Office Tour

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Bark is a company designed for dogs, and in many ways, by dogs.
Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov
Reporting Intern
7 min read

Bark, the company behind the dog toy and treat subscription BarkBox, naturally has a dog-friendly office. The three open-plan floors of the company’s newly expanded headquarters in Chinatown, Manhattan, are dotted with fun yet functional accents for both people and canines to enjoy. The result is a space -- and a selection of products -- inspired directly by how pups play.

Related: Tour the Clever, Multi-Purpose Office Designed for This Growing Moving Startup

It also reflects the modern Scandinavian aesthetic of co-founder Henrik Werdelin, with glass, cool blues and warm woods serving as the backdrop for piles of technicolor dog toys and hand-drawn prototype sketches. In the open floorplan, employees sit at long “hygge”-style desks, meet in glass breakout rooms named after Domino’s Pizza cheesy breads and congregate around the kitchen taps that dispense cold brew and rosé on demand.

Canine cartoons, office dog-yoga or “doga” sessions and other playful features can spark creativity at anytime, pushing the startup to keep innovating for both species of its clientele.

Click through the slideshow to take a peek inside.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Welcome to the doghouse

Welcome to the doghouse
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

As soon as you step into Bark’s space, you’ll know you’re in dog-lover territory. The startup’s welcome wall is peppered with toys created by the company, and there’s a stack of BarkBox sets, the company’s keystone product that sends subscribers a box full of fun treats, toys and games each month. The contrast between bold color and sleek modernism sets the tone for the design of the entire space.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Imagination station

Imagination station
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

Because Bark designs all of its toys in-house, space to create and test prototypes is essential. From fabric samples to squeakers to a 3D printer, Bark toymakers have a full toolbox. The company also builds all of its promotional content in-house, including “sets” for social media campaigns.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Watch and learn

Watch and learn
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

Bark designers gain prime insights into dog behaviors by studying how their colleagues’ dogs interact with their creations. RFID tags are affixed to Bark toys to track which ones the dogs play with most. This type of observation has helped them divide dogs into play categories: For example, “Destroyers” love to rip apart stuffed toys and tear out their squeakers.

Related: This Company's New Perk Is Implanting Microchips in Employees

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Dogs must wash paws

Dogs must wash paws
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

In an office of hardwood floors and lots of white, cleanliness is important not only for people, but their pets, too. Near the entrance of the office, Bark installed a wash station to ensure pristine paws -- rain or shine. Without mud and dirt to worry about, dogs are free to roam without ruining white walls or anyone’s dry-cleaned slacks.

Related: Facebook Data Reveals What's Stopping Millenials from Being Loyal to Brands

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Let's meet over cheesy bread

Let's meet over cheesy bread

Cheesy bread and dog lovers -- an unexpected but heavenly match. Back in 2013, Bark admitted to its Domino’s cheesy bread obsession via Twitter and started pestering the brand to give them free food. The begging worked: Domino’s sent the team hundreds of dollars worth of vouchers. As a tribute and inside joke, Bark named its various conference breakout spaces after the melty morsels, from “Nuggz” to “Parmesean.” Phrases like “meet at 4 p.m. in Feta” are not uncommon, giving meetings and conversations fun twists.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Sticker warnings

Sticker warnings
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

The sleek glass doorways at Bark showcase as well as separate the spaces and products behind. Yet the minimalism of these doors is balanced with details such as stickers and sketches by cartoonist Dave Coverly. Sprinkled with clever canine comics, passageways and entrances throughout the office surprise employees and visitors alike with light-hearted jokes and cute “warnings.” These indicators of dog-lover culture establish the “rules” that are unique to the space.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Personal space

Personal space
Bark cleverly meets employees’ needs for semi-private spaces, using these quiet glass rooms for small meetings, solo work or one-on-one time with pups.
Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Get cozy

Get cozy
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

A long workday drains both Bark employees and their canine muses. To help them relax, the company has equipped the space with these clever cubbies, soft and separate from the main floor, for relaxation and quality cuddle time with pups. Plush and inviting, these cubbies help employees feel rejuvenated, ready for work and play -- “if you want some fur on your hands while you code,” as Werdelin jokes.

Related: Why You Need to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Sit, don't stay

Sit, don't stay
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov
This loft space encourages employees to move away from their desks in the open floorplan below. Employees sometimes sit up here for privacy, or for a birds-eye view of the space that may inspire creativity.
Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

May I take your coat?

May I take your coat?
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

Bark has a policy called “Ban the Bone,” meaning it avoids canine cliches such as paw prints and toy bones in its decor. “I think it’s just lazy,” Werdelin says. “It shows you have clearly not thought about, what is the true intent?”

However, there is no shortage of dog-inspired details like these coat hangers. Fun yet functional, employees and visitors alike experience small surprises in everyday objects.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

It's 5 o'clock somewhere

It's 5 o'clock somewhere
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

Whether Bark employees need to boost their energy or wind down, the office has the solution on tap: Choose from either cold brew coffee or rosé. The quirky tap centers this kitchen, and it encourages mingling.

Werdelin says Bark strives for an “apartment feel” with the space. Some employees even stop by the office on weekends for one last drink at the end of a night out. “At parties,” Werdelin says, “all the cool kids hang out in the kitchen.”

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Dog lover luncheon

Dog lover luncheon
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

The back of the second floor boasts natural lighting, a mini kitchen and a hardwood table that comfortably seats 12. Every Friday, Bark employees gather for all-staff lunches, where they loosen up and share a meal among friends. One employee gets to pick what they order each week, and there’s an elaborate rule system that determines who gets to choose when.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Coffee + cartoons

Coffee + cartoons
Entertainment is at the heart of many Bark products and also defines the company’s office design. Custom cartoons by artist Dave Coverly abound, and his large-scale sketches in the kitchen add visual appeal for employees looking to take a break or refuel during the workday.
Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

How do you say 'hygge'?

How do you say 'hygge'?
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

Many aspects of the space were designed with humans in mind, evoking feelings of comfort, relaxation and home. Hygge is the Danish word for “living cozily,” and comfy chairs and couches in this light-flooded quiet area offer just that: a cozy corner.

Related: 6 Tips for Designing the Perfect Workspace

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

You work, they play

You work, they play
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

Sometimes, dogs want to play a little bit rougher than is conducive to productivity on the office floor. Plus, some visitors would not take kindly to 15 dogs running to greet them and begging to be pet upon their arrival. Bark has the solution: a back-office play area with toys galore. Employees can sit comfortably and keep dogs company, or they can leave pups to their own devices in a safe space.

Not to mention, not all dogs that visit the Bark office are overly social, and a free-for-all could induce stress. For a smooth transition to office life, Bark has a dog therapist go through onboarding with every pup that will be coming in regularly.

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Stylish storage

Stylish storage
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

These sleek stadium seats allow employees to escape rigid desks and comfortably collaborate, but they also double as invaluable storage units. Hidden compartments in the benches keep the Bark offices organized.

Related: Chinese Mall Introduces Husband Storage Pods

Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play

Bathroom bonding

Bathroom bonding
Image credit: Aliza Eliazarov

Ever find yourself feeling lonely in your office bathroom? Bark has a solution: One restroom has side-by-side toilets so you can bring a friend, or maybe just crack a smile.

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  • Tour the Offices of the Makers of BarkBox, Where Humans Work and Dogs Play
  • 1. Welcome to the doghouse
  • 2. Imagination station
  • 3. Watch and learn
  • 4. Dogs must wash paws
  • 5. Let's meet over cheesy bread
  • 6. Sticker warnings
  • 7. Personal space
  • 8. Get cozy
  • 9. Sit, don't stay
  • 10. May I take your coat?
  • 11. It's 5 o'clock somewhere
  • 12. Dog lover luncheon
  • 13. Coffee + cartoons
  • 14. How do you say 'hygge'?
  • 15. You work, they play
  • 16. Stylish storage
  • 17. Bathroom bonding
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