Blitz’s Disruptive Design Process Hailed by World-Renowned Companies

California Architecture and Design Firm Creates Human-Centered Workplaces


Blitz delivers environments that embody their client’s brand, company culture, and visual identity. Top (L-R): Google Cloud (Photo: Image Center Architectural Photography) and Malwarebytes (Photo: Bruce Damonte). Bottom (L-R): Twilio (Photo: Jasper Sanidad) and Northland Controls (Photo: Bruce Damonte). Click here for high-resolution images.

The word “blitz,” meaning an energetic and concerted effort on a specific task, represents the spirited, award-winning architecture and design firm that bears this name. Blitz intensely focuses on process and client involvement to disrupt the status quo of how commercial environments are designed and delivered. The California practice, with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, helps clients develop environments that embody their brand, company culture, and visual identity. It’s through this lens that Blitz has collaborated with some of the most innovative and industry-changing organizations in the world: Autodesk, BNY Mellon, Comcast, Credit Karma, Dropbox, Fitbit, Google, Levi’s, Method, Microsoft, Publicis Groupe, Reddit, Skype, Square, UC Berkeley, Yahoo, Zendesk, Zillow, and many others.

Blitz’s structure is more reflective of the multi-disciplined practice’s groundbreaking clients than it is of a traditional architecture firm. The firm relies on agile methodologies, open communication, measurable metrics, and a flat organization to get results. One of its guiding principles is the belief that spaces inhabited by individuals and organizations have an impact on the quality of their lives.

“We approach a design commission with empathy for the people who will actually use the space,” says Melissa Hanley, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, co-founder, principal, and CEO of Blitz. “Thinking about people before we think about the aesthetic statement is inherent to our process, and, ultimately, leads to a more authentic and beautiful result.”

Rather than apply a signature style, Blitz’s designers reach deep into their clients’ culture to develop individualized, effective solutions. It’s a process that balances the creation of architectural spaces specifically crafted around a client’s culture with data-driven organizational strategies rooted in research. This exploration spans the gamut, from understanding a client’s business to investigating a building material’s full potential to unearth important aspects of a project.

“Though we have design tendencies throughout our work—such as creating buildings within buildings to separate shared spaces—they are treated individually and authentically,” notes Seth Hanley, AIA, LEED AP, co-founder and principal of Blitz. “We don’t really have a style, but we have an attitude.”

Although Blitz’s roots and workplace expertise is best known within the technology sector, clients within other industries—service firms, educational institutions, and medical and bio-tech companies—have sought out the designers to challenge these historically traditional sectors to think differently about their spaces and work habits. In this way, Blitz embarks on many roles, from designer to advisor, in order to guide organizations toward solutions that support their people, reflect their culture, and boost the bottom line.

In the past nine years, the firm has transformed nearly 4,000,000 square feet of workspace, including whole buildings, complex technology campuses, and multiple offices across the globe. From 2016 to 2018, Blitz has completed 124 workplace projects; below is a sampling of designs by the 20-person firm.

Microsoft’s Office Expansion Provides Flexible Spaces to Accommodate Different Work Typologies
The Microsoft 1355 Market Street Expansion in San Francisco celebrates the company’s guiding design principles with a specific focus on tactile experiences and moments of exploration and discovery. The flexible, adaptable office space offers lounges to accommodate three separate work typologies, while utilizing vibrant colors, textural fabrics, and graphic wall coverings to identify each area.

Google Cloud Campus Offers 37 New Spaces to Inspire Innovation and Collaboration
Thirty-seven new collaborative spaces across the Google Cloud campus in Sunnyvale, CA, create central hubs for innovation and cross-departmental collaboration. The “Tech Corners” lounges increase visual connections between open workstations, provide access to daylight, and afford unrestricted views across floors to
foster teamwork.

Google YouTube’s Workspace Breaks Visual Barriers to Offer Collaboration Zones and Natural Light
The workplace design for Google YouTube in Mountain View, CA, provides clear visibility across floors and integrates the existing courtyard’s natural lighting throughout spaces. Collaboration zones feature a variety of seating arrangements and lounge options, while rounded corners wrap interior walls to accentuate corridor views, improve circulation paths, and provide wayfinding mechanisms.

Hyper-Collaborative Activity-Based Workplace Strategy Enables Employees to Work Anywhere
Publicis Groupe’s new West Coast headquarters in San Francisco features a hyper-collaborative activity-based workplace, empowering employees to work anywhere to be more effective and engaged. Community is created through shared spaces and amenities that encourage the cross-pollination of ideas between, and within, all company brands.

Office Renovation Supports Culturally Dynamic Workspace—Plus, Company’s Love of “Star Wars”
Malwarebytes’ dynamic open office setting in Santa Clara, CA, features team “neighborhoods” and an amenity-driven environment. Interiors showcase dark hues and materials to create a galactic universe and playfully reference the company’s devotion to the iconic sci-fi film Star Wars.

Workplace Design Strategy Embraces “Simplicity by Subtraction” to Reflect Twilio’s Culture and Brand Ethos
Twilio’s San Francisco headquarters uses standard construction materials to reflect the company’s humble culture and brand ethos. By embracing the idea of “simplicity by subtraction,” the designers develop a simple, yet efficient environment, using unconventional materials to create an office composed of clean lines, exposed ceiling components, and custom elements.

High Level of Building Sustainability and Wellness Intended for California Construction Firm
Targeting LEED Gold and WELL Building certifications for Webcor’s San Francisco corporate headquarters, the design supports the construction giant’s culture, craftsmanship, and commitment to sustainable building practices. The redesign and expansion provides an additional 2,800 square feet to the existing office space to offer a new reception area, open and private offices, all-hands space, pantries, and conference rooms in a total of 18,200 square feet.

Office Design Inspires Interaction to Increase Productivity and Inclusiveness
SciFi VC’s new San Francisco office features a cohesive design language highlighting the company’s vision of the technological future. The workplace provides an interactive space that supports a high level of productivity and inclusiveness, while also bringing a soft, residential quality, and seamless flow between various areas.

Workplace Design Exemplifies Company’s Culture of “Optimistic Seriousness”
Audentes Therapeutics’ office in San Francisco supports the company’s mission of discovering gene therapy treatments, while emulating a culture of energy and positivity. Rather than welcome guests in a traditional corporate or medical setting, the office represents the “optimistic seriousness” of the workplace with a comfortable environment featuring natural materials and bright colors.

Collaborative Workspace Allows Acoustic Sensitivity for Global Security Company
Northland Controls’ office headquarters in Milpitas, CA, provides the global security company a modern and sophisticated space for its vibrant culture and brand. The open floor plan visually connects the various departments and supports a collaborative, yet acoustically sensitive, environment featuring exposed existing steel and wood structural elements.

Office Design Provides “Journey of Discovery” With All Roads Leading to Colorful LED Staircase
Upgrade’s new office headquarters in San Francisco centers around a “journey of discovery,” allowing users to navigate the office along circuitous paths while engaging with the financial technology company’s brand and message. A signature staircase made of semi-translucent resin fins back lit with color-changing LED lights highlights the space, while custom-designed furniture and lounge seating provide comfortable meeting areas.

Chinese Product Developer/Distributor Hires Blitz to Implement Silicon Valley Workplace Strategies
Fourstar Group’s headquarters in Shenzhen, China, uses workplace strategies taken from San Francisco and Silicon Valley start-ups, such as open collaborative zones and a myriad of amenity-rich resources. Vibrant colors, visual connectivity, and social spaces help shape a fluid and open workplace environment that reinforces a culture of collaboration.

Blitz Transforms Common Building Lobby Into Vibrant User Amenity
The 100 California Street lobby renovation for Pembroke Real Estate in San Francisco transforms the traditional “waiting area” into an active destination for working and meeting. The design features an update of lobby aesthetics, a new concierge area, several flexible workspaces, and a new End-of-Trip center in the
building’s basement.

People-Centered Design Improves Exterior and Interior Building Connections
The renovation of two office buildings for Westport Capital Partners—5000 and 7000 Marina Boulevard—transforms the Marina Landing in Brisbane, CA, into a sought-after creative office campus. The people-centered design improves efficiencies and visual connections between exterior and interior spaces through the use of similar color palettes, textured materials, metal panel systems, and shared amenities.

By applying a human-centered design approach across various scales and typologies, Blitz brings the personality, culture, and values of each client to life in physical form. As an award-winning full-service architecture and design firm, Blitz specializes in creating fresh and innovative environments that disrupt the status quo. Founded in 2009 by Melissa Hanley, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP, and Seth Hanley, AIA, LEED AP, the firm offers a variety of design solutions, including architecture, interior design, graphics, and branding, for a range of typologies that comprises workplace, hospitality, retail, and education. To heighten the human experience, Blitz engages in an investigative process that includes immersive observation to understand clients’ needs, while using technology to optimize the design delivery process. The firm operates from offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and works with clients throughout the US, Europe, Australia, and Asia.