Since its inception in 1999, the spunkily named online retailer Zazzle has created an international community of DIYers. Users can create custom T-shirts, posters, greeting cards, and other products with their own art and photos. They can then set up shop to sell their wares, which range from Taco Cat Shirts to Kraken-plastered iPhone cases to Little Floral Fawn Watches and beyond.
When creating Zazzle’s new 90,000-square-foot headquarters in Redwood City, California, Studio O+A designed with the company’s DIY, hand-crafted aesthetic in mind. “We wanted to represent what the future of Zazzle could be about,” Studio O+A’s Denise Cherry tells Co.Design. “They take pride in the idea of customization and supporting a maker culture, believing that mass production is a thing of the past. So we wanted to do a lot of things that honored craft.” The San Francisco-based Studio O+A is the go-to design firm for interior makeovers across Silicon Valley -- they’ve created gorgeous dot-com palaces with game rooms galore for Facebook, Yelp, PayPal, and AOL, among others.
Now, they’ve bedazzled Zazzle. There’s custom wallpaper featuring drawings of tiny Zazzle worker bees crafting away, hand-screened by Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper. Ceramic tiling is blessed by a holy trinity of handcrafting: it’s hand-fired, hand-glazed, and hand-sanded. For the wood planks that encase the central elevators, designers used an ancient Japanese technique to burn oak planks black and alternate those with unburned hickory planks, creating a lovely geometric pattern. Floral ottomans, wild wallpaper, and splashes of lime green and electric blue are made all the more vibrant by the natural light that pours in from floor-to-ceiling windows.
The goal of the design is to “express Zazzle’s belief in the promise of a vibrant maker subculture, a community of inventors and creators who are combining the efficiencies of modern technology with the elegance of handmade arts and crafts,” Cherry says.
“When we first met the clients at Zazzle, they were working in a cubicle layout with offices on the perimeter," Studio O+A’s Primo Orpilla tells Co.Design. "Our plan puts a lot of conferencing in the core, and we got rid of the cubicle walls, which allows for better views and more natural light.” The design caters to a variety of working styles, offering standing tables, lounges, and phone booth-sized rooms for head-down focus. And for Zazzle's weekly card night, Studio O+A created a roundtable fit for King Arthur. "The clients were intimately involved in the design process. The level of care and thought they put into it was like they were remaking their own homes," Orpilla says.
Most strikingly, the new headquarters is home to a pair of vintage London telephone booths in red cast-iron, complete with working antique telephones. “They’re the only two in the western hemisphere,” Cherry claims. Originally designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in 1926, each weighs 3,000 pounds and was hauled through Zazzle’s window by a devoted team of construction workers. How many Zazzle employees will fake trips to London by Instagramming themselves in these iconic booths? We’re onto you.[Photos by Jasper Sanidad]