Outdoor Voices’ New Office Will Make You Want to Work There
It even has a designated nap area.
Updated Nov 19, 2018 3:04 PM
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When a company can make activewear look fashionable, it should really come as no surprise that its offices are equally stylish. Such is the case with Outdoor Voices, founded in 2013 byTyler Haney
. Making a name for itself by creating chic athleisure pieces that are actually functional, the brand has left behind its tiny loft in Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood for bigger—and ever-expanding—headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Designed by the team at McGuire Moorman Hospitality, the new office is full of natural materials and pops of Outdoor Voices’ signature bright blue. Several large cork walls allow for spontaneous brainstorms and mood boards, and a custom-built lounge area is great for holding informal meetings. That open floor plan, intentionally created to foster community and collaboration, gives off a relaxed vibe that is further cemented by the Sonos speaker system (which various team members take turns DJing on) and the custom fully-cushioned bench ideal for taking naps or stretching out on.
Of course, more traditional office elements were not forgotten. The office has several conference rooms—each named after a national park—and a separate studio area where the designs come to life.
And while all that is already impressive, the actual office portion is only a small part of the new HQ. A large parking lot doubles as a basketball court and frisbee area where the team can take a break and get some midday exercise in—it is a fitness brand, after all. Across the street, a smaller building that will eventually house more staff for the fast-growing company currently serves as the backdrop for weekly team yoga classes.
We spoke to Haney and Will Fox, the design director at McGuire Moorman Hospitality, to learn more about the new office.
What was your style inspiration for the space?
Will Fox: We pulled inspiration from a bunch of sources, but above all else wanted the space to feel comfortable and residential. We installed a full working kitchen—with a fridge, dishwasher, and ice machine—along with area rugs, potted plants, and Noguchi hanging lamps.
Most of the materials we used are industrial, but while functionality is top priority we also wanted everything to feel playful. Custom seating areas double as shelving and storage; closets also serve as space dividers and giant mood boards for visual planning.
Was there anything super high on the team’s wishlist you made sure to prioritize in the design?
Tyler Haney: We have a weekly all-hands meeting called The Smile, so it was important to have an open space big enough to fit everyone, with a TV so we could connect to the teams in New York, Dallas, Aspen, LA and San Francisco.
We also have a basketball hoop in the parking lot. We get a good round of Knockout going at least once a week and our head of finance is the reigning champ. It helps that he’s 6’4.
With every Outdoor Voices space, whether it’s an office or a retail shop, the goal is to create something that feels playful and allows for creativity. The new HQ is significantly bigger than OV’s previous offices, and the team’s biggest goal was having a space for the entire company to operate within—with a combination of open working space and conference rooms, breakout areas, and lots of cork walls for visual concepting and planning.
Was it important to you to make the office environment so open and collaborative?
Haney: We’re all working towards the same goal. Instead of having departments working in silos, it makes sense to have all the components work together to bring things to life.
How did you work to strike a balance between creating a functional work environment and one that’s still chic and visually striking?
Fox: We balanced subdued, utilitarian shapes and materials with some bright, unexpected elements. Many of the cabinets have colorful ceramic knobs, and we added custom lounge seating upholstered in vintage Knoll fabrics wherever possible. There are nods to playfulness like a hidden smiley face built into the tiled bathroom walls, and vinyls on the conference room doors with the names of different US National Parks.
Can you tell us a bit about how you chose color and materials?
Fox: The foundation of the space consists of plywood cabinets and shelving, polished cement floors, and flat white walls and ceiling beams. From there, most of the textural and colorful elements are accents. We chose really saturated colors — cobalt, teal, marigold, rust — to give the office some vibrancy.
How would you describe the finished decor in a few words?
Fox: Textural, recreational, and airy.
What was the thought process behind creating a more experiential work environment? The new headquarters go above and beyond standard office desks and chairs.
We’re a team of friends who work hard together, and I wanted a space that reflects that—it feels much more creative, casual, and comfortable than a traditional office. The design and merch teams both like mapping out their plans and ideas visually, so we have a lot of cork walls that give them the space to do it. It doubles as a way to involve the whole team in the product and architecture that we’re building out for the future.
Were there any challenges with creating the space?
Fox: It was a fun challenge to maintain the openness of the space while still facilitating ways for people to work productively. We balanced collaborative areas with rooms that are a bit more quiet and isolated, punctuated by spaces to store and archive product.
What’s your favorite part of the finished office?
Haney: We have a network of Sonos speakers in the office and had a giant, impromptu dance party a few weeks into working in the new space. Our Women’s Designer, Alexa, really held down the design area.
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