If you've ever worked in an underwhelming office space, you know what we mean. But in San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood, three men sought to change the workspace landscape of their neighborhood by opening a new shared workspace last month. Built from the ground up by M-Projects and designed by friends Yves Behar and Amir Mortazavi, Canopy strives to support creatives and professionals in the area to thrive in a space they can be proud of.
The boutique workspace has concierge-style amenities, conference rooms, private phone booths, and a sophisticated membership program that accommodates 50. Members are offered three workspace options, all furnished with the latest from Herman Miller: shared tables for casual adopters; a personal desk with lockable storage, privacy, and private bookshelves; or private offices for up to four people. With an impeccable design and first-class amenities, Canopy is the office we'd all love to walk in every morning. Take the tour—it may inspire you to start your own venture.
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Written by Gabrielle Savoie
The idea behind Canopy came to co-founder Amir Mortazavi when he worked from home with a newborn child. "I was searching for an office space a few years ago, as it was neither productive for me to be in my loft at home with a newborn child, nor was it healthy for family life. I began to search for office spaces near my home in residential neighborhoods of San Francisco, away from the core office areas. There were very few options that existed, and none had a design aesthetic that I could be proud of bringing clients to. It was also scary to personally guarantee a lease for a few years when I didn't know if my company would expand beyond the space."
After identifying the need for an elegant communal office space in his neighborhood of Pacific Heights, Mortazavi called on the help of his co-founder, Steve Mohebi. "I figured that there must be other professionals like myself that would appreciate a coworking office community in the neighborhood. Yves Béhar has been a friend of mine and a designer that I admired for nearly two decades. It was a logical fit to have Yves as a co-founder to understand the best utilization of the design elements that he created for Herman Miller and other companies, and to help define the space that these elements would be housed within."
The goal was to create a beautiful office space that would speak to the professionals in the area. "The target demographic for the space is first and foremost someone who lives in the neighborhood or frequents Fillmore Street—where the workspace is located—for services, entertainment, and recreation," explains Mortazavi.
To give the space an elegant feel, Béhar focused on statement pieces and timeless designs. The statement piece? The Joe Colombo Elda Chair. "It's such an innovative statement piece of furniture," says the co-founder. "Even though it is over 40 years old, it feels like it came from the future."
"I would describe the architecture as a formal and sensual minimalism, and the interiors as futuristic, modular, pragmatic and ergonomic," says Mortazavi. "The former creates an ambiance with clean lines; rich, timeless materials; and organic shapes that are tranquil yet at the same time subtly inspiring. The latter represents the comfortable, flexible, and innovative way that we strive to work. Herman Miller, our furniture partner, embodies this combination of style, functionality, innovation, and ergonomics." Don Chadwick's reissued modular couch, for example, features built-in electrical and USB outlets while Alexander Girard's geometric coffee tables can be configured in endless ways.
The space was a total gut job, and no detail was overlooked. "There were probably over 150 tradesmen involved in bringing the space to its current state," explains the co-founder. "It was previously 16 rooms—and now it's one room divided by with steel and glass partitions. The marble columns were milled in Italy to surround the structural posts. We needed to ensure the many bespoke elements were not only finished on time for the opening but that they coordinated to create a seamless look as well."
"We decided to create a minimal color scheme of white and black on the vertical planes and natural wood tones in blond and brown colors on the horizontal planes," explains Mortazavi. "Intermixed within the space are desaturated lilac tones that give a serene sense of warmth and a subtle touch of femininity."
Mortazavi's favorite aspect is the pendulous-shaped skylights that change color throughout the day with the color of the sky. "The oculus changes from cooler blue tones before and after sunset and warm ups with natural whites and cream tones when the sun is low to the horizon. The skylights also are chandeliers as we hung them lower than the ceiling and added a concealed LED strip around them. Additionally, since the chandeliers are made out of high-density foam, they abate noise."
The vintage Stilnovo pendant above the reception desk is a nod to Canopy's logo and serves as the perfect statement piece to welcome newcomers. "Our members work in a diverse array of industries and have varying degrees of experience in their careers," says Mortazavi. "They all appreciate the convenience of working in a boutique-size space that is filled with natural light, with few distractions among a community of accomplished professionals." Nothing is too good for this lucky group of creatives, who now have a workspace to rival the best startups in San Francisco.