Interior Design
Environmental Graphic Design
Workplace Strategy
Building Repositioning
8VC, Fennie+Mehl


2021 Honor Awards Winner | 2020 San Francisco Design Week Award Winner

Venture capital firm 8VC is on a mission to fuel transformative ideas that can help fix the world. It invests in archaic, inefficient institutions (think government and healthcare), and brings them into the 21st century through technological innovation.  Not surprisingly, 8VC fell for Pier 5, a surviving 1916 structure within a historic district on San Francisco’s waterfront.  It had incredible views and potential, but the dilapidated interior was a dark, compartmentalized maze.

FENNIE+MEHL re-envisioned the 10,897 SF space as a physical manifestation of 8VC’s mission:  transforming inefficient structures into a new existence. By blurring where the “old” ends and the “new” begins, F+M delivered a completely customized oasis for 8VC’s tight-knit team.

Removing massive ill-placed sheer walls exposed the entire floor plate to natural light and stunning water views. Necessary steel moment frames were installed between high tides, within four feet of headroom, over water. The resulting magnificent and innovative welcome feeling throughout the space is more akin to a jewel-box hotel, with a lively multi-use bar/lounge replacing the expected concept of a reception desk.

The first and mezzanine floors support collaboration and an ever-changing workflow. Because 8VC enjoys provocative thinking, the space features urban art of today (Banksy originals) alongside cozy vintage-style custom furniture. Original wood beams and exposed railroad track celebrate the past. Runners made from vintage Iranian rugs provide warmth to the original staircase that was stripped down to its more modern essence. A glass front replaced a solid garage door on the highly trafficked Embarcadero, inviting the world to see inside. Private glass-enclosed offices adorn the top floor. A custom three-story light fixture at the center of the main stair ties all three floors together visually.

Now Pier 5, part of San Francisco’s original port identity, is a shining example of how a preservationist philosophy can comingle with the excitement of what’s next – exactly the legacy that 8VC so carefully invests in.

F+M carefully removed decades of insensitive and haphazard upgrades to return this historic structure to its original state. Then they created a modern, groundbreaking 21st century interior space that enhances the way our team works together.

Brett Cummings, Former Chief Financial Officer

Photography: Casey Dunn
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