Opening day, a bit before 10 a.m.:
“Is the bar open yet?”
A lady from the neighborhood was looking for her morning coffee. She saw an open door, and walked in. Only it wasn’t a new neighborhood bar, it was the front door to our new office.
We were happy to hear our new space feels so welcoming. Benvinguts, Bienvenido, Bem vinda, Üdvözöljük, Willkommen—Welcome.
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Michelle den Herder & Laura Balaguer | 04.2021
Come on in, the bar's open!
So yeah, we have a bar—we call it Barception. Why? We wanted a place to bring people together. Whether for a morning coffee or an afternoon beer, people need a spot to congregate.
Take a tour of our Barception, through the eyes of our barceptionists.
It’s great for a casual chat, especially with someone you might not bump shoulders with during the daily scramble. Good conversation, new ideas, lasting connections. These kinds of things happen at a barception.
We designed the office to align with our vision—to build a product and an organization that puts the human experience center stage. This is reflected in our values:
As you’ll see, they permeate this entire space.
Having just one office plant reduces stress and noise, and increases creativity and productivity. So we lined the walls and ceilings with 736 plants. It’s like a jungle in here. But with Wi-Fi and no mosquitos.
And these aren’t just any plants. With three of them—the Areca Palm, Mother-in-law’s Tongue, and Money Plant—“you can grow all the fresh air you need… in a bottle with a cap on top.”
We didn’t stick them in a bottle, though. We put them where walls could be. It helps to separate the space while keeping the office open. It also lets the spirit travel when we celebrate with spontaneous applause.
The swimming pool
Having an open-plan office was non-negotiable. It keeps people interacting and ideas buzzing, like we had at the old office.
This big room is where the Data, Growth, Product, Design, and Home teams sit. It’s got whiteboard areas for daily standups, and stand-up tables for when you need to stretch your legs.
We call it the swimming pool. Why? Because this building was originally designed to be a gym, and this is where they planned to put the pool. The gym business didn’t work out, so now it’s where we wade through new ideas.
Customer Success jungle
Happy employees mean happy customers. So our Customer Success team has their happy place under a unique canopy of plants. They call it “the CS jungle”. The big red theatre curtains? Reminders of all the work that goes on behind the scenes to give our customers what they want.
Space for focus
When we started looking for a new place, we wanted the whole team to be involved in the process. So Gabi, Head of the Home Team, sent out a typeform to get everyone’s input.
We heard that some devs work better in U-shaped areas. The closed space helps them focus on the problem at hand, but with a swivel of the chair the rest of the team’s there. It’s nice when your team’s behind you.
Our IT and People Operations teams are there too. And there’s plenty of extra space for others who want to tuck themselves away.
Fun fact: these U-shaped areas were originally designed to be squash courts.
Everyone has their own dedicated workspace. But sitting in the same spot all day can be draining. People need to move, and a change of scenery can spark creativity. So we knew we needed some versatile spaces.
They come in a few different forms, and they get used for everything—spontaneous meetings, lunchtime seating, afternoon coffee, or that fresh view when you need a spark.
You don’t book a time for these areas. This is open space designed to maximize serendipity. A place to let things unfold naturally.
Nooks and crannies
Even an open-plan office needs its hideaways. There are quiet booths for Skype calls, and hammocks for a quick siesta—when in Spain, as they say. Details matter. Soon we’ll finish the library, for when you need that back-in-university-type quiet time.
There are some fun things around, but all serve a practical purpose. No gimmicks here. “We want to do things that are meaningful, not just fashionable,” as Gabi put it.
Bringing ideas together
The old office only had one proper meeting room, and elbows were always bumping around the shared spaces.
Now we have meeting rooms all over the place. And with really clever names like Green, Grey, Yellow, Pink, and so on, you always know when you’ve arrived at the right place. We also have plenty of breakout areas filled with whiteboards and big screens—great for our daily standups.
And then there’s the Beardy Room. It’s where the big decisions are made, and we take those decisions seriously. But we’re also serious about fun, and that spirit lives here too.
In Barcelona, lunch is a time that should be enjoyed and shared together, like family. There’s even a word—sobremesa—dedicated to the time spent talking after a meal. So we made sure to have a big dining table to sit around as the food goes down.
At any given lunch, you’re likely to find more than 20 nationalities chatting about everything from Ruby on Rails to some journey to an obscure corner of the globe.
Our old kitchen was the perfect size for a family RV, not so great for our growing family. We were so squeezed for space that our caterers had to build a makeshift serving table. Here, we made sure we had space for everyone. It’s like a little cafeteria—with trays, an industrial dishwasher, and plenty of silverware. All things we were missing in the old place.
In ancient Greek city-states, the Agora was a central gathering space where people met to nurture artistic, spiritual, and political life. We thought that seemed like a good idea, so we built our very own. A place where everyone comes together to listen deeply and debate passionately.
It’s got a giant theatre screen that drops down for company meetings. And when it’s not meeting time, we have a place to watch movies, play video games, and host events.
Finding a home for a diversely-skilled and quickly-growing company is no easy feat. But this place was instant love. Multiple levels, all open and interconnected.
And it’s a work in progress. There are still minor tweaks needed and major works in the pipeline. Soon we’ll have showers for midday exercisers and the terrace ready for BBQs. And we’re adding new people constantly, so some spaces will surely take on new meaning as we move forward.
Thanks for stopping by! And don’t let the dog out when you leave.
Want to see what we actually do inside these walls? Take a look.