When Uber acquired the 11th floor of the building it occupies in San Fancisco, an initial concern was its distance from the company’s executive offices on the fourth floor. Studio O + A deliberated over how people on the 11th floor could feel any sense of community or shared purpose with people seven floors below? O + A’s solution was to acknowledge the split and make an asset of it.
Uber 11 is a space for teams to detach from the mother ship and work independently on special projects. It’s the rebellious cousin of the Uber family, still very much the same genetic makeup, but more openly irreverent. This floor is forever a work in progress – paint in the elevator lobby rises only so high on the wall: drywall in the corridor isn’t painted at all. Exposed ceilings, raw concrete floors – the impact is of something being born, some new configuration formed from classic elements: the quintessential start up.
However, it’s a start up with a sophisticated understanding of work. Uber 11 is a collection of team meeting spaces – each tailored to a specific capacity and each a freestanding mini-ecosystem. These team rooms are equipped with everything necessary to get a job done. They are linked by pockets of the ‘populist luxury’ that is key to Uber’s central mission: A lounge space panelled in blackened Douglas fir, an all-hands table beneath blown glass, a game room, a sumptuous kitchen. Uber’s start up is deliberately unfinished but it features the same warm textures and elevated execution to be found in the office below.
Humour is used throughout the office including a wall made up of taxi receipts; a cheeky jab at the industry that Uber has turned on its head in just five years.