There’s been a lot of buzz lately about where a certain gigantic, Washington-based Internet company will locate its second headquarters. Meanwhile, Whitney Wolfe, CEO of “female-first” dating app Bumble, did little public dithering about where to headquarter the booming tech company, which has grown from from 100,000 users in 2014 to more than 18 million, according to Architectural Digest.
Austin is already home to the newly minted Bumble HQ, which opened in late August. ArchDigest profiled the new digs and shared some of its photos with Curbed Austin.
Wolfe created Bumble after leaving Tinder, according to the article; her subsequent suit against the company (settled out of court) contributed to the growing conversation about women’s experience in tech, and Bumble was no doubt inspired as a way to help correct the balance. (Wolfe also recently launched Bumble Bizz, which uses geo-targeting and swiping functions similar those of the dating app, but connects people interested in business networking.)
Located in the central-north Rosedale neighborhood rather than more tech-traditional Downtown or Far North/Round Rock areas, the new HQ departs from the current design models for tech companies—which, while often colorful, fun, and inventive, convey a fairly neutral personality. Bumble’s offices, on the other hand, are intended to create a mood both “unabashedly female and a little outrageous,” Wolfe told Architectural Digest.
Consistent with her mission, Wolfe chose women to design the interior—Julie Evans’ JEI Design team, with Erica Henderson as lead designer, and Caitlyn Dennig as assistant designer—in collaboration with Holly and Mark Odom of Mark Odom Studio, who handled the architectural design and interior space planning. Both are established and lauded local firms.
For the designers, that meant branding it to the limit with a signature sunny yellow (Pantone 122U), or a version, found everywhere (including the toilets, custom-painted high-gloss Sherwin Williams SW9020 Rayo de Sol), as well as its logo honeycomb pattern, which graces custom-made chandeliers, ottomans, tufted sectionals, LED mirrors, pillows, bar shelving, wallpaper, and a hexagon-shaped hide rug.
It was also important for Wolfe for the mission “to be infused in every space,” she told AD. In the case of the new offices, that mean 4,600 square feet of open-plan work space for its 30-plus employees (85 percent women) with “vibrant, comfortable communal areas, glass conference rooms, and a Mommy zone (for pumping),” according to AD. It also includes a place for meditation, a beauty room—Bumble gives every employee a professional blowout and manicure monthly—and a bar with beer and cold-brew coffee on tap.
According to AD, the company also has plans for the attached building and its projected 70-plus staff members it hopes to have by early 2018.
• Queen Bee Whitney Wolfe Shows Us Around Bumble's New Headquarters in Austin, Texas [ArchDigest]