Workplaces – much like the work that goes on in them – have changed a lot since the stuffy days of badly cut suits and beige cubicles.
Somewhere around the 90s Internet start-up boom, techy 20-somethings began whizzing around abandoned factories on segways and tricycles. Larger companies began considering the benefits of investing in unique and inspiring working environments.
We all know companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have playground-esque offices with games, gym facilities, and plenty of open spaces. But what about other companies? We’re currently seeing a huge trend, where companies are finally realizing that creating a comfortable working environment increases productivity among their employees.
Who would’ve thought that putting people in jail cells called “cubicles” decreases their willingness, servitude, and creative abundance. I know that might seem a bit dramatic, but if you technically think about it prison inmates have more freedom that most office workers.
Today we will take a look at more unique approaches to creative environments for work. Enjoy!
1. Bahnhof – Designed by Albert France Lanord Architects
Built in an atomic bunker, this office looks more like a Bond villain’s hideout. Rather than laser-mounted sharks, however, it houses a humble Swedish internet provider’s data centre. Check out the diverse range of lighting, that ‘Silent Running‘ style work space, and the ultra-ominous meeting room!
2. Brandbase – Designed by Most Architecture
Created as a budget solution to a temporary space problem, this all-pallet office looks like a life-size Lego project.
Pallets were stacked, chopped, and arranged to form stairs, desks and even decorative features. The result is an office with plenty of natural wood tones on display, and a functional, but playful atmosphere.
3. Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Designed by Sader + Vuga Architects
Natural elements are all too rare in most work places. A shame considering they’re known to reduce stress, improve air quality, and always look great.
This cross-pollination between sleek futuristic lines and wild fauna looks like something from an apocalyptic 70s sci-fi flick, but the wild-overgrowth is balanced beautifully by well-crafted natural contours in the structural design.
Intelligently hued lighting brings everything together and makes the entire building look invitingly peaceful from outside.
Despite their CEO blogging about offices being a thing of the past, Virgin Airlines decided to put some effort into redesigning a lot of their offices.
Accommodating the fact their workforce was quite young, they implemented street-style art and quirky touches like ‘car-park dating’, Hitchcock references, chalkboard walls, and faux-wooden door lifts in as many places as they could.
They consciously stayed away from over-using the Virgin colours and branding (a good thing considering the outside world is full of it!).
5. Red Bull London Offices – designed by Jump Studios
Red Bull have exploded as a company over the past decade. Major sponsorships, F1 racing, and a knack for grabbing attention in any endeavour to have set the company apart.
They’ve continued that ethos with their workspaces – every aspect of this London-based office shows a unique perspective or creative flourish.
From flat-carved sofa seats, to a functioning slide alongside the stairs, to a rooftop reception that turns into a bar at night – this is one of the most interesting workplaces in the world.
As if that wasn’t enough, Red Bull’s centre of operations in their native Austria is just as diverse. Situated in the lush Austrian village of Fuschl, from the outside it looks like some interplanetary wood-burning aliens have landed their mothership.
From the inside, organic architectural shapes and natural tones contrast with modern iconography and vibrant colours. The company line is clear from this environment – presentation is everything!
Much like Slader + Vuga design up above, Thinkgarden’s office spaces blend the vibrancy and colour of nature with contoured furniture and equipment to create a working environment that has a relaxed and non-stressful ambience. Check out the hubless, freeform desk areas, the circular light-shades, and the pond-stone style seating cushions.
8. AOL Ventures
Did you even know AOL were still around? There’s been a whole host of changes at the company, not least their renewed vigor for engaging with bright young companies and cutting edge technologies.
Their East Village offices are a perfect reflection of that. Exposed brickwork, arched openings, and a vividly diverse selection of objects and art (check out that English phone box, it’s real!), and a neat balance between private and open areas.
It’s become a bit of a trend amongst workplaces to associate work – particularly creative work – with play. The science backs this up however, and one of the most popular theories is that a child-like state promotes creativity and innovation.
Nowhere has this been taken to such an extreme as the Inventionland offices – a real-life children’s story book come to life. Pirate ships, castles, caves, and race-tracks lie in every corner. It works – Inventionland licences out a new product once every three days!
10. Nothing Amsterdam – designed by Alrik Koudenburg and Joost van Bleiswijk
…And finally, in case all of that was too non-flammable for you, check out Nothings Amsterdam’s offices – built entirely out of cardboard!
Surprisingly, it works – through smart usage of the material’s natural details, they’ve created intricately ornate pillars, sleek-looking storage compartments, and effectively created a consistent, clean design. A perfect example of how a little innovation can give you something cheap, functional, and environmentally friendly.