Crowdsourced review site Yelp has a new Chicago office in The Mart, designed by Valerio Dewalt Train, that speaks to its company culture. “At its core, Yelp’s business is fueled by the candid, varied opinions of the masses. These consumer reviews expose and reveal their unvarnished personal experiences of commerce,” says David Jennerjahn, principal at Valerio Dewalt Train. “Yelp’s offices embrace a similar exposed honesty in the design of the workspace.”
To accomplish this feeling, the designers stripped layers of past finishes from the columns and ceilings to reveal the bare structure and left mechanical systems purposely uncovered, “to feature their messy vitality,” Jennerjahn explains. There are new materials too, though, including rough clay tile, timber planks, and bolted steel beams. “It is as if portions of the space were built with materials found beneath the ‘L’ tracks or in some back-of-the-house service area,” he says.
This is the first Chicago office for Yelp, and it was important to the company for it to have a local character. The "L" tracks run right alongside the building, so the fourth floor of the office has an “under the L” theme. Stairs are encased within a steel frame, there’s a grid of wooden panels that abstractly expresses a Chicago map, and the panels line up diagonally toward North Lincoln and North Clybourn Avenues.
Throughout the 50,000-square-foot space, which will house 375 employees, there are red accents reminiscent of Yelp’s logo, community spaces outfitted with images of bridges, and simple, utilitarian rooms meant to reflect Chicago’s industrial style.
“The completed project presents a unique experience for Yelp’s Chicago-based employees,” says Jennerjahn. “The vibrance of the city is reflected in the design of the office space, ensuring a welcoming environment reflective of the growing company.”
Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest