Before Uber’s brand new headquarters in Mission Bay is completed in 2020, the mobility company required a larger office to house its rapidly growing workforce. Given the project’s expiration date and subsequent low budget, Studio O+A channeled an unfinished aesthetic based on the theme of ‘temporary permanence.’

‘To some extent this is the aesthetic of most tech work environments,’ the architects admit. ‘Given the rapid pace of growth in this sector, any workplace is potentially a stop en route to something bigger five years down the road.’ In this case, the fleetingness of the space was fully explored through a design that looked to bring the transience of the urban environment indoors.

Throughout the office’s 18,580 sq-m, bare concrete walls and floors, as well as graphics-covered surfaces help convey the interior’s makeshift character while satisfying the project’s limited budget. Adding to the cityscape imagery, rough surfaces, unadorned infrastructure and bold illustrations are complemented by an eclectic collection of seating and a selection of sculptural lighting elements.

To complete the lively design, Uber’s competitive reputation – brought on by its constant combatting of rivals in the mobility industry – is hinted at through graphics inspired by the camouflage used in ships during WWII.

This case study was originally featured in The Other Office Three, a book that explores how offices are being designed to adapt to evolving technologies and new methods of working. Purchase your copy here.