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PCH in San Francisco: Innovative, Modern (and Even Fun) Office Design

PCH International‘s offices in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco are a knockout. Modern without the chilly hauteur too common too many new offices, fun without being childish, innovative without being flashy, they are the kind of space many dream of working in.

The company is a design-leader, so it makes sense that their workspace is gorgeous, but it’s highly functional as well, which befits a company that produces actual things—prototypes for designers and engineering assistance.

The reception area at PCH is bright and welcoming
The reception area at PCH is bright and welcoming

The building has a long history before PCH took over the space: Built in 1925, the three-story, 30,000 square-foot building was originally home to Berger and Carter Company, an iron, steel and machinery warehouse—then it housed the Hockwald Chemical Co., a soap manufacturer 1940s-60s. Next came the Reed Candy Company in the late 1960s, and then from the 1980s-1990s the Bay Guardian newspaper had its offices there.

A PCH meeting room by night
A PCH meeting room by night

The creative new design was put together by ChrDAUER Architects, who included not only offices and meeting spaces in the building, but also worked in a state-of-the-art prototyping lab and a full engineering bay.

The engineering lab is light-filled and functional
The engineering lab is light-filled and functional

“We provide design engineering and development here at the PCH innovation hub, as well as meet with startups and large brands to help them make products,” says Claudia Ceniceros, VP of Corporate Communications for PCH.

The first thing you see when you enter PCH is this fun stadium-seating area
The first thing you see when you enter PCH is this fun stadium-seating area

“We also host a variety of community events—hackathons, design school senior shows, industry events and panels, etc. here. Hence the open space and stadium seating,” says Ceniceros.

A colorful, fun presentation room at PCH
A colorful, fun presentation room at PCH

The design is energy efficient and sustainable too: It’s been submitted for USGBC LEED Gold Certification.

Even the open-plan desk area at PCH is comfortable and modern
Even the open-plan desk area at PCH is comfortable and modern

It’s clear that worker happiness is a priority at PCH, as the office areas are as thoughtfully designed as the engineering and more public spaces.

The staff kitchen at PCH
The staff kitchen at PCH

The design of spaces maximizes transparency and personal interaction so as to directly illustrate PCH’s multi-faceted operations and capabilities “without dumbing it down,” according to PCH’s founder, Liam Casey. The kitchen is an important crossroads for employees from different parts of the company.

The patio enables workers to enjoy San Francisco's frequent sunny afternoons
The patio enables workers to enjoy San Francisco’s frequent sunny afternoons

The rear deck and plantings have been added so there’s an outdoor area for staff and visitors to enjoy.

A table-tennis table is perfect for work-breaks
A table-tennis table is perfect for work-breaks

“We wanted a very open and transparent environment that would be welcoming and make a statement,” says Ceniceros. Looks like they’ve certainly succeeded in both the former and the latter.

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