Office Inspiration: How Pinterest’s San Fran Office Encourages Employee Culture

Aglow with natural light and bustling with energetic staff, Pinterest’s four-story San Francisco office was designed with a key purpose in mind: bringing employees together. The building was built in 1911 and previously housed a John Deere tractor factory. It was recently renovated to include a number of unique features inspired by the company’s philosophy of teamwork and collaboration. According to Pinterest’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer, Evan Sharp, “We wanted to set up the right architecture to shape circulation and the qualities of the working environment to reinforce collaborative behavior.”

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Let’s explore some of these avant-garde office features that not only attract the best and brightest to Pinterest, but that also promote inter-connection and cross-departmental mingling—a foolproof recipe for innovation.

A creative space

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Pinterest’s office supports their focus on creativity and DIY projects with a simple, clean aesthetic that encourages #pinployees to add their own creative touches to the walls, ceilings and meeting areas. Plus, it is equipped with an actual workshop area, where employees are encouraged to make use of a wide range of materials and tools. After all, what would a design-focused office be without a space for employees to flex their creative skills?

A centralized collaborative area

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During the building’s renovation, the central atrium was extended to the ground floor to make room for the office’s focal point: an abstract staircase. The sculpture-like stairway is the main point of connection between the four floors, and works as a symbol of the company's dedication to transparency and connectivity.

Flanking the stairs are four tiers of wooden bleachers used as casual seating for employees to connect at while enjoying some downtime. This central space encourages coworkers who don’t normally work together to engage in conversation and share ideas on common ground. According to Iwamotoscott, an architectural firm that worked on the redesign, “The stair’s design and materiality produces the effect of a bright, ever-changing, glowing heart at the center of the company.” In this way, Pinterest is able to silently emphasize that collaboration is at the core of everything they do.

A large “town hall”

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On the ground floor of the building is a large, relaxing social space, known as the "town hall". It is a bright and airy open-concept dining hall that doubles as a location for company-wide meetings. There, Pinterest hosts weekly Q&A sessions that all 500+ employees are invited to attend. Additionally, the fresh food and drinks available in the cafeteria encourages employees to spend lunch breaks together.

On top of all these unique settings, Pinterest’s office also features a TV area, IT lounge and games room, all designed with welcoming atmospheres for people to gather in. This new, diverse office space is proof that with some renovations to common areas and a little rearranging, it is worth the effort to bring employees together in a way that fosters healthy and creative interactions.

Looking for more office redesign insight? Find out how Hootsuite’s offices inspire employees to find balance.

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Photo Credits: Shutterstock / LightField Studios