Presented by: LoopNet
Featuring: Jennifer Walton, Principal/Corporate Studio Director
SAP’s Shared Workspace Draws Inspiration From Maritime Location
Coworking spaces all over have different design twists to make them alluring to potential clients.
With help from Newport Beach, California, architectural firm H. Hendy Associates, German software maker SAP has put its own spin on the concept by creating what may be best described as “yacht-in” coworking office space.
In April, the company opened the second California location for its HanaHaus coworking concept on the bay in Newport Beach. If so inclined, you could pull your boat up to the dock and walk into a 65-year-old former bank building for desk time and coffee.
In designing the space, Hendy drew inspiration from the building’s past as well as the maritime location to create a collaborative environment for entrepreneurs, technology professionals and venture capitalists.
“They look for unique space” when finding locations for HanaHaus, said Jennifer Walton, a Hendy principal and project director.
When SAP launched HanaHaus four years ago, for example, it converted a 92-year-old former theater in Palo Alto into coworking space.
The company’s second location is something of an architectural wonder. Newport Balboa Savings and Loan Association constructed the building in 1954 along the waterfront and docks at a time when banks were seeking to move away from the staid, classical design of previous decades.
They became more modern and futuristic in line with the growing architectural shift dubbed Googie, a style born out of the design of a Hollywood coffee shopped called Googie’s.
In his book “Googie Redux: Ultamodern Roadside Architecture,” California architectural historian and critic Alan Hess described the Newport Beach building as “something like a yacht in full sail.”
Peruvian-born architect W.A. Sarmiento designed the building along with many other banks around the country. Perhaps his most famous is the 19-story Phoenix Financial Center in the Arizona capital with an exterior that still looks like a computer punch card from the early days of the technology.
Over the decades, many of Sarmiento’s design elements, such as a winding staircase, were stripped out of the Newport building.
Hendy used old photos for inspiration in designing the new space to invoke the feel of a cabin by the ocean.
They added a back deck and a front patio. They also repurposed two existing fireplaces. A new curving staircase, which was inspired by the original, swoops down to one of the gathering areas near a large fireplace with an Eleanor Roosevelt quote: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
“We wanted to keep the history and integrity of the old structure” while bringing new elements, Walton said.
The result is a mix of perfect and imperfect elements. Oak wood details, which almost give the feel of sailboat decking, abut raw concrete. Wood slats on the ceiling evoke the flow of water, as does some of the floor covering.
“Innovation isn’t always perfect,” Walton said. “If it’s all perfect, people may feel uncomfortable making a mistake.”
A lot of sit-stand desks exist in the space, a function of SAP’s interest in fostering health and wellness, Walton said.
All of the interior walls are movable to create different spaces as needed, such as an executive office for when Hasso Plattner, a co-founder in SAP and creator of HanaHaus, visits. Otherwise, it’s open for everyone to use while sitting in chairs designed by French architect and designer Jean-Marie Massaud.
Hendy also repurposed the old bank vaults. One is in a conference room area as more of decoration. With another, they took the vault door and turned it on its side to create a tall table for folks to enjoy their coffee.
The cafe isn’t part of the HanaHaus membership. It’s an actual Blue Bottle Coffee shop that serves anyone who comes in. Blue Bottle is in the Palo Alto HanaHaus as well.
Walton said SAP figured out that 14% of the people visiting HanaHaus showed up for the coffee. The result is table space people can use at no charge.
“SAP definitely wanted to make the space accessible to all,” Walton said.
That could mean sitting on the back deck and simply relaxing with some coffee or doing some work with the bay and boats in view.
While many coworking spaces have pingpong or foosball, HanaHaus in Newport has a boat. Though not a yacht, SAP’s Duffy electric boat, which is popular in the Newport Harbor, takes people out for creative thinking on the water.