[All photos by BUILD LLC]

CreativeLIVE San Francisco is complete, and as with any of our finished projects, we like to do a thorough wrap-up complete with design insight, metrics, and specifications. Fasten your seatbelts and hang on for part 1 of a 3-part series on this project (you can check out part 2 here and part 3 here).

For those of you unfamiliar with creativeLIVE, they’re a live-broadcast, online creative classroom offering free education in photography, business, software, design, video, and film. The concept is advancing on the territory of traditional education and it’s the future of learning. BUILD completed the original creativeLIVE world headquarters in Seattle and joined the growing startup for their debut in San Francisco.


The 10,000+ SF space is located in an industrial brick building in the Potrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, originally constructed in 1927 to house the Western Can Co. Later, in the 1980s, the building was seismically retrofitted and converted to office space. By the time we showed up on site, the building illustrated decades of unfortunate remodels, but the shell maintained its grit and texture — characteristics that we’re always grateful for in a project.


The program centers around two filming studios (the heart and soul of the operation) and includes all of the support programs necessary to host world class lectures and broadcast them around the globe. With the frequency and saturation of startups in the Bay Area, the personality of the facility had to be clear and inspiring. creativeLIVE is a mature environment full of the most knowledgeable experts in the industry, which translated nicely into creating a Startup for Grown-ups. Read more on this design thesis here.


Breaking down the design parameters further, the team came up with the concept of Place, Time and Form which orders the design direction for the individual spaces.


The main floor contains 8,646 square feet of area, most of which opens to the existing exposed roof trusses above. We were big fans of these attenuated steel trusses from the moment we experienced the space, and they continue to provide character and articulation to the interiors. The trusses angle to form a series of saw-tooth clerestory windows at the roof and the entire composition is a wonderfully authentic snapshot of the original building. To keep the acoustics well balanced and chairs rolling, we went with a basic resilient Armstrong carpet square. A total of 78 bamboo and brushed aluminum workstations (68 for sitting and 10 for standing) were custom made by the Special Projects Division cabinet shop in Seattle. One thing we learned from the Seattle headquarters is that you can’t have enough places for people to focus, uninterrupted. Each work station includes two grommets to organize all the data cords and a cubby to perfectly fit a standard two drawer file cabinet. A simple, repeated desk module, designed with a few provisions for the reality of the work day, offer an environment of tidiness and timelessness.


All of the existing windows were maintained at the perimeter of the new space. The steel-framed glass panels offer a gritty character to the space in addition to all of the natural daylight and awesome views of downtown San Francisco. Sheerweave Comfort Screen roller shades  minimize glare and create a nice quality of light inside.


Lining the workrooms is a band of highly functional white boards. What we’ve learned with startups is that there’s never enough space to take notes, draw diagrams and scheme for educational excellence.   In order to tie the whiteboard package together with the workstations, a matching bamboo frame lines the whiteboard panels. A charcoal gray datum band lines each of the spaces and aligns with the whiteboards, flatscreens, door headers and other elements to create visual harmony within the work rooms.


Given the nature of filming and broadcasting, a critical component of this project is acoustical separation and sound deadening. A second datum band (above the whiteboards) circles each room and contains a network of 26,320 square feet of hard-working acoustical insulation, AcoustiCotton supplied by ArchiTextures. The sound absorbent panels are concealed behind a permeable fabric wrap which is then printed with high resolution black & white images of a variety of cities in their accurate locations with regard to the room. The city photos were purchased through Getty Images and Stella Color took care of the printing.


Lighting at the workrooms consists of Lightolier Spectral H-Profile with a direct/indirect lens in metallic for general lighting, Barn Light Electric Warehouse Pendants with red 14” diameter shades and RAB VBR Wall Mount Brackets painted red at the walls.


At the reception area, the lower datum band carries through and becomes an opportunity for flatscreens, the logo, and a green wall -a big thanks to Gaidano & Sons for the tricky painting package. Because the reception is a low light area, our favorite San Francisco based landscape consultant, Gardenista, recommended a composition of low-light moss from Flora Grubb. The composition softens the space up and provides a nice burst of greenery.

The city-screened acoustic band also carries through the reception, eliminating echoes and bringing down the overall volume of excited visitors. The bamboo and brushed aluminum desk by SPD mirrors the aesthetic of the cabinetry at the workrooms, while the Malcolm Sectional Sofas, Stella Chairs and Sprout Coffee Tables provide a low-slung lounge atmosphere. The lighting package at the reception area includes Walmann RL70 Fluorescent tube pendants (or upside down lightsabers as we like to call them) and Barn Light Electric Wesco 16” diameter Cord Hung Pendants in red.


Shout-outs go to the general contractor, Centric, whose diligence, persistence and patience completed the project on time and as specified, the Special Projects Division cabinet shop, who worked their booties off hand building all the cabinets for this job, and our local architect collaborators and good friends Zack | de Vito,


Nothing quite launches a new space like a stellar party and creativeLIVE knocked it out of the park. The completion was celebrated with a room full of Bay Area movers and shakers, great eats and drinks, and an awesome atmosphere. A HUGE thanks to creativeLIVE for such an outstanding entrance into San Francisco.

Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3, and cheers from Team BUILD