Automattic San Francisco, by Baran Studios

MBA_Back in early June I photographed the offices of, which among other things is the parent company of WordPress, Gravatar, PollDaddy, and Akismet (this is a WordPress blog, in case that matters to you).

I’ve worked with architect Matt Baran (Baran Studio) on many residential projects but this was the first commercial space I’d worked on with him. Matt’s task here was to create a space in this former industrial building located in San Francisco’s SoMA district that could accommodate the usual contingent of maybe 15 or 20 people, but also (at a moment’s notice) swallow, say, a few  hundred coders that might be called in for a special project, or an event. There are less than 200 employees overall, scattered across the globe, but they never know when they’re going to have a short-term blitz of activity.

MBA_-9Matt took cues from the wood trusses of the building’s bow ceilings, added some ironwork and lighting, and then softened the whole space with wood-slat panels that partition off areas, add warmth and color, and function acoustically as well.

MBA_-2The result is a space that feels cavernous, but not cold, and doesn’t echo. Automattic, like many tech companies, has it’s quirks, and ping-pong is certainly one of them. The exact function of the weather balloons was a bit more mysterious, but we sure had a good time moving them around and positioning them where we wanted for each shot!

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We shot until just after midnight and came away with a pretty good set of photos of a very cool project — enjoy!


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5 responses to “Automattic San Francisco, by Baran Studios

  1. Are there hidden audio and video recording devices inside of those big balloons? *grin*

  2. It’s amazing to look at Google Streetview’s capture of the same building’s exterior before the transformation. Love the aesthetic.

  3. Charles Croft

    Scott makes ArchDaily! :

    Lots of great work on that site.

    It’s been a pleasure to watch your constant evolution over the years. Might sound a little creepy, but I’ve been quietly following your work and learning from you since the early days of PFRE. Thanks for that, and congratulations!