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2020 | San Mateo, California United States
Guided by values.
DWA believes that designing smart integrated spaces will bring out the best in their clients. Guidewire is an excellent example of this principle in action. Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, Guidewire develops niche software solutions for primary insurance providers. Founded in 2001, its leaders have quickly grown the company to serve 350 businesses in 30 countries across the world. In addition to its 10 satellite offices in the US, Canada and Brazil, the rapidly expanding team was ready for a new global headquarters in San Mateo, California—one that would support the wellness and productivity of each employee and respect the planet’s finite resources.
To celebrate Guidewire’s rich heritage of hard work and determination, lead architect David Whitney of DWA worked with the company’s marketing department to tell that story throughout the building’s interior. Artists were hired to translate key points in the organization’s history onto concrete feature walls—an element that unites the team around shared successes.
According to Priscilla Hung, Guidewire’s COO, the primary concept for the architectural and interior design of the space was to “bring nature in” and provide a safe space where employees can collaborate, have fun and feel good. All personal work stations were intentionally positioned along vast rows of windows to take full advantage of the expansive panorama and natural light coming from every side of the building. Each station boasts a sit/stand desk to give people options and flexibility, but the options don’t end there. Zen rooms offer a place to meditate, game rooms provide playful escape, and a buzzing café is a central hub for energy and cross-pollination. “Everybody from all the different teams gets together there, so it’s working. Having those opportunities in the common spaces is part of the office culture,” said Whitney. The team is also reminded of the value of collaboration every time they look up to the ceiling. All the mechanics that keep the building functioning have been left exposed by design—emphasizing the importance of intersecting with one another.
Reducing Planet Impact
Another key focus of the project was choosing that would promote employee wellness and reduce the building’s impact on the environment. “Our philosophy is zero waste,” said Priscilla. In the café, the team removed single serving snacks, cans and bottles, plastic utensils and paper serving products, and replaced them with bulk serving containers, china and silverware. “We’re hopeful to spend every day giving back to the environment and not creating more waste.” Tarkett fully shares these sentiments, which is why our global organization is transitioning from a linear to a business model.
Guidewire’s commitment to zero waste also helped the design team select Tarkett’s ethos® Modular with Omnicoat Technology™ to soften acoustics and create islands in key areas. This non-PVC modular backing is made with PVB film from recycled windshields and safety glass. From 2004 to 2018, Tarkett reused close to 23,500 tons of PVB film from 22.8 million windshields, keeping this material out of landfills. When Guidewire is ready for a design update, their 11,000 square yards of ethos can be diverted from landfill and recycled again through Tarkett’s ReStart® reclamation program. On top of that, based on conservation improvements we’ve made to our manufacturing processes since 2010, those 11,000 square yards of carpet are saving the planet more than 44,000 gallons of water usage. To put this in perspective, according to the EPA, the average American family of four uses 352 gallons of water per day at home, so Guidewire’s project essentially provided a family’s water for three months. Tarkett’s Dynex SD yarn also saves water over the life of the floor. Its superior stain protection is built into the chemical makeup of the fiber, so it’s easily maintained with less water and no chemicals—protecting natural resources and contributing to better indoor air quality.
For areas where a hard flooring surface was needed,the design team also chose Tarkett’s Collections Infinies LVT where a hard surface was needed. In the game room, Suzanne Tick’s Broadcloth design (Color: Cutch) was installed to continue an industrial, but playful feel. All Tarkett LVT is 100% phthalate-free, so it fits easily with the team’s requirements for healthy materials. Our also ensures this product can safely be recycled into new flooring when Guidewire is ready to replace it.
Guidewire’s new global headquarters is a striking example of how successful a workplace design can be when we consider the needs of individual employees, collaborative groups and social consciousness.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, Tarkett helps a tech company meet its goals for healthy spaces and zero waste.
David Whiteney, DWA