Office Envy! Peep Hipstamatic's Beyond-Cool HQ

If there's one thing that'll shake those 9-to-5 blues, it's arriving at a work space so utterly stylish that it makes you want to move in…on the daily. And that is definitely the case with the beyond-amazing SoMa structure that plays home to digital-to-analog photo-tech company, Hipstamatic. After buying the place in 2010 and renovating for about a year, the 13-person-deep team now works in an office that's so utterly cool, you've got to see it to believe it. Hint: exposed brick, soaring walls you can write on, a meeting room that doubles as a gamer's paradise, a roof-deck fire pit, and an in-office Sightglass coffee cafe are all involved. So, what are you waiting for? Start clicking and get ready for a serious case of extreme office envy.
Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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What's the history of this space and how would you describe the aesthetic you've created?
"The building is an unreinforced masonry structure that was originally built to manufacture caskets in 1908," explains Hipstamatic co-founder, Lucas Buick. "Over the past 100-plus years it's had many different lives and has changed with the neighborhood. Now we'd describe it as Industrial chic with a touch of Midwest tavern. Just like our products, we’re all about blending the old with the new."

A look at Hipstamatic's first-floor waiting and lounging area.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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You can write directly on some of the walls in the office. Whose idea was that?
"We do a ton of brainstorming and the white-board wall really helps to organize thoughts," explains Mario Estrada, HIpstamatic's Director of Fun. "We put it in two offices and on a portable framed board downstairs. We also have black magnetic walls in the kitchen and in the conference room you can write directly on the glass dividers."

Wall doodles in the conference-cum-game room on the second floor.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Who designed the space and what direction did you guys give them?
"We worked with the team at envelope A+D. We wanted to design a space that could transform from office to music venue to special-event venue with the ability to also function as a living space, if needed," says Mario. "We also always kept the inherent direction of our brand, the melding of analog and digital, in mind. This, coupled with Lucas and Ryan's desire to maintain elements of their native Wisconsin, shaped the direction of the project."

Hipstamatic's COO Doug Lambert in his transparent office.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Tell us abou this gorgeous meeting space, which we hear doubles as a game room.
"It was designed as a conference room with a media projector for meetings with partners and some of our remote team members," says Lucas. "We added white drop curtains to the dividing glass wall for optional privacy, which also allows the glass wall to double as more white board space (we white board a lot!). But let's be honest, it's most frequently used for video game breaks. You can't beat playing on a 12-foot screen!"

The aforementioned 12-foot screen.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Where did all of your rad furniture and fixtures come from?
"The space has a mix of furniture that ranges from custom-designed and fabricated pieces to vintage items," says Lucas. "We have Staach fabricated desks for the private offices and conference rooms. A local craftsman Lucas Ford fabricated the tops for the dining room table and the factory desk top, while Chris French Metals (CFM), a local metal fabricator, constructed the legs and structure of those tables along with all of the other metal work in the space. There are vintage elements throughout the space, such as the crystal chandeliers in the lobby and the multitude of picture-less frames that line the bathroom walls. Also, locally, we supported HD Buttercup quite a bit."

The second-floor view of the stairs leading up to the roof deck.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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How would you describe Hipstamatic in a sentence.
"Hipstamatic is an iPhone camera app that beautifully captures visual stories," says Lucas. "And, our tagline is, 'Digital never looked so analog.'"

Tabletop treasures in the waiting area.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Tell us about how Hipstamatic came to be.
"Myself, Lucas Buick, and Ryan Dorshorst created Hipstamatic in December 2009. We had previously been running a web and design consultancy for a couple of years, and when the recession hit, many clients stopped paying their bills. So, we realized quickly we needed to shift gears. We had the option of entering corporate America or creating something out of our shared love for photography. At the same time, the iPhone was starting to become super popular. So, we thought it would be really cool to create a mobile photography experience, blending the look and feel of analog photography, which we both loved, with a fantastic, sleek mobile device. The rest, as they say, is history!"

Founders Lucas Buick (left) and Ryan Dorshorst (right) hard at work.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Do you guys consider yourself more techy or artsy?
"We’re artists at our core, but clearly have a love for technology, as well," says Lucas. "Without the iPhone, Hipstamatic wouldn’t exist in the form it does today. We’re super stoked we’re able to blend our passion for photography and art and our design experience with a mobile device as rad as the iPhone. We also have some fantastic engineers working for us, and they are also super into art and design. At the end of the day, you could say we really have a nice blend of both."

The sleek dining area, with a large magnetic-wall backdrop.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Tell us about this first-floor waiting area, which is actually way more than that!
"We have a fantastic room downstairs that doubles as both a conference room and also apartment." says Lucas. "It’s attached to storage space that also has a beautifully tiled shower, so really it can function as a live-work space if we ever have remote employees visit. It’s also a great space if anyone needs to take a rest during the day, or if a happy hour turns into a rooftop deck party and someone needs a place to crash. Talk about a fully functional space!"

The waiting area...which we would gladly live in.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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You guys were the first digital-to-analog photo app. How do you feel about the recent success of Instagram?
"We think Instagram is a great product, but inherently very different from us. We’re a photography app used by high-quality content creators, and Instagram is a social network where our users love sharing their art," says Lucas. "It works out really well for both parties because we’re really complimentary. In fact, as of last week, we were the first outside channel with access to uploading directly to Instagram."

Some pretty Hipstamatic prints, displayed on the first-floor gallery walls.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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A quartet of Hipstamatic cuties outside the office doors. From left to right: Katie Carroll, Community Manager, Molli Sullivan, Director of PR, Mario Estrada, Director of Fun, and Laura Polkus, Community Designer and Social Stuff Director.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Tell us about the roof deck!
"It's really meant to be another space to work and hang out," says Lucas. "It was inspired by the amount of outdoor rooftop spaces in LA. Being from the Midwest, we knew that we wanted to take advantage of California when we moved out here. S.F. is a bit chillier than LA, so we've added a fire pit, heat lamps, and a retractable awning for shade or rain. Once we're done with it, it'll have a bar and function as an additional space for our events."

Day-Glo chairs and a matching fire pit.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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Your kitchen is also heavenly. What are the details here?
"The kitchen is always fully stocked with our staples: coffee, cereal, beer, and lots of yummy snacks," says Mario. "From fruit snacks to hummus to granola bars, we got it! It's also a great gathering spot in the morning where we all chat, eat breakfast together, and talk about what we have going on for the day. We also have this amazing espresso machine that we fill only with Sightglass coffee. Before we had the machine, we were taking so many trips over there each day, we figured out it would be more cost effective in the long run to just buy a machine, and get the beans from Sightglass! Our latte art isn't nearly as pretty as theirs, but now we can have coffee any time we want! One of our favorite baristas, Archie Megatron from Sightglass, came and taught us how to brew the perfect espresso. We love our Sightglass employees!"

The Sightglass- and snacks-fueled kitchen.

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A few of the many vintage cameras that dot the office.

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Your second-floor workspace is really open. What was the plan here?
"Having a big open work space is super conducive to collaboration and creativity," says Lucas. "It's really nice to work on a project and be able to call someone over and get feedback on the spot. Or when someone bursts out laughing, that's basically an open invite to come gather round and watch something awesome on YouTube. Working under a huge skylight all day is pretty dang swell, too. Our work table is so big (30 feet) that it had to be brought in pieces and assembled inside. It was moved once during construction, and it took eight grown men on their hands and knees to lift it inch by inch with their backs. It's massive."

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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What do you guys have up your sleeve for the future?
"2012 is a really big year for us. You’ll see some tweaks and updates to our product line and we’re also launching a few new passion projects," says Lucas. "We’ll continue to expand our offerings to illustrate that we’re a true culture and lifestyle brand. Stay tuned!"

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux
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To download the Hipstamatic app, head right over here.

Photographed by Molly DeCoudreaux