Curated, experiential office aesthetics are becoming the new norm for tech and media companies, and Instagram’s new NYC headquarters proves to be a worthy contender for the most “on-brand” of them all. Located on the border of the East Village—now largely dominated by NYU and still vaguely saturated with the lingering (albeit diminishing) hue of the punk-rock era—the neighborhood seems rather fitting for the social networking company, which opened their NYC office less than three years ago with only three employees. Now, they’re planning to fill an entire “Instagram-only” floor at 770 Broadway, and will reportedly end the year with 350 employees.
The design sensibility for the space comes from Instagram New York’s culture lead, Kitty Bromhead, and was largely kept in-house. “Our goal was to encapsulate the most distinct features of the Instagram culture, while still maintaining a unique office identity within the New York city landscape,” Bromhead tells Culture Trip.
“This includes the digital greeting wall, which features content from Instagram’s 800+ million global community…and conference rooms inspired by New York City and Instagram-famous themes such as Rainbow Bagel, Rich Dogs of Instagram and #Slime,” she continues. Other highlights include a living green wall, a gradient-splashed wall for photo opps, and a dichroic geometric dome.
The brand’s “community-first philosophy” is reflected in the design aesthetic, particularly in the central atrium area, which will also serve as a site for speaker series, gatherings, and exhibitions. Bromhead and her team included user-generated photographs for this area, and made sure these photos emphasized the New York state of mind. “All [rotating] imagery was curated by community creators featured on @Instagram—from social good to natural history to street and fashion photography,” Bromhead says. “We optimized for photographers based in New York or recently exhibited in New York to unify the NY aesthetic and IGNY identity.”
But with so many ultra-hip office aesthetics and amenities out there, one has to ask: is all this really designed to be used by employees during work hours? The gradient-splashed wall, for instance, was created as a backdrop for #OOTD (Outfit of the Day, in case you’re not privy to the hashtag); but is it just for show? Bromhead says Insta employees are “absolutely” are encouraged to do photoshoots during the day.
“Our goal for the office was to create content at every turn. We designed our creation experiences…to be hyper-visual spaces perfect for capturing and sharing photos and videos.” The dichroic geometric dome—an interactive installation with modular, moveable seating—also encourages a bit of play: “Similar to the Living Green Wall and Gradient Wall, the Dome is a dedicated creation experience for employees and office visitors alike to capture and share photos and videos,” Bromhead continues.
And when it comes to the arguably most important feature in any office space—the snacks—it seems Instagram employees will also be getting insta-worthy treats. Inspired by 1930s Cuban-Miami aesthetic, their new gold-gilded juice and gelato bar called the “Frozen Palm” will include 18 different juices and smoothies with names inspired by IG’s now-famous filters, like X-Pro II and Gingham.
For other offices looking to strike the right balance between functionality, play, and on-brand amenities, they could definitely take a few cues from Instagram’s new NYC headquarters.
Want to check out more Insta-worthy work spaces in New York City? Here’s a look at Gensler’s stunning office design for Edrington, aka the company behind some of your favorite boozy brands.