Before moving to Downtown Crossing, the Boston branch of VMware – a California-based software company with offices in more than 20 countries – had been located in Cambridge for almost 14 years. One of the reasons for the move was that the old headquarters, which was located on four floors in Kendall Square, was so big that employees started to feel isolated.
“There were people we actually never saw,” Eric Bart, the company’s senior director for R&D, said in an interview. “It was a very isolating type of setup.”
The new office is smaller than the previous one – 60,000 versus almost 38,000 square feet – and it’s on a single floor, the second of the Lafayette City Center. It’s home to 120 employees (almost all engineers), a fraction of the 20,000 people that work for VMware across the globe. However, the place has a distinctive local vibe.
“We were really trying to embrace Boston,” said Harold Giguere, senior manager, referring to the décor of the place. The space is divided into four Boston “neighborhoods” (Fenway, Back Bay, Financial District and Charlestown) and has around 15 conference rooms named after Boston-based personalities from politics, sports or innovation, from basketball player Bill Russell to art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner.
The cafeteria, which overlooks the Boston Opera House and The Paramount Center, takes inspiration from the theater architecture with comfy red armchairs and a large kitchen that looks like a stage.
Here are some photos I took during my tour of VMware: