Did you know we recently expanded our office space? Maybe you saw the sneak peek and learned about how we chose our gorgeous new countertops. Or maybe you read about how we carefully picked the colors for our new annex. Well we’ve decided that we’ve led you all on for long enough now—it’s time for the grand reveal!
The space itself isn’t huge, but boy oh boy, did we manage to fit everything we needed in there—thanks in no small part to our brilliant designers, Brad Sherman and Nina Etnier of Float Studio. The expanded space has a new test kitchen where we’ll test even more recipes and conduct so many of our photo shoots. It’s got floor-to-ceiling cabinets where we can store all of our props (and handy open shelving where we can keep our most-reached-for styling pieces). It’s got editing bays, where our video editors can spread out and make their magic. It’s got a shipping station so we can send you the things you love from our Shop and store an endless supply of packing tape. And it’s got so much (and much-needed) shelving, so we can finally have a place to organize all of the product samples we’re constantly evaluating.
Ladies and gentlemen, cooks and bakers, eaters and drinkers: We are proud to present our new office Annex!
Welcome to the Annex
When you first step into our new 10th floor Annex’s entry vestibule, you’re immediately overcome with a sense of calm. That’s thanks to two main features: the soothing muted pinkish-brown walls and the arched doorway. We built in the arch ourselves; it gives the space a soft-edged, welcoming feeling. “The arches really helped create a dynamic sense of entry,” says Brad. “They add character to the interior architecture of the space, and help frame different areas in a tight space without feeling tight.” A simple rod-hung woven curtain adds to the mellow vibe (and provides an easy way to divide the space if necessary).
The largest room in the Annex, the kitchen takes up nearly half of our new space—would you expect anything less? In true Food52 fashion, the room is a mix of greys with black accents: dark grey under-sink cabinets (for pots and pans) are offset by horizontal black metal pulls, and tall grey wall cabinets (for photo tools, from backdrops to camera stands) have floor-to-nearly-ceiling vertical black metal pulls, which add just the right amount of color contrast.
There are three kinda brilliant design features in this kitchen. The first is the kitchen island, which is actually two islands pushed together: One is topped with never-fail Caesarstone and the other has an induction cooktop. The brilliant part? They’re both on casters, so we can easily move them around for a shoot or a complex recipe we’re testing.
The second inspired element in the kitchen is more subtle, and might take you a minute to spot. It’s in the open shelving (which you know we love). In addition to a high metal shelf where we can store our go-to serving dishes, there’s a shelf that stretches out from the backsplash—it comes up behind the sink and counter, then into the wall to create a sturdy shelf that feels like a natural extension of the countertop, and is strong enough to hold all of our heaviest pots and pans.
The third special feature in the kitchen is Brad’s favorite: pop-up outlets embedded in the Caesarstone countertops. “We REALLY practiced restraint with the design of this space,” he says, “and felt strongly about letting the materiality be the focus, pulling out anything that distracted from product, people, and food in the kitchen.” Outlets are a common design distraction, so Brad chose to conceal them in the countertops. "They completely disappear," he says, "but are still easy to access."
Walk down the hallway from the kitchen, past the cozy sitting area with its wooden bench, and you’ll find row after row of shelves filled with products from our Shop—a mix of items that are waiting to be styled and shot, and products we’re testing and assessing. There are tons of products constantly in rotation, so creating an open system for organizing and storing them was paramount. The shelves themselves were designed by Modern Shelving. “We used Modern Shelving because it’s the first system we’ve come across that’s flexible, beautiful, and affordable,” says Brad. “Because of the varying sizes of product and the ever-changing inventory, it’s crucial the system be flexible.”
“There’s a LOT more space now,” says Jamie, Food52’s sample assistant. She especially appreciates the lighting in the space: a thin strip embedded in the top shelf that gently but thoroughly illuminates the seven lower shelves. “It was really smart to put lighting up on top, so if there’s any dead space behind the shelves, it’s not going to hide. Now I can arrange samples the way I like: according to the color spectrum, from lightest to darkest, and not lose anything.” Jamie tells me this while we’re standing at one of the workstations that cap the shelving aisles. With outlets and USB chargers at desk-level, they’re the perfect height to take a quick note, conduct a mini interview, or get a good long look at all the products.
One thing about running an e-commerce business that hardly gets talked about? The massive amounts of bubble wrap. Where are you supposed to keep it all? In our new space, the answer is a custom peg board, which also holds wire baskets full of packing tape, measuring tape, box cutters, and other often-reached-for tools. Underneath the packing counter are vertically divided shelves with all sizes of boxes (the way we like to store baking sheets in the kitchen) and drawers with all the tools we need, like Sharpies, scissors, and lots and lots of extra packing tape, of course.
At the very end of the hall, in the quietest part of the Annex, is the video editing room. Like the entryway, the room has an arched door frame and is painted in the same soothing pink. The lights are often kept low on a dimmer and with a few LED candles lit up, the space feels almost like a meditation room. Unlike the hustle and bustle of our main downstairs office, “it’s very quiet in here, so you can focus on editing,” says Fiona, Food52’s video producer. She and Rob, Food52’s video editor, share the extra-wide desks that line the room. What’s it like with just the two of them in their own office? “It’s really brought out the camaraderie—we’ve really bonded in this new space,” Rob says. “Plus, there’s lots of storage, so we can keep all our hard drives and cables organized.”
All of the lighting in the Annex comes from Cedar and Moss, which Brad uses for every Food52 spaces he designs.“The fixtures complement a modern interior,” he says. “The detailing is minimal, and shapes are dynamic. I hate using the word transitional, but these fixtures truly are.” There are different fixtures throughout the space—domed sconces in the hallway, hanging pendant lights in the kitchen, small brass fixtures over the seating area, and jointed wall-mounted lights over the workstations—all of which have Cedar and Moss’s classic midcentury design. “Their shape, function, materials, and finishes work together to communicate with the overall architecture and language of the space,” Brad says. The lighting is simple and elegant, and the variety of fixtures brings a subtle style to the Annex. Just like we wanted.
What's your favorite feature of our expanded office? Tell us in the comments below!