To accommodate and keep pace with the Japanese start-up’s rapid expansion in the U.S. market, Mercari enlisted Steinberg Hart to create a flexible workspace for the technology company’s Palo Alto-based team. Creating a sense of presence that also communicates the vibrancy of the quick-paced brand was a key driver in the design of the ground-level space that’s sited in a 1970s low-rise commercial building along bustling Page Mill Road in Palo Alto. Working with the existing infrastructure in the space—including diagonal structural supports found throughout—and a tight timeline, Steinberg Hart minimized demolition to create an office environment as mobile as the client.
The workplace was designed around the large, open lobby that welcomed visitors with a self check-in experience and extends into a centralized hub where collaboration and informal conversations can take place. Supporting and enhancing the company’s workstyle and culture, mobile workstations allow teams the ease to unplug and relocate across the office without interruption to their work. By optimizing the office circulation and space segregation within the existing L-shaped office plan, we were able to meet the client’s required number of office seating while balancing ample public and private collaboration spaces strategically throughout the office.
In addition to open and private workspaces, the tech company also required private rooms to host small and larger groups utilizing the marketplace app for their app development process. One particular space, which features a two-way mirror, is organized around the Hub. The existing kitchen and pantry area were expanded to allow space for daily catered meals, and additional amenities include bike storage, shower facilities, and more.
As the project progressed, the designers saw first-hand how rapidly the tech client was growing. With careful consideration of how the design would impact them, the Steinberg Hart team chose not to tie any permanent objects into the space to allow for sufficient flexibility for the client. The result is a commercial office space that achieves a balance of distinct programmed spaces while blurring the lines between private and open work space.