Event Design

Open Space and Collaborative Culture at Social Tables

The event-planning platform's new office space in Washington, D.C., is tailored to accommodate its growing workforce and extroverted culture.

SociialTables_mainYou know you’re not in a typical office environment the minute you step out of the elevator and into Social Tables’ new workspace. Everything in the arrival area — floor, walls, ceiling — is deep pink, in the exact shade as the Social Tables logo. The palette calms down considerably once you move onto the work floor proper, but the point has been made: This is a place to bring your energy, passion, and sense of fun.

Social Tables only just moved into the space in downtown Washington, D.C., at the end of January. The web-based event-planning platform wanted something custom-built that could accommodate its growing team and also reflected its collaborative, extroverted culture. I visited last week at the invitation of Jesse Colligan, Social Tables’ customer success team lead. He and Laura Lopez, the company’s community manager, led me on a lunchtime tour of the lively, 30,000-square-foot space — an open floor plan where none of the 100-plus employees has a closed-door office, not even founder and CEO Dan Berger. Instead, people work at clusters of desks that are height-adjustable, so they can sit or stand as they like, and if they want privacy, quiet, or some combination of the two, they can use one of the numerous meeting rooms lining the outer rim of the office. There are also several larger collaboration rooms, a sprawling communal lobby and kitchen, conversation-pit-style setups with comfortable couches (where it’s not unusual to see meeting notes dry-erased right onto window glass nearby), and even 10,000 square feet of flexible event space.

It’s hard to capture the whole crazy mosaic that is Social Tables HQ in one swipe, but here are a few things that really caught my attention.


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ALONE TOGETHER Teams that are working on a specific project or chasing a deadline can set up shop in one of several collaboration rooms — which, thanks to a fishbowl design, are insular without being cut off from the entire office.

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IF THESE WALLS COULD PURR… The cozy meeting rooms that line Social Tables’ outer wall are named either for industry-specific terms (SMERF, MICE, RevPAR, Ballroom, etc.) or for an off-the-wall theme, such as 50 Shades of Pink or, above, Grandmom’s Living Room.

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PERMANENT EXHIBITION A small area in Social Tables’ office honors the company’s ongoing presence at meetings and conventions — as an exhibitor, supplier, sponsor, presenter, and attendee. There’s even a living, growing wall of name badges.

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HARD AT PLAY Social Tables is a still-young technology company that embraces startup culture. So, yes, of course there’s a game room.

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SOCIAL TABLE Our tour ended at the linchpin of Social Tables HQ — its communal space, anchored by the Serpentine, a long, twisting table that fills up quickly at lunchtime. Cafe tables nearby are equally popular, making for an inclusive, boisterous environment.



Christopher Durso

Christopher Durso is executive editor of Convene.