Autodesk, the 3D software company that creates everything from professional animation software to the consumer app Sketchbook, opened a showcase office last year on San Francisco's Pier 9. Lots of San Francisco tech companies offer food and recreation to their staff members, but Autodesk's 27,000 square foot space offers some of the coolest office perks imaginable. Staff members are welcome to use the office's extensive workshop, which includes everything from seven high-end 3D printers to a state of the art metal shop, to create and build anything they can dream up using Autodesk's software. The space itself is incredible, floating right on the Bay and featuring creative touches like a swinging conference room table, named Scylla after the many-headed sea monster of Greek mythology. But it's in the workshop where things really get exciting. Employees, who can take classes on how to use all of the machinery, can bring to life the Autodesk software by building anything they want. Some of the things sitting around the office include a 3D-printed model of Walt Disney's head, a bike created entirely on-site, and a Go-Kart that the Autodesk CEO is currently building with his son.
When Autodesk took over the space, it was an abandoned pier sitting just off of the Embarcadero. The company wanted to build a destination that got their staff excited about making things, so they filled their workshop with 3D printers, laser cutters, and machines that can turn raw wood into tables or hunks of metal into fully formed objects like propellers. If you wanted to make a robot on-site, you could. A fabric and sewing room and a wood shop reminiscent of middle school shop class provide places to put finishes on projects the old-fashioned way. The company also has an artist-in-residence program, which sponsors approximately ten artists at a time to work out of the Pier 9 space. And when employees get hungry after all of that creating, they can make gourmet food in the office's top-of-the-line commercial test kitchen.