When Kinnate Biopharma was looking for a new home, they told Ware Malcomb architects that they wanted something that would make the company stand out as a creative place to work just as the company stands out in the development of cancer treatment.
The result in the 7,000 square feet Kinnate leases in Kilroy Realty’s One Paseo campus is such a dramatic shift from conventional office design that Ware Malcom is using it as a case study that others could emulate.
The project won the Business Journal award for the best tenant improvement of the year.
“They came to us with a very unique approach, looking for a hybrid work environment,” said Angela Ryan, director of interior design and architecture at Ware Malcomb’s San Diego offices.
“We wanted to make sure that we were creating an environment where you can actually innovate and it wasn’t just heads down,” said Priyanka Shah, vice president of investor relations and communications. “Our mission is really focused on expanding the targeted therapies for people who are battling cancer.”
In the past two years, Kinnate has grown from a staff of 11 to about 86, with about 40 working in San Diego, Shah said. The company also has offices in San Francisco.
“The San Diego office includes a lot of our researchers, our biologist and chemist folks,” Shah said. “With the pipeline current and planned, we expect to continue to advance, especially with R&D (research and development).”
Kinnate wanted to be on the ground floor at One Paseo so workers could easily move in and out of the building to take advantage of outdoor work areas and roam the One Paseo development “so you’re not tied to your desk,” Shah said. “Colleagues can get out of the office space if they want. There’s a nice outdoor space adjacent to the lobby and they can even have walking meetings if they want in One Paseo.”
Under the hybrid model Kinnate adopted, workers are expected to come in to the office at least twice a week but work remotely the rest of the time, Shah said.
“During the height of the pandemic, we were almost exclusively working from home.”
Figuring that the company would eventually return to the office, Kinnate wanted something different, that gave workers options but also would be a place where they wanted to spend some time.
“In-office attendance is an important part of building our culture,” Shah said.
Ryan said that Kinnate wanted their suite to be “completely collaborative.
“This would be just for people to come in, have meetings, touchdown, collect their team members and kind of cross pollinate with them and then go back to work privately with them in their homes,” Ryan said.
The office is wide open, with a raised platform in the center for large group meetings that also serves as a work area when it’s not being used for an all-hands session.
“They do have some work stations, but nothing is assigned. It’s all kind of touchdown space,” Ryan said.
They include booths similar to restaurant banquettes to one side of the office space for quiet work. The booths have acoustic wall panels.
“We’re giving them a variety of seating choices so people can choose what’s comfortable for them,” Ryan said.
There’s also what Kinnate calls a drug discovery room off to one side which Ryan described as “a war room for them.”
“They have it fitted out so that they can meet kind of cross office and work through some problem solving,” Ryan said.
There’s also a large conference room next to the discovery room.
Plug-in work spaces are scattered throughout the overall office, including in the booths, along the rear of the platform that functions as additional work space, and in comfy lounge furniture.
“At any of those given touch-down spaces, there’s opportunity for them to connect to another team member or connect through the Wi-Fi with other teams they’re working with or clients they’re working with,” Ryan said.
“We really spent time on the technology side of things, just making sure that when people came into the office, it was worth it for them,” Ryan said.
With people working partly at home, “we have to work a little bit harder to give them incentives to come to the office so this had to be a step up from what they have at home,” Ryan said.
The color scheme of the space reflects the company’s corporate colors, those used in its logo, and on its website – a mix of blueish-green, gray and blue.
Where there’s carpeting, the pattern evokes ocean waves to reflect the nearby coast.
As with all of the office suites at One Paseo, Kinnate’s space is surrounded by large glass windows that flood the space with natural light.
Ryan said that Kinnate was “ahead of the mark” with its design.
“We’ll be going back to them and follow up and see how it’s been performing for them and adapt it on future work spaces.”
CEO: Nima Farzan
Headquarters: Carmel Valley
Social impact: Kinnate workers are involved with the San Diego Humane Society, Susan G Komen San Diego, and the American Association for Cancer Research among others.
Notable: The company focuses its efforts on known oncogenic drivers where there are no approved targeted drugs.
CEO: Ken Wink
Business: Architecture and engineering design firm
Notable: With office locations throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Brazil, the firm specializes in the design of commercial office, corporate, industrial, science and technology, healthcare, retail, auto and public/institutional facilities and renovation projects.