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Inside Etsy’s pioneering new HQ

Dumbo is fast becoming the trendiest, up-and-coming suburb in New York. It recently welcomed Etsy’s new HQ – a 200,000-square-foot hub that took 2 years to complete and is double the size of the company’s previous complex.

Etsy launched in 2005 as an online marketplace for crafters, makers and ‘DIY-ers’. At its core are the values of community, craft and sustainability, and the development of its new headquarters kept these front and centre.

Global architecture firm Gensler was brought on board to design the new office so that it met the Living Building Challenge (LBC) – a green building certification program, that specifies buildings should:

  • Connect occupants to light, air, food, nature, and community.
  • Be self-sufficient and remain within the resource limits of their site.
  • Create a positive impact on the human and natural systems that interact with them.

Etsy is committed to being 100% powered by renewable energy by 2020, which means that solar panels cover 20% of its roof, there is a rainwater irrigation system and occupancy sensors control how much lighting is needed. Plus, no object in the building can contain toxic materials or chemicals; materials must be responsibly sourced and have minimal carbon footprints and the building and everything inside should be sustainable, from the furniture to the internet cables.

Erected in the iconic Watchtower complex, the space has hundreds of furniture pieces and installations that were either created by local artisans or salvaged and reclaimed.

As Etsy described on its blog:

“Whether we’re typing on desks made by Craig Montoro and Bryan Mesenbourg of First Third, sitting at tables made by Jason Hernandez of HENDO or working underneath the light fixtures crafted by Ashira Israel of In.Sek Design, every day we’re fortunate enough to physically engage with our community through their work.”

There are workstations for the 600 employees, but the communal spaces are the ones that really stand out. The Lab is like a workshop with its screen-printing studio, letterpress machine, craft supplies, digital design studio and a 3-D printer. For employees looking for some R&R, the wellness studio offers yoga and beanbags for naps, while the roof deck and terraces provide space to soak up fresh air.

Step inside…
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Images from here.