Kiva

San Francisco, California
Project Description

Non-profit organization Kiva works with microfinance institutions on five continents to provide loans to people without access to traditional banking systems; their mission is to help alleviate global poverty by connecting people through lending. STUDIOS was challenged to provide the non-profit with a lively, efficient and flexible workspace that supports both their cause and their culture within the constraints of a very limited tenant improvement budget. The design team was able to achieve this goal through creative space planning and by developing some innovative, low-cost design solutions. As part of our services, we also negotiated donations and discounts on materials, furnishings, fixtures and services, and actually fabricated and installed many of the furnishings and graphic elements. To support Kiva's mission and to reinvest in both the local and global community, STUDIOS provided all services pro bono. Infusing Kiva's personality and spirit of fun into the design was key. The dynamic, welcoming lounge is both spatially and culturally central to the organization, and accommodates a variety of events and celebrations, from all-hands meetings to regular happy hours and ping-pong matches. Tracked sliding panels - made from reclaimed wooden doors - allow for varying levels of visual connection between the lounge and the work areas as needed, and also break up the lines of the workstations. Work areas are 100% open plan to foster interaction and activity, and provide access to daylight and views for everyone. Formal and informal collaborative areas are dispersed throughout the space, while a variety of enclosed meeting and quiet workrooms - including several telephone "booths"- allow for privacy and concentration. The break room / kitchen features grand "family"dining table that can be used as both a shared eating space and an informal meeting area. The quiet room - complete with oversized hammock - provides an inviting retreat for rest and relaxation. Chalkboard, magnetic, and whiteboard walls are placed throughout the plan to provide a fun and lively way for Kiva staff to interact both with one another and with the space, as well as to foster communication between groups that are often isolated from one another. The application of simple, imaginative materials and creative graphic elements give the space a fresh, vibrant feel: reclaimed wood palettes are repurposed to create a warm and earthy open meeting room, while door skins are woven into steel studs to form an undulating textured wall that runs along the reception area and main walkway. Clever signage calls out functionality and wayfinding elements while also celebrating many of the countries and communities that Kiva serves. Timeline Completed December 2011