This January, workplace-software developer Slack got an office in Lower Manhattan befitting its reputation as a pioneer of free-flowing, unencumbered intra-office communication. New York firm Snøhetta designed a 12,000-square-foot headquarters that encourages spontaneous, fluid communication by using glass partitions instead of opaque dividers and walls to organize the space. The solution allows a gridlike plan of breakout and meetings rooms arranged along a central corridor to feel open and accessible to each other—much like the company’s hallmark messaging software supports the exchange of ideas between coworkers.
Transparent partitions separating six conference rooms (plus one larger executive boardroom) and nine booths are all made from Muraflex tempered glass, which has a sound transmission class of 37 to ensure privacy while still allowing staff to see into rooms. To echo the company’s fun, inclusive culture, architects added colored film—by Decorative Film and 3M—on conference rooms’ glass walls in shapes and hues inspired by the Slack logo.
In addition to reflecting the company culture, glass walls offered a way to retrofit modern circulation into the 1880s building; it’s landmarked, meaning architects had to work within the existing footprint and around original windows and four 20-by-5-foot skylights. While the actual skylights were left untouched, edges of their enclosures were extended and widened to meet a dropped ceiling and allow more natural light to penetrate the space, says Anne-Rachel Schiffmann, senior architect for the firm.
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