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My ears pop. The thrust beneath my feet is confident and quick — 39 seconds quick, to be exact. In my mind, I try to take stock of my expectations. I’m excited. The elevator doors whoosh open, and we are here – 1,070 feet above the Bay Area, at the top of Salesforce Tower.

Finally.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me take you back — or rather, down — to where I normally am on a daily basis, on a much lower floor. Hi, I’m Laura of the Salesforce Blog team. Nice to meet you.  

When I moved into The Tower earlier this year, I assumed I would frequent the Ohana Floor, sipping a chai latte from the barista bar or showing it off on the weekend to visiting family members. I’d tell them about how modern and cool it was that the tallest office building west of the Mississippi River is also one of the greenest anywhere. I’d share that the top floor is all about community. Just picture the space full of people, as it will be in early 2019, open to employees, customers, partners, and community members — like non-profits and educations groups who will be able to use the space for events at no charge.

But The Tower didn’t just happen. The impressive design and construction — and subsequent installation of the world’s highest public art exhibit at the top — were an ongoing human endeavor. For months, I’d watched men and women in hard hats and boots file into the service elevator for a trip up to a place I hadn’t seen yet.

But now it’s Dreamforce, and a group of international journalists getting a tour won’t notice one more scribe, a correspondent from “Bloglandia.” Right?

I walk out of the elevator to find a beautiful, sophisticated space with hardwood floors, plush sofas, marble countertops, and fog...lots and lots of fog. So much fog, in fact, that it looks like a white cloth has been draped over the building. So much for those views! Every San Franciscan’s love-to-hate weather pattern, Karl the Fog, has struck again.

 

 

Despite the elegant aesthetic of wood and leather, the space has a playful touch with a color pattern of purple, green, orange, and yellow. Life-sized Salesforce characters — including Astro, Einstein, and Cloudy — give the space an approachable feel. “It’s made to look like an inviting living room,” says Michele Schneider, Salesforce’s Senior Vice President of Global Workplace Services and our tour guide.

 

 

 

And then I notice the music. A jazz piano worthy of any hip lounge plays throughout the space. I wonder what Pandora playlist this is before looking down the hall to see a man sitting at a baby grand piano. The rich wood of the piano matched the space perfectly. He sits between two columns covered top-to-bottom in green and red plants — some of the 12,000 plant species in the building. He plays with a smile, clearly thrilled to be here.

 

 

I round the perimeter of a walkway lined with large windows, hoping for a break in the clouds. That’s when I notice round blue stickers on the floor every few feet telling me to “look up.” I do so to find a porthole skylight in the ceiling peeking into the crown of the building. I make a mental note of how rich this experience is; no detail has been overlooked. Even the monumental architecture and engineering is brought into the space for visitors like me.

 

 

I should have guessed that just one Ohana Floor wouldn’t be enough. The 61st floor flows into the 60th with an internal staircase donned with an enormous autographed beam. It was signed at the topping off ceremony by construction workers, contractors, community leaders, government officials, real estate folks, and Salesforce executives, among others. It’s integrated into the design for everyone to see. I squint at it looking for Astro’s signature — I know it’s there somewhere.

 

 

I took another lap and what do you know, Karl gives me a break. The white fog lifts just enough to see reveal a peek of the Bay Bridge, Treasure Island, and the bayline edge of Oakland.

 

 

Wait, what? It’s time to go? I guess this place really is “inviting.” I get back into the elevator, resolute in the fact that I will be returning. This isn’t over. I’ll be back. For my chai latte.

 

Laura Woods is Editorial Manager of The Salesforce Blog.