Interior Design
Environmental Graphic Design
Workplace Strategy
Building Repositioning


2023 IIDA Honor Award Winner

Boutique venture capital firm Emergence wanted to combine two Bay Area offices to give their small and intensely focused team a flagship space to seek out, win over, and propel forward the founders and companies they partner with.

Emergence fell for an 8,500 sq. ft. space on the San Francisco waterfront. Having previously designed within the historic Pier 5 building, FENNIE+MEHL was aware of the glorious timbers hidden inside the existing drop ceilings, and the inspirational outcome of opening up the space to let in more light and jaw-dropping views. By partnering these elements with earth tones, organic materials, and a new curved feature staircase, the office has the distinguished quality of an elegant vessel on the Bay.  Now expansive views of the Bay Bridge, Ferry Building, and Treasure Island dominate all levels. 

F+M rotated the placement of the original stair by 90 degrees to open up the first floor space. Depending where one stands, the stair’s metallic rods make the structure seem either transparent or opaque, although the water view from inside the stair always emerges. The dramatic staircase graciously connects the three floors, including the second floor boardroom that seems to float above the Bay. 

Company branding is predominantly displayed, albeit refined. Upon entering the space, an up-lit wall reveals the Emergence “E” logo mirrored and repeated in a handcrafted monochromatic raked plaster. The weathered effect speaks to Emergence’s established years of skillfully navigating their founders’ journeys.

Though the space radiates a warmth and approachable atmosphere that feels more residential than corporate, the environment was tailored to optimize the functions that aren’t possible to duplicate at home. With group decision-making central to Emergence’s organization, there is no office hierarchy. Meaningful and joyous connections happen throughout the main floor flexible lounge, open kitchen, and dining area, and there are plenty of tucked-away private spaces, including a coffee bar and library lounge for focused work and quiet conversations. Flex offices are designed along the second floor to allow both single-use private office functionality and multi-use collaborative meetings. The seamless whole-office integration of Zoom technology – one of Emergence’s primary investments – allows teams not on-site to always be part of the conversation.

The Emergence team is committed to the journey of long-term success. FENNIE+MEHL’s design is the perfect vessel for these trips.  

FENNIE+MEHL helped us realize our vision, bringing the surrounding San Francisco Bay in to make our office a coveted team-gathering destination. Proud to have been able to work with you on this project. You created a space and a cultural “fabric” that should be acclaimed as a model for the future.

Gordon Ritter, Partner & Co-Founder


Photography: Matthew Millman
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