Fennie + Mehl Architects
Forerunner Ventures has put itself squarely at the intersection of insight and foresight, helping discover and invest in the teams who use innovation to solve unique consumer-focused problems. Known for their discerning eye and high level of taste over the past decade, Forerunner wanted a sophisticated and welcoming space that reflects their own built-to-last attitude and inspires every entrepreneur lucky enough to pitch them.
With 8,500 sq. ft. of top-floor space within George Lucas’s Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco’s Presidio as the canvas, FENNIE+MEHL created an aspirational and stylish home base befitting of the magnetic and powerful Forerunner team.
F+M built intrigue starting outside the front door, with repeating vertical slats that allow for just a peek into the beautiful main lounge of the office. Entering through a deliberately darkened passage with the black-on-black company logo as a guide, one then emerges into the naturally lit and airy main room, the site of the Collaboration Café and lounge with its dramatic 14’ coffered ceilings.
The elegant new coffers in the ceiling draw the eye upward and are a nod to timeless and historic San Francisco home design. But instead of traditional heavy and expensive millwork, FENNIE+MEHL used lightweight gypsum board and stretched fabric to ingeniously create coffers that are 75-85 percent more acoustically absorptive yet visually indistinguishable.
Throughout the space, the design balances classical and timeless forms and features with contemporary accents. Wood and marble complement pops of jewel tones. The arched doorway off the main boardroom is the moody entrance to the Green Room, a paneled and coveted quiet space for private discussions. Deeper into the office space, where private offices and communal workspaces are sited, F+M exposed the 25’ high open office volume with a long skylight running through the bare pitched ceiling. There is not a single suspended light fixture or even visible light fixture in sight, yet the room is beautifully lit with hidden indirect fixtures throughout.
Forerunner’s disciplined and design-conscious team wanted workspaces that felt elevated and an environment that makes everyone feel special. To that end, local fabricators customized every office desk. Vintage rugs and fine artwork finish the look. For a company always in search of the next innovation to champion, F+M’s design encourages everyone at Forerunner to continually look up.