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At PopSockets' new Boulder headquarters, a central wood staircase serves as an architectural focal point (its circular design was inspired by the shape of PopSockets grips) and doubles as bleachers during weekly all-staff meetings. Photo courtesy of James Ray Spahn and PopSockets

Peek Inside PopSockets’ Striking New Boulder Office

The 46,000-square-foot space, designed by Oz Architecture, is a sophisticated blend of function and playfulness.


When PopSockets founder David Barnett launched a line of collapsible grips for smartphones out of his Boulder garage in 2014, he couldn’t have imagined just how popular the widgets would become. More than 100 million PopSockets have been sold worldwide to date, and the company now has so many designs, shoppers could lose hours perusing their options.

It’s no surprise, then, that PopSockets found itself with a space problem. As the company grew, more and more desks were added to its northwest-Boulder office until employees felt like they were working on top of one another; skyrocketing sales also meant production was quickly outgrowing its designated workspace. The bare-bones office didn’t reflect PopSockets’ transition from startup to global business and was not at all conducive to creative thought.

So, PopSockets reached out to Oz Architecture, which has offices in Denver and Boulder, to design its new Boulder headquarters—an office that would be both functional and inspirational for current employees, reflect the company’s ethos, and provide room to grow. “Because they had grown so quickly…they really hadn’t had the opportunity to figure out how their brand translates into their built environment,” says Amanda Johnson, the lead architect and designer on the project. Her mission: “Create a base palette within their workspace that was sophisticated, neutral, and natural, while also having instances of a really playful attitude.”

Following an 18-month design-and-build process, the PopSockets team moved into its new, South Boulder Creek–adjacent office in Flatiron Park in March. “To continue to retain and bring in the best talent, you need to have a good environment,” says Bob Africa, PopSockets’ vice president of strategic partnerships. “The goal was to have an open, creative environment that allows our employees to be creative and collaborative.”

Floor-to-ceiling glass windows, separate “neighborhoods” for different departments, and a variety of flex spaces reflect a more mature PopSockets, while colorful murals and funky design touches (plus a herd of employees’ dogs) keep things from feeling too serious. We got a sneak peek at the 46,000-square-foot office. Take a look.

The glass-fronted lobby—sun-brightened by skylights—features a rainbow-hued mural made entirely of PopSockets grips. Because there are now swappable designs, the creative team can reimagine the pattern at any time. Across the way, a small pop-up shop will showcase the product line and allow visitors to build their own PopSockets. Photo courtesy of James Ray Spahn and PopSockets
The game room is decorated with a mural that depicts the evolution of PopSockets and spells out some of the company’s core values, such as “Innovative.” The space sits just off the kitchen—complete with a Bevi smart water dispenser and free snacks—which has a garage door that opens onto the back deck. The outdoor space, which faces a tree-lined bike path, will be furnished with picnic tables and lounge seating. (There’s a space to store bikes inside the office, as well as a two-room wellness center, lockers, and showers in the bathrooms.) Upstairs, there’s a separate bar with four kegs, twinkle lights, and glass doors that open to let in the fresh air—and the scent of the tree canopy that shades the front of the building. Photo courtesy of James Ray Spahn and PopSockets
There are no closed-door offices at PopSockets—even Barnett sits at an open, sitting/standing desk—so private booths for phone calls and quiet work are a necessity. The sales team has four in their zone, but there are others, plus conference rooms of varying sizes (33 in total) throughout the office. Photo courtesy of James Ray Spahn and PopSockets
Natural materials and neutral hues are omnipresent throughout the office, with lots of wood, concrete, and earth tones. Pops of color often come from artwork, like this neon sign, which says “PopSockets” in Japanese—a reflection of the company’s growing global presence. Photo courtesy of James Ray Spahn and PopSockets
Flex zones are situated throughout the office. Some are outfitted with chairs and tables, like the area to the left of the two-story Craig & Karl mural pictured above, while others are more casual, with couches or poufs. Many are organized around white boards, so even informal meetings can be productive. Hidden behind the blue wall (above, upper left), is the library; a secret door swings open to reveal the room, which is lined with built-in bookshelves and features a fireplace and club chairs. Photo courtesy of James Ray Spahn and PopSockets

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