a custom white-oak communal table.
Reception adjoins a French bistro–inspired staff coffee bar with a custom white-oak communal table.
project Sources: FROM FRONT
Add tag via side panel: sconces (meditation room)
to market: carpet
sage meditation: cushions
Bentley Mills: carpet (lounges, conference room)
rh contract: coffee tables
urban outfitters: chairs (corner lounge)
West Elm: side table
eq3: sofa (corner lounge), rug (lounge), chairs (commissary)
armadillo: rugs (corner lounge, reception)
workstead: sconces (reception)
menu: sofa, table (reception), pendant fixtures (coffee bar), chairs (meeting area)
Blu Dot: sofas (lounge)
triple seven home: sconces (coffee bar)
ann sacks: floor tile
ceasarstone: bar top
skagerak: stools
klein agency: custom tables (coffee bar, meeting area)
alcon lighting: pendant globes (commissary)
muuto: white benches, tables
kave home: round tables
designtex: curtain fabric (boardroom)
hpl contract: custom table
laura furniture: chairs
molo: partition (meeting area)
project sources Throughout
carnegie: curtain fabric
through minton door company: doors
mission glass: windows, storefront
benjamin moore & co.: paint
wac lighting: leds
huntsman architectural group: architect of record
murphy burr curry: structural engineer
plant fairies: interior landscaping
commercial casework: woodwork
nova partners: project management
bcci construction: general contractor

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