When social shopping app Depop moved into Shoreditch last October, the space was rather non-descript but it had great bones to build its global HQ. The company knew it wanted the office to visually reflect the app and enhance the sense of brand storytelling from the minute guests walked through the door. So Depop reached out to London-based designer Dean Brown to create a series of custom furniture to kit out the front reception area, which featured large windows that would render the space visible to the public.
“The app is the main thing they’re known for, so we asked ourselves: how do you sell or design something that’s based on an app?” says Brown. He took the app’s minimal and functional aesthetic as a starting point and designed a reception desk, storage cabinets, bookshelf, stool, an Outbox with the company’s logo, and a dedicated packing station for employees who sell their clothes through the app to pack and prepare their packages. The colour theme of the pieces also drew from the app, which features a strong use of red – the brand’s key colour.
Touches of black are seen throughout the detailing on handles and framework, along with pops of blue. “Depop is really creating this foundation layer for people to be creative on top of, and we really liked the idea that the furniture could reflect that. So it’s very minimal, framed, simple and structural, and it allows for a layer of creativity to sit on top of that,” Brown explains. “In that respect, it definitely reflects the qualities that the app has and I like the idea that they looked very specific to what they were as a company.”
Startups such as Depop that already have strong brand identities have tapped into the importance of continuing their core value and aesthetics into the workspace. Offices are the physical embodiment of the brand and more and more companies are opting for bespoke pieces that allow them to add brand value and personalisation to a rented space. In many cases, young businesses that are growing exponentially have offices that are often temporary. As companies grow, so will their workspaces and, rather than changing the physical structure of each building, one of the most effective ways to create a strong sense of identity is through custom furniture, as Depop has done.
“I like the idea that even if you’re moving between offices, having furniture that is yours, that can move with and adapt with you, is quite compelling because it’s a lot less infrastructural,” says Brown. The designer believes that furniture is the perfect vehicle to express what’s important for the company. For Depop, the packing station, which would probably not feature in any other company, was a key aspect to expressing and celebrating the service that Depop has as a peer-to-peer clothes selling platform.
The packing and posting represents the final step of the sale. “Your objects are a peculiar type of furniture that could really start to tell a story about what you do,” explains Brown. “And the space and furniture can really express what the company is about and resonates with its kind of brand value.”
Depop’s Shoreditch HQ is a physical extension of its fashion selling app