When it came time to lease a workspace, the last thing the Reaction team wanted was a sterile, fluorescent-lit box reminiscent of a hospital waiting room, especially after working from the comforts of home for the last 2 years. The right place had to meet a few prerequisites: it had to have plenty of natural light, it had to be in a bikeable, walkable location, and above all, it had to have real rooms with proper walls and personal space. No small corner of a coworking space, and no open-office labor mills.
Located in the heart of Santa Monica, Reaction’s inaugural HQ fits the bill perfectly.
Drawing from their own personal commitment to quality and integrity as inspiration, as well as from the maker community, the Reaction team went for a casual yet clean aesthetic for the workplace, while also showcasing their love of DIY. And while there are no over-the-top bells and whistles, there are still plenty of neat things that make Reaction HQ a space that feels natural, comfortable, and a more productive home away from home.
“I handled most of the things that plug in,” says Aaron, on his contribution to the work area.
Lighting and ambience is an essential part of the team’s day-to-day workflow. Aaron and Sara removed the fluorescent lights that came with the building and installed a wifi-enabled Philips Hue lighting system that hangs from the rooms’ high ceilings along with LED strips that line the perimeter. The system has unlimited color choices controlled by an app with presets based on theme and mood. The lights also flash whenever a GitHub issue gets resolved!
You won’t find a treadmill desk or a fancy fondue set here. When setting up the work stations and stocking the kitchen, Sara wanted every amenity to reflect the core values of the product being built: she wanted to emphasize quality and simplicity without being excessive.
She was also painfully aware of the last place she and Aaron had worked. They were crammed into an open room filled with Ikea desks and uncomfortable chairs whose metal seat posts were sticking up through the cushions. It was an experience never to be repeated. In the new office, each workstation comes equipped with an EVO standing desk, Sayl Herman Miller chairs, and MacBook Pro’s with Thunderbolt displays.
The kitchen has been equipped with a pourover coffee station, complete with carafe, ceramic funnel, and an electric kettle. The coffee of choice at Reaction HQ? Philz, of course.
If you can’t find something you like, you might as well make it yourself, and that’s exactly what the team did with the space’s centerpiece, a wall made of reclaimed wood, now given a second life through reimagining and reuse.
Sara and her friend Tess purchased a heap of old pallet wood, discarded fencing, and other aging lumber off of Craigslist from a couple in east LA. Because they couldn’t just nail pieces to the office wall (it will likely have to be removed at some point), they built studded frames in three sections and attached the wood (with a little inspiration from Pinterest). And they added functional wall sockets to boot. The wall now doubles as a comfy, rustic backdrop for photos, meetings, and video Hangouts.
What makes an ideal work environment for the Reaction team? Frills aside, it all boils down to feeling natural and comfortable in a space where you never have to feel like you’re "on." No koolaid to drink, no prescribed office culture to follow.