An international investment banking firm, DBO Partners, possesses traditional values in how its respects clients and instills long-term trust while leading some of the largest and most complex transactions for leading global companies and private equity firms. These values and culture are reflected in the unique balance of their California headquarters location in its blend of traditional architecture and modern amenities.
DBO wanted to preserve the industrial character of a historic building while integrating modern technology to create a new home for its employees and a showpiece for trusted clients. The design highlights original character by maintaining existing materials, while creating a balance between old and new with thoughtfully integrated technology.
A modern office interior interweaves with a historic building shell for a sensitive mix of old and new.
Lighting and materiality help highlight the warmth and character of the original building.
An office that serves as a showpiece for the company’s clients and partners.
When DBO Partners set out to relocate the office, it selected a unique trophy building located in the heart of downtown Burlingame. Originally built in 1920 as a Montgomery Ward store, the classic three-story building contained original historic elements such as a red brick exterior, white moldings and dormer windows. For the new headquarters, DBO leased the building’s entire second floor and a portion of the third floor since most of their partners were commuting from other areas.
In order to preserve the industrial character of the building, while creating a state-of-the-art office experience for their staff and clients, we set out to maintain as many of the existing materials as possible, which also helped the project stay in budget. Modern design elements and technology integrated throughout contrast the building’s classic features, establishing a sensitive balance of old and new.
The building’s street-level entrance faces Burlingame Avenue, which is occupied by upscale retail and dining establishments. Inside, a new reception desk is built into a platform encircling an interconnecting stair. Above, a stretched fabric, iconic light fixture illuminates the stair.
Throughout the workplace, the design celebrates the building’s original historic charm. Original brick interior walls are a focal point of the space, modernised with new uplighting that highlights the textural brick. Overhead, the exposed wood beam structure and remains intact, with slim-profile industrial lighting added over circulation paths. Columns and beams retain their original scuffs and markings, revealing the building’s historic patina. The space welcomes generous natural light with four original, tall windows in the kitchen/pantry area that gather morning light through the entire space.
“M Moser did an extraordinary job transforming an old brick three-story building into a beautiful and functional modern office for our investment banking business. We can’t wait to fully occupy the office and believe it will be one of our key reasons for our success in the years to come.”
David DeRuff, Chief Operating Officer and Partner, DBO Partners
At the centre of the main floor sits a modern insertion: a four-walled, glass conference room. The glass partitions allow daylight to filter through the entire floor plate, with a custom live-edge table with integrated technology anchoring the new conference room. The glass walls are acoustically sealed with dual-layer laminated glass. Inside, a perforated metal ceiling plane extends through the confines of the glass with a detailed knife-edge. The high-tech materiality of the glass box is the project’s most modern insertion, sitting in contrast to an otherwise classic building.
- Status Completed
- Area 7,700 sq ft
- Completion date 2020
- Location Burlingame, CA
- Photographer Emily Hagopian