Building the High-Tech Workplace

    • Dolby engineers, scientists, and designers work rigorously to optimize, innovate, and uncover how to create cutting-edge technology that makes better audio and imaging experiences. Designing a building in San Francisco’s vibrant Mid-Market neighborhood that would be a home for the mix of nearly 800 techies, creatives, and many others who support Dolby’s work required bold and imaginative thinking.

    • Dolby Designs

      We create product and environmental designs and experiences for consumer, professional, and enterprise audiences.

    • Employees need not only the best tools to be successful but also an environment that allows them to be creative, get inspired, work more effectively, and take pride. Environmental designers carefully considered the design of the building and spaces to promote a way of working to suit the needs of workers today and well into the future.

    • The Magic Inside Dolby

      Get behind-the-scenes insights on innovative research at Dolby.

    • The 16-floor building at the corner of Market and 9th streets follows a stairstep structure, with the smallest floors at the top and larger floors below. It’s intended to promote vertical movement and collaboration—a vertical village where employees can easily move between floors can engage informally in café spaces and open-air terraces, without being tied to scheduled meetings. Open collaboration spaces on every floor are designed to draw individuals away from their desks. Visual and functional variety in these spaces encourages usage by giving the spaces a personality, so they become a place for people to gravitate to. Rather than designing extensive executive conference rooms and traditional meeting rooms, the decision was made to introduce more huddle rooms, encouraging individuals to meet in a more spontaneous way.

    • In an organization with a large mix of employees from engineering, research, finance, and legal, it’s important to design spaces that fit the needs of those who work there, and it’s not one size fits all. For example, collaboration is critical for a design team. Although designers have individual projects, it’s essential that they come together to share ideas. Large, centralized meeting places, working garages, war rooms, and an open studio all help enable this. A favorite example is the team’s “picnic” table, an 18-foot-long wood table that encourages a kind of exchange more reminiscent of a family dinner than a corporate meeting, used as both collaborative workspace and social area. Some of the most innovative ideas are generated from meetings in open areas like this one.

    • Because research and development are core functions at Dolby, the building includes more than 100 state-of-the-art labs for collaboration. Here, employees can use the best tools to conduct research, develop audio and imaging technology, and conduct testing in environments built to exacting specifications.

    • The crown jewel of the space is Dolby Cinema™ at 1275. With a seating capacity of more than 200, the site leverages the technology and design of our commercial cinema. A screening room for employees as well as for the creative and film community, the cinema also serves as a working lab for designers and engineers who work to continuously make the moviegoing experience better.

    • Throughout the building, the walls are filled with art that informs employees and visitors of Dolby’s past and points them toward the future. These curated, original pieces of art were inspired by Dolby with the intent of inspiring all who work here.

      The days of the gimmicky tech startup office space design are over. Designers have to truly understand the needs of the company and employees in order to design and curate a space that will make everyone who sets foot inside successful today and ready to create the breakthroughs of tomorrow.