Not so long ago, someone decided that our workplaces needed to be a cosy replica of our home. That was when all manner of white-collar workers were seeing their hours stretched and their home lives compressed, so there seemed a twisted logic behind all those sofa-clad break-out spaces, table football games, and fancy coffee machines.
But the working environment has since grown up, and technology is starting to take centre stage. Rather than flock wallpaper and mock sitting rooms, clever gizmos in slick surroundings are the order of the day. Think of those futuristic corporate visions on the big screen in films like Minority Report and Disclosure, places of work that add a cinematic thrill to the prosaic business of work.
Some of this hi-tech dressing can be put down to the fact that we’re coming to terms with the way our careers impact on our very beings. As Tom Vecchione, director of workplace strategy for office design firm Gensler Design and Planning puts it: “Work defines us. Our careers are the new diasporas, just like the cities we live in define us. The high growth, high volume cities of Shanghai, London and New York are these global gateways, networks of commerce. Diasporas of workers are living in these cities. Our brand and our values are the cities we live in and the careers we choose.”
We've rounded up eight of the latest in office designs from around the world, showing how architects are attempting to turn the mundane into the marvellous, creating commuter-friendly communes that don't destroy the spirit.