Posted on 11 December 2013
When the first pictures of the Googleplex hit the web, most people were startled by the wondrous delights on offer. Those who had never considered it before were suddenly drooling for a job with a company that puts so much effort into their employees and their surroundings.
Before Google, ad agencies were likely the coolest offices to be found. After all, you have to keep those creative juices flowing somehow - and interior design and architecture seems to do it for most employees.
If you are trying to motivate your employees, why not take some inspiration from some of the coolest offices in the world?
TBWA Hakuhodo (Tokyo, Japan)
TBWA is a mega advertising firm. They have offices in seemingly every country of the world. And although all their offices are unique, not all of them are as unusual as their Hakuhodo office. With grass carpeting and staggered wooden flooring (complemented by furniture you might expect to find outdoors), TBWA has brought the outside in. Although they have incorporated a minimalist feeling to their space, it has a far reaching appeal - especially for breakaway groups preparing to brainstorm late into the evening.
Try incorporating green carpeting with neutral walls, and a sprinkling of garden furniture for a similar appeal in your office.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
TBWA are not the only ones to recreate the natural world into their workplace. The Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has done the same, only they have added a funky Planet of the Apes appeal to this office. Large, white circling structures cut into the skewed linear appeal of the windows. The space is well lit for the jungle feelings it evokes. Desks and tables are modern which somehow adds to the dichotomy of this room.
If you love the appeal, but can't imagine redesigning your structure, add both linear and rounded paint treatments to the walls, and bring in as many large plants as you can afford.
Selgas Cano Architecture (Madrid, Spain)
Not all offices need to decorate the interior so that people can remember the natural world. Some offices, such as the workspaces of Spanish Architect, Selgas Cano use the nature around them. Set in a woodsy location, this office space puts one over simple floor to ceiling windows. Not only are there extreme windows, but they are also curved, so they don't feel as though they are there at all. Add to that some extremely simple and modern lines in bright colours and it becomes a true oasis.
Can't relocate? Bring in simple, rounded furniture and accents, and spruce the entire office with bright colours.
Saegeling Medizintechnik (Heidenau, Germany)
While we are on the subject of curves, you will want to take a look at the offices of Saegeling Medizintechnik, a medical equipment development firm. They have taken sweeping, and majestic curves to the extreme in both their architecture and their interior design. Inside rooms may remind you of something from a space movie while the external views of the building have a romantic, historical feeling to them. It is the monochromatic walls and dark plum carpets that hold it all together.
Even if you are unable to add physical curves to your space, consider some white on white paint effects throughout the office with dark carpeting to provide the same feeling.
Autodesk (Beijing, China)
This 3D design, engineering and entertainment software demonstrates just what white, or window walls can do when hit with tiny pockets of colour in all the right places. Although no two spaces are the same, one thing Autodesk likely has in common with your office is the need for actual desk space (which doesn't seem to feature in other incredible spaces). Autodesk's offices make use of basic colour techniques with a few well positioned, and visually stimulating pieces sprinkled about.
You can easily do the same in your office. Stick to white walls, colourful carpeting, and invest in just a few large accessories that complement the floor.
Pallotta Teamworks (Los Angeles, California, USA)
No one does white space with splodges of colour better than the Los Angeles office of the charitable fundraising company Pallotta Teamworks. Their office vision is mind blowing in its ingenuity. Repurposed rail crates create a visually stimulating space, but they also ensure that everyone has the same sized office. Primary colours add a playful feeling to what would otherwise be just a warehouse.
This look is a little more difficult to achieve on a budget, but you can break different segments of your office by using large, tall patches of primary colours broken by plain white. Without the height of a warehouse, make sure flooring plays a colour role.
Epic Systems (Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
If quirky and unique makes you smile, then you will surely want to take a look at the offices of this health care software company. They have a lot of space to play with, and they make the most of it by incorporating true to life features throughout their campus. From a tree house conference room to a hallway decorated to look like a New York subway train, common spaces at Epic are well, epic.
You may not have anywhere near the space, but you can theme each area of your office to reflect the personalities of the people that work there - think Louis XIV in one boardroom and 60s hippie in the next.
Bahnhof (Stockholm, Sweden)
There is no reason an office cannot be genuinely quirky, or look like a Doctor Who set, for that matter. This Swedish ISP company moved into a Cold War nuclear bunker and enhanced the structures that they found there. The effect is somewhat modern, somewhat caveman with a dash of mystic. Although it may look like a film set (and probably feel like one), Bahnhof have actually done something simple - taken a space and worked with it.
You can do something similar by juxtaposing rock wall features with clean lines and a clever lighting design.
Pixar (Emeryville, California, USA)
When it comes to playing to existing strengths, Pixar's California offices seem to have it right. They feel like a cross between university res hall (as you would have liked them to be), and a holiday you may have had in a dream state. They allow for relaxation (in a wildly overworked industry), and creativity. Clearly it is easier to be creative when you have it all around you, or when it feels like home.
Bring in different lighting sources to achieve a similar effect in your office, and create individualised spaces for the same mood.
Google (Zurich, Switzerland)
There is no question that Google caters to its employees needs (and desires), though you may not have been aware that they do it in each of their offices. Each one is uniquely designed, and within every campus, there is even greater diversity. Google has an unparalleled budget - and a commitment to their employees' creativity and well being which makes it difficult for anyone to compete with them (both in terms of product offering, as well as employee benefits).
If you want to achieve a Google like mood in your office, you are probably better off providing hot lunches every day and allowing employees to customise their own space.
But if you have the time, energy and imagination, why not try creating some inspirational settings of your own? The team at Birch Carpets are here to help you!