See inside Pinterest’s new Chicago office

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Users of the online idea board service Pinterest know a pin when they see one. Displayed in a grid on Pinterest’s platform, these idealized images show the perfect room, the perfect meal, the perfect whatever. Meant to inspire and used by an estimated half billion people every month as a kind of visual idea trove for projects ranging from interior design to a new haircut, the Pins on Pinterest are bite-sized nuggets of digital eye candy.

For its newest office, Pinterest (the company) turned Pinterest (the aesthetic) into a physical workplace.

[Photo: courtesy Pinterest]

Located in Chicago, the new Pinterest office is a cavalcade of visual delights, with a mix of themed environments, photo-ready backdrops, and pandemic-inspired flexible workspaces. It’s about as on-brand as an office can be.

[Photo: courtesy Pinterest]

One prominent wall is covered with a huge grid of digital screen that mimic the look of a Pinterest board. “The wall captures a mix of static, animated photos and videos for a daily dose of inspiration as employees walk by,” explains Kathy Aberin, Pinterest’s head of design and construction, over email.

[Photo: courtesy Pinterest]

Beyond the company’s own highly recognizable visual identity, the design of the office was directly influenced by a hybrid work policy the company calls PinFlex. First instituted in July 2022, the policy allows for flexibility and mobility for employees, allowing them to work from home, or from one of more than 20 offices the company operates around the world. Employees are expected to come into the office for certain collaboration events throughout the year, but can otherwise spend their workdays wherever they please. “Work location is situational,” the policy states, and the company “lets the work guide the collaboration style.”

[Photo: courtesy Pinterest]

That led to an emphasis on individual work, brainstorming sessions, video conferencing, and team meetings. The company analyzed sensor data from other Pinterest offices with similar user types to find an optimal layout and which types of space to prioritize.

[Photo: courtesy Pinterest]

The office also went heavy on Chicago itself. “We leaned into fun local aspects of the space like a lounge inspired by Chicago’s Riverwalk that brings the outside in with real flowers and grasses, a Chicago-style pizza kitchen and whimsical lighting and decor influenced by Chicago icons like the El Train, First Lady Cruise boat, Navy Pier and the MART showrooms,” Aberin says. Bench designs and garden platforms in the all-hands area are direct references to architectural elements found at the Jetty along the Chicago River. The IT help desk is designed to look like a Chicago hot dog vendor food cart.

[Photo: courtesy Pinterest]

For Aberin, a highlight of the new office is the pantry, which is used for more than just coffee breaks. “In the spirit of finding ways to make every space multi-functional, we’ve made the space that traditionally was only where our employees got their snacks, into a place to record cooking demos or create other food/beverage content.”

[Photo: courtesy Pinterest]

For most others, the oversized digital Pinterest board on the office’s wall is likely to be the Pin-worthy moment. In fact, it’s already become a prominent Pin in the Pinterest board Pinterest used to inform and eventually document this office’s design.

“All of our projects start with a Pinterest board,” Aberin says. “We pull inspiration images from the platform and these really help inspire the designs that we ultimately see in our spaces.”



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