“They see the views and they’re just blown away,” said Farfetch North American president Jeffery Fowler. “It gives you a sense of perspective.”
Fashion technology company Farfetch, which announced its move to The Bloc mixed-use development in the summer of 2017, has completed its relocation, arriving in style to a space that now keeps it on brand and on trend with Farfetch global outposts in places such as London, New York, Moscow and Tokyo.
A key feature of the 25,000-square-foot office is the open workspace. Fixed desks don’t comprise the bulk of the L.A. office’s real estate, save for customer service, which deals with personally identifiable information. Most everyone else can operate in a more fluid manner with teams able to work from the kitchen, where there’s stadium style seating. When that area gets busy during the lunch hour, workers can shuttle their laptops and coffee to standing desks that overlook the Los Angeles basin. For those wanting to work out of a designated quiet zone, there’s a library-like area.
Phone conversations that need to be had without distraction can be conducted in phone booths.
“What I like about this space is it presents you with a variety of options you can start your day with,” Fowler said. “You can work one week and have five days that allow you the flexibility of working in a variety of different places, styles and ways of interacting with your colleagues.”
That autonomy is taken one step further with the employer also giving workers the ability to, at times, work from home if their personal schedules require.
State-of-the-art audio visual equipment and other technology systems are designed to be hidden.
“You see really nice materials and the elements of being really well-crafted,” said Fiona Livingston, cofounder of the design firm Studiofibre. “The key is the technology is humanized.”
Farfetch, at 10, has been in Los Angeles for about eight years now. The move to The Bloc isn’t a big leap for the company, which previously had its workforce operating out of a more industrial area on the outskirts of downtown, bordering Boyle Heights.
The Bloc allowed for the company to check a number of boxes related to public transportation access, parking, nearby amenities and co-tenancy that has it part of a development that also includes Nordstrom Local and Uniqlo. At the end of the day, Fowler said, there’s also something to be said about a space simply feeling right.
The floor plan allows for seamless wandering, which also makes it easier for more organic meetings among workers to take place. The previous space, in contrast, was designed as a series of enclosed offices all anchored by a single hall, keeping teams mostly closed off from one another.
The company’s digital production staff remains in about 15,000 square feet of retained space in the previous office, which received cosmetic and workflow enhancements to make it right for production.
The company declined to say how many workers it has in Los Angeles, confirming instead through a spokeswoman a head count of 171 across its L.A. and New York offices as of June.
Throughout the time the company’s worked out of the city, its rapid growth has been a challenge to retaining work space in line with the brand but also the sort of environment the employer wanted to give its workers. Often, when the staff outgrew its building, one of the solutions was to find coworking or flexible workspaces, where its common people are coming and going and there aren’t desk assignments per se.
“You could almost say that if you walked in [the Farfetch office] there are people working in that coworking style,” Fowler said.
That’s also how behavior among the general workforce has changed, some would say.
“The workforce these days, certainly in a business like this, they are very mobile and it’s activity-based work,” Livingston said. “You don’t have to work at a desk with a big tower computer these days. You can work in a coffee shop. You can work in the street. The idea of creating a space that’s focused on the activities that people have to perform is more progressive and it’s healthier as well.”
Poured concrete floors and adherence to certain Farfetch design codes as it relates to materials (the crushed velvet banquettes, for instance) or the ruby and salmon tones used throughout keep it aligned with branding found within the company’s other offices. The office is still decidedly L.A. with softer colors and a mix of dark walnut wood and light birch woods.
A number of the design elements first used in L.A. are now being rolled out to other Farfetch offices, including a copper rig hanging from the ceiling that will be used in London, the phone banks, use of plants and warmer colors introducing a more burnished quality.
“It’s very bespoke to Farfetch as a business,” Livingston said. “The idea is when you go into the space, you don’t really feel like you’re in a traditional office, and it’s progressive in that sense because the way it was designed was for a more progressive workforce.”