Workplace Trends Are Well-Represented in This San Francisco Warehouse Overhaul

The ceiling panels are painted orange on one side, gray on the other, to create acoustic control that is also visually interesting. The bleacher seating has side railings that are embellished with a CNC-milled pattern of holes. Padded booths can be moved around the space as desired.   Courtesy Bruce Damonte

The ceiling panels are painted orange on one side, gray on the other, to create acoustic control that is also visually interesting. The bleacher seating has side railings that are embellished with a CNC-milled pattern of holes. Padded booths can be moved around the space as desired.
Courtesy Bruce Damonte

Why hasn’t someone created the equivalent of a cooking show like “Chopped” for architects, where contestants show off their design skills by turning random materials into surprisingly stylish assemblages? A pilot episode might feature San Francisco–based Min Design’s renovation of a warehouse for Cisco Umbrella (formerly OpenDNS). The boutique firm got creative with plywood, acoustic panels, and paint, channeling the fast-and-furious ethos of tech startups. “We wanted to stay in dialogue with the rough concrete warehouse,” says architect E.B. Min, who is one of the relatively rare women leading an architectural practice.

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Min was the cofounder of Min | Day, along with Omaha, Nebraska–based architect Jeffrey Day; together, they were named one of the Architectural League of New York’s Emerging Voices in 2016. The San Francisco office, led by Min, was responsible for designing the 56,000-square-foot Cisco Umbrella workspace for 350 staffers, including its most recent 28,000-square-foot expansion. (In the time since the expansion was completed, Min and Day amicably parted ways and now run separate practices.)