- Zara Sheikh
Palo Alto’s iconic Varsity Theater, built in 1920, started off as a movie theater and years later was converted into Borders Bookstore until the company shut down, leaving it empty for a few years. German company, SAP, with a large Silicon Valley office, took the opportunity to turn the unique building back into a space that would become a hub for creative activity.
The walk down University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto is filled with a variety of restaurants and is always alive with activity. In the heart of the main street, The Varsity Theater cannot be missed with its traditional 1920s theater architecture. The entryway courtyard area is lined with tables and chairs occupied by students, Silicon Valley employees and visitors alike. Through the courtyard is a set of doors where you are immediately greeted by the smell of coffee, the sounds of people talking and typing away on their laptops and the sight of a beautifully redone interior.
With intricate floor tiles, urban chairs, chic light fixtures and a vibrant mural piece, the building feels like a comfortable workspace for many to enjoy. The Oakland-based coffee company, Blue Bottle, has set up shop right at the entrance to the building, providing the buzz for the hard workers and socializers that come to HanaHaus.
There are three sections of the building; the outer courtyard, the open seating coffee area and the actual HanaHaus work space area, which requires reservations. They allow groups and individuals to reserve a space for an allotted amount of time to work on projects, brainstorm, hold conferences and facilitate meetings. HanaHaus also holds events such as design thinking workshops, speakers, showcases and live entertainment.
Being in the heart of the Silicon Valley, HanaHaus is a very central place for teams to come together and work in a space that allows creativity to thrive. Innovation is a core concept within SAP, the company that facilitated the creation of HanaHaus, which was brought to reality by one of the co-founders of SAP, Dr. Hasso Plattner. The public café, in essence, gives you a true Silicon Valley feeling. With people working alone or together, creating, innovating and socializing, it is a hub for the technological greatness that has made the Silicon Valley an icon all over the world.