Chandlery at the Shore

Harboring Hospitality

Forged on the waterfront

It’s been quite a transformation. The 20th century coastline south of downtown San Francisco was dominated by roughhewn shipyards where steel was wrestled into warships. In the 21st century, it’s become a landscape for innovative industry of a new kind, and a prime example of that is The Shore at Sierra Point. In the 2000s, DES first worked on this project to turn a landfill peninsula into a life-science campus for research and discovery. A decade later, The Shore was 600,000 SF of gleaming glass-and-steel buildings linked by sprawling open space, and DES had a new brief: reimagine the amenities inside and out to create a warm and welcoming experience for scientists and visitors alike.

Innovation meets recreation

When The Shore was first developed, high-tech campuses were rich with amenities, while life-science facilities had few or none. We saw the potential for cross-pollination, and our work on a nearby project, The Cove at Oyster Point, proved that scientists love a high-end food hall just as much as tech workers do. That insight sparked our big idea for The Shore: a waterfront watering hole. With its floor-to-ceiling windows and views onto the bay, Building E presented us with an opportunity to break open the buttoned-down feel of the office park and create a cozy and inviting community hub with the ambiance of a neighborhood bar. We borrowed from the hospitality industry, where it’s common to seek inspiration in the heritage of a place, and looked to the area’s maritime past for design solutions. An environment of cutting-edge innovation called for sophisticated evocation rather than literal interpretation, so we arrived at a subtle “steampunk” theme that celebrates the materiality of the ships once built just up the coast.

  • A key to the cozy feel was warm materials, such as the red cedar plank for the bar top.

We worked closely with Bon Appetit Management, a company providing corporate catering, to create an atmosphere that was cozy.

  • The curated accessories, such as ship’s lanterns, that summon up the area’s nautical history are the real thing, sourced from Bay Area antique stores.

Locating the café in Building E meant working within the constraints of a narrow, angled space, but also taking advantage of a south-facing orientation that allows the patio to be used in most weather.

The bar tap piping, inspired by the Victorian-era author Jules Verne and his submarine, was imagined as the continuation of a steam engine on a ship, and we chose copper and bronze as the materials, rather than shiny metal, because they develop a patina that looks aged.

Key Info

  • Client Healthpeak and Bon Appetit
  • Use Mixed
  • Square Feet 9,000
  • Status Completed
  • Sustainability LEED CS Gold
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