Office design: the latest trends in workspace architecture
Corporate identity is expressed through workspace design. Draw inspiration from the latest design trends and evolving ideas across the realm of office design. Attract the most eager millennials and accommodate the most seasoned experts into your team. Work it.
David Kohn Architects
David Kohn Architects (DKA), working in collaboration with Nord Studio, has converted a listed Belle Époque interior into a new office for developer Euroboden. Located at Tempelhofer Ufer, the office inhabits the principal floor of the landmark Palais Eger built in 1881, a grand villa designed for a wealthy timber merchant featuring high ceilings, timber panelled walls and marquetry floors. Within these decorative spaces, the architects added colour, new materials such as Marmoreal (a nougat like engineered marble designed by Max Lamb for Dzek) as well as contemporary furniture. Inspired by Sir John Soane’s house museum in London, DKA wanted to capture an air of ‘productive domesticity’, where both work and cultural events could play out. Photography: Will Pryce
For design innovation studio Takram’s London outpost, Sam Jacob Studio has created a ‘raw yet refined’ space defined by a composition of frameworks and armatures acting as workspace, storage and partitions. White horizontal planks are supported by a series of objects and material fragments assembled through a method of stacking and piling. The result forms a material library of textures and shapes – cement board sits alongside marble panels, concrete next to timber, orange tinted acrylic tubes and reflective chromed pipe. Meanwhile powder coated steel frames create a skeleton of a kitchen and workshop space, and are also used for custom furniture such as the long main office table. As an international design studio, we value ‘collective openness’ and celebrate different viewpoints and skillsets – we wanted to reflect this into space through material usage,’ says Yosuke Ushigome of Takram.
NOOR Architects Consultants
This office for NYC based wellness company Nureca Inc occupies the first floor of Chandigarh’s commercial Madhya Marg. The brief required a mix of private offices, open plan work areas, break out space and a café and pantry for staff. The material palette reflects modernism, offset with vernacular twists. White terrazzo floor with specially sourced colourful chip glass from the historic town of Firozabad in India, was combined with brass millwork and a lattice for the reception, baked terracotta and red brick. Noor Dasmesh Singh, principal of NOOR Architects Consultants, brought together this confluence of styles to reflect the various layers of the brand itself through the design. Photography: Andre J Fanthome
Consensys, a blockchain software start-up, required a new office design for their five storey building to suit a growing team of diverse workers. Architects Neiheiser Argyros decided to approach the building by devising a new atmosphere for each floor – from the colour palette and mood, to the style of working. All the floors have in common a central ‘object’ that sets the tone for the floor, inside which are meeting rooms and phone booths. From this shape, a unique floor plan then grows. Each floor is named by its atmosphere, for example ‘The Laboratory’ with its light grey flooring, white furniture, and sanitized fluorescent light, is an open yet distraction-free focused workspace. Meanwhile, ‘The Library’ has cork flooring and dark wood furniture to evoke individual contemplation. Photography: Simone Bossi
200 Gray’s Inn Road
Conran and Partners
The ground floor of this Foster + Partners office building has been revamped by Conran and Partners to create a new arrival experience worthy of its high profile occupiers – think ITN Productions, ITV and Warner Bros. Inspired by the building’s robust materials of concrete, granite, aluminium and glass, Conran and Partners designed new interventions such as the terrazzo reception desk, oak paneling, green wall and velvet booths. Building up the aesthetic of a member’s club, the idea was to blur the boundaries between work and play – as seen in the new café open to staff, visitors and the public. Photography: Anna Stathaki
Selfridges Buying and Merchandising Offices
Alex Cochrane Architects
Selfridges’ vibrant retail personality has been translated to its Buying and Merchandising offices in a refit by Alex Cochrane Architects. The London-based architecture firm outfitted the 1,830 sq m Duke street location with a colourful, open new design. Cellular offices have been removed and dedicated desks are a thing of the past in a bid to drive a ‘roam and work’ ethic. The raw, urban interiors act as a backdrop for large hot-desk areas and community spaces, which include a kitchen, library, roof terrace space and ‘playroom’. Recycled materials were used to create the kitchen counter, benches and tables.
Infrastructure company Transurban required an office that reflected the modern cities it serves. Across eight floors of a new building in Melbourne’s Dockland areas, Hassell created an ‘internal streetscape’, arranging desks, booths, lounges and work bays into a ’village’ formation. Tree beds are designed into the floors, with corridors mimicking a city footpath, while hanging plants layer upon the timber vaulted ceiling and blackened steel joinery. Photography: Tom Blachford
AD Gin Studio
This new photography studio in Beijing is inspired by the photographic composition technique of framing within a frame. To achieve this, GB Space created a set of rooms interconnected by partitions that can be open-plan or isolated from each another. The golden ground-level divider is retractable and foldable, and rests between the main studio space and the ‘VIP area’. This 160 sq m space compactly features a pair of washrooms, a mini bar, make-up space, shampoo area and a dining room, framed by a translucent façade overlooking the core photography space.
Institute of Physics
Rather fittingly when it comes to their client’s line of business, TateHindle have created an ultra sustainable new headquarters for the Institute of Physics in London’s Kings Cross. The architects envisioned the space as a ‘living lab’, in a mission to make physics more accessible to the wider public. Apart from office space, the project includes extensive education and exhibition facilities, all within a modern and minimalist concrete envelope with timber accents. The structure, which replaces a series of retail spaces, nestles within a conservation area characterised by Victorian and post-war terraces. Combining two existing and retained facades with a new built 5-storey tall wing, the new home for the Institute is bright and welcoming, as highlighted by its open reception area and generous, oak-clad atrium and circulation core. Photography: Dirk Lindner
Unicorns & Lion
Berlin-based interior design studio Loehr was behind the design of this office located in the ‘neo-brutalist’ LOBE block in Berlin-Wedding designed by Brandlhuber + Emde, Burlon and Muck Petzet. The architecture of the offices has attracted artists and creative studios because of its open and flexible plan, wide outdoor terraces and exposed concrete surfaces. This was the canvas for Loehr’s concept that used colour-blocking, curtains and bold furniture choices intead of walls to divide the L-shaped office. After following the working habits and practices of the team at Unicorns & Lion, Loehr selected two chain-linked ENO tables to form a large-format workbench with Physix office chairs from Vitra and a Rope modular sofa in Kvadrat’s moss-green Vidar fabric, from Danish manufacturer Normann Copenhagen. Bespoke metal shelving, custom-fit cabinets and metal handles, in the kitchen were all tinted in the same terracotta tone.
Nendo has landed in the Tokyo neighbourhood of Kojimachi with its latest office design. Irked by the artificial relationships between office buildings and their exterior environments, the Japanese firm produced the eleven-floor Kojimachi Terrace. Tinted black glass is met with a wooden mesh framework that winds up the building, passing exterior terraces (that can be converted into sizeable meeting rooms) and rising to to a three-level ‘Sky Forest’ towards the roof. The weaving pattern is further applied inside, from the overhead bronze-coloured stainless steel lighting to the carpet, a bench by the entrance and the building’s logo. Photography: Takumi Ota
PMMT architects Barcelona office
In an industrial building, previously a biscuit factory, Spanish architecture firm PMMT has designed itself a new office that reflects its core values of inclusion and health. Putting the comfort and creativity of its employees first, the atmosphere of the space is uplifting and bright with linoleum flooring, ergonomic furnishing and plenty of vegetation. The office space includes areas specially designed for ‘forward thinking’ and ‘brainstorming’ featuring moveable walls and panels for flexible collaboration. Photography: Adrià Goula
Angle + Earl St. Studio
Architects Holly Board and Peter Grove have refurbished a studio shared between a property developer and a graphic design and branding business. The previously dark space was enhanced with peachy bespoke shelving, storage and a glazed stable door screen. The colour was gradated from the front of house overlooking the street, the central working zone and the back of house. The three tones respond to the daylight available, becoming lighter and softer further away from the light source. The concept was inspired by the client’s Instagram feed that features a continuous gradation of colour from one image to the next. Photography: Haydn Cattach
KPMB Architects office
The team at KPMB Architects brought the warmth from their former timber loft studios to their sleek new offices on the 12th floor of the Globe and Mail Centre. The minimal yet warm material palette of White Oak, exposed concrete and sustainable carpet tiles, as well as soft project pin-up surfaces made from recycled plastic, fuse a creative yet sophisticated environment. Four open plan workspaces circle the central timber-lined core and communal spaces for collaboration feature stools by Keilhauer, ottomans by eq3 and Klaus lounge chairs and timber stools. Photography: Maris Mezulis
Spacon & X
In Copenhagen’s meatpacking district, Spacon & X has redesigned Space10’s research and design lab to bring more flexibility to their existing space, which includes a fabrication laboratory, tech studio, test kitchen, event space, gallery, and flexible meeting rooms. A better connection to the community and the expansion of the office from 10 to 30 people drove the brief, and conceptually, a lot of thought went into how employees could be attracted back into the office and away from nomadic digital behaviours that reduce face-to-face creative exchange – and what effect that contact has on happiness and mental health too. A ‘chaotic’ open plan layout was brought into check with steel-framed sound-absorbing cubes and flexible panels that can be shifted into formations bespoke to use. Photography: Hampus Berndtson
Publicis Groupe HQ
San Francisco, US
This new office designed for Publicis Groupe, a global advertising, PR and marketing company, consolidates 550 employees into one location. Connectivity, agility and inclusiveness were key to the brief. A range of flexible workstations were designed with a base palette, that was then built upon with colours and materials to reflect the unique identities of each team. The Publicis Groupe wanted the design to reflect their inclusive values, requesting a mother’s room and gender-neutral lavatories, as well as a bright rainbow graphic theme that wraps around the whole office.
Campari Group North American and US headquarters
New York City, US
The Campari Group’s new Manhattan headquarters for North American and US features leather-wrapped entry doors with brass Camparisoda bottle-shaped handles that open up to a deep blue-coloured lobby, a red lacquer staircase and a floor-to-ceiling display of precious bottles in glass cases. Gensler designed the spaces to reflect Campari’s Italian heritage, while also embracing progressive workplace design. ‘The design vision centred around employee collaboration – not dissimilar to how the perfect balance of ingredients collaborate to create the perfect cocktail – with special attention to design details, such as proper proportions, distinct experiences, and an emotional connection,’ says Stefanie Shunk, design director and principal at Gensler. Photography: © James John Jetel. Courtesy of Gensler
Reinach Mendonça and SuperLimão Studio
São Paulo, Brazil
A fruitful collaboration between Brazilian architecture practices Reinach Mendonça (who worked on the overall building architecture) and SuperLimão Studio (who focused on the interior design), the Girassol Building is a new, freestanding office building in São Paulo’s trendy neighbourhood of Villa Madalena for creative agency Ampfy. Versatility was key in the project brief so interiors and shell had to coordinate cleverly and flexibly in order for the workspace to function as a series of separate smaller rooms and a single large space, depending on the occupants’ needs. The building, which stretches across three levels, was designed for dedicated commercial use, yet has an overall comfortable, domestic scale and atmosphere, making users feel at home. Site-specific art, large glazed openings that flood the space with sunlight (while also featuring appropriate shading where needed) and ample use of wood throughout work to that effect.
The Girassol Building also includes a selection of outdoor areas for workers to meet, eat or just sit back and relax on their break. A garden on the lower ground level (pictured here) is matched by a terrace higher up. Perforated panels over the glass doors can separate visually the outdoors areas from the interior when needed to secure the occupants’ privacy. Photography: Tony Chen
It’s The Flash Pack
This photography studio, workshop and office space in Dulwich was converted from a former industrial unit. Unfinished materials are combined with pops of colour and the architects opened up more space by adding a free-standing steel frame mezzanine. The lower level holds an informal meeting space, lobby, kitchen and photography studio, while the new level is an office space with desks.
Materials reflect the industrial character of the building: polycarbonate sheet subdivides different areas while filtering light between spaces, and florescent strip lighting has been used artistically – in the shape of a lightning bolt and embedded into a meeting table. The work pods, seating, planters and kitchen surfaces have all been designed bespoke by alma-nac and designer Elliot Macdonald out of a material made of recycled chopping boards. While the design was low cost, the architects clearly met the brief for a fun and personable workspace: ‘ This was achieved, in part, through the contrast of quirky, recycled and colourful materials with inexpensive industrial building techniques,’ says Caspar Rodgers, director at alma-nac. Photography: Jack Hobhouse
Start-Up Nation Central (SNC) Headquarters
Kimmel Eshkolot Architects
This striking new office interior is the home of SNC in Tel-Aviv, a philanthropy-funded and public-benefit organisation with a mission of connecting international businesses to Israel’s own ecosystem. The eyecatching design is the brainchild of Kimmel Eshkolot Architects who responded to the call of creating the headquarters of a company that champions innovation by pushing the envelope in its own way – and the project’s forward-thinking architecture. The architects worked on their concept for the convertion of an existing six-floor building by level. There are three main parts; floors for local Israeli technology companies; separate levels that house offices for SNC’s employees; as well as an upper level, which is entirely dedicated to hosting visiting delegations (pictured here). Here, a large rooftop terrace overlooking the Tel Aviv skyline and Mediterranean Sea brings the outdoors in and helps create a powerful sense of place. The space is designed as a welcoming and sleek whole that feels warm and domestic in parts but also maintains a strong contemporary edge.
The HQ contains workspaces, conference rooms, extensive meeting and multi-function floors, as well as exhibition areas. Part of the program is also L28, the company’s very first restaurant, which will include a rotating 6-month chef residency and gallery areas. This new creative hub sits right at the heart of Tel Aviv’s tech district and its neatly organised and sophisticated interior reflects the values of its architects. ’We didn’t want the chaos that start-ups live in, so much as a calmer environment that suits SNC’s higher mission’, says Etan Kimmel. Photography: Amit Geron
Zetta Venture Partners
Located in Jackson Square, San Francisco, this office for venture capital firm Zetta Venture Partners is a comfortable and serene response to workplace design by Katie Storey. Inspired by the owner’s upbringing in Australia by the beach, the interiors are warm and bright. Storey included an international mix of emerging and established designers, while also bringing in custom pieces and vintage additions such as Kentucky whiskey barrels. The office design departs from typically sterile working environments of other venture capital firms, bringing a unique selling point for employees and clients alike. The building where the office is located has a residential feel, like a townhouse. Storey founded Storey Design in 2014 and has focused on creating ‘resimerical spaces’ that create a ‘home away from home’ for employees. Photography: Helynn Ospina
Bennetts Hill House
Dunmoore and Run For The Hills
Property developer Dunmoore has collaborated with design firm Run For The Hills on a new multi-business office space. Located within a previously run-down Georgian bank, the new offices are spread over five floors and span almost 20,000 sq ft. Stripped inside, high ceilings, exposed concrete pillars and steel beams frame the new open-plan offices. Run For The Hills employed a sophisticated yet vibrant interior palette befitting of a youthful clientele. Shaker-style kitchens include marble worktops and dark-painted fixtures, whilst stylised antique bathroom appliances hearken back to the office’s Georgian heritage. Meanwhile, the studio spaces are wrapped in steel-framed Crittall windows, inviting a plethora of natural light inside. Writer: Luke Halls
The Testone Factory
Peter & Paul, Noiascape and Teatum + Teatum
This collaborative working space on the site of one of Sheffield’s oldest industrial sites was designed for young companies, with economic sustainability and creative exchange in mind. The fleixible working concept is the result of a collaboration between design communications agency and client Peter & Paul, commercial strategists Noiascape, and architects Teatum + Teatum. The concept is aimed at creating working space for the young creative population with lower rents.
The modern space reflects the context of the industrial site, where historically collaboration fostered innovation and growth. Peter & Paul take up residency across 70 percent of the site, while the rest of the offices will be open to other creative entrepreneurs and businesses. Types of working space vary from small affordable workspaces and larger shared spacew, as well as a public gallery space.
Photography: Luke Hayes
The redundant Waltham Forest Magistrates Court has been repurposed by Gort Scott into temporary offices for the east London borough’s Council. The design stripped back materials to reveal and celebrate the original 20th-century brutalist building. Working with a tight budget and time scale, Gort Scott completely overhauled and reimagined the dark, unwelcoming court house into a colourful and characterful office within just five months from inception.
Low cost and durable materials such as exposed concrete and plywood were used with colour for vibrancy, such as this forest green wall painted in a stairwell. Gort Scott designed a painted floor pattern that connects the spaces throughout the office. A lightweight fabric ceiling treatment hangs above the café and informal seating areas to bring warmth and variation to the office. Photography: Dirk Lindner
21st Century Fox Headquarters
New York City, US
Gensler has overhauled the 21st Century Fox headquarters in New York City. The space has been transformed into a completely open plan office, promoting a collaborative working environment. By bringing communal spaces and executive offices into close proximity, Gensler has blurred the office hierarchy, shaping an improved fluidity to the space. The executive floor features three defined spaces, giving the office a new lease of life. The gallery is a primarily social area, and includes a selection of props, costumes and archived collections from 21st Century Fox’s expansive history. A central screening room adorned with blue velvet dividers and rounded graphite lounge chairs allows clients and employees to engage with video content in a formal setting. Finally, a food and drink space features a Stumptown coffee bar and chef’s table, where a variety of meals are freshly prepared on-site. Photography: Eric Laignel, courtesy of Gensler. Writer: Luke Halls
Foster + Partners
Opened alongside the Apple keynote presentation announcing the launch of the iPhone X, Foster + Partners designed the $5bn Apple Park HQ in Silicon Valley, a loop of glass, aluminium, limestone and concrete. The building was designed in close collaboration with Apple chief design officer Jony Ive, and houses 12,000 employees in identical segments, as the building structurally repeats itself eight times as you move around it. The 50-60 storey main building, dubbed The Ring, is the hub of a huge construction effort, housing the 1,000-seat Steve Jobs Theater which features Poltrona Frau light-tan leather chairs, curved wooden floorboards and as much space behind stage as in front of it.
The office space in The Ring is, within limits, configurable. Teams can choose if they want to work in individual offices or open spaces. Each floor in each segment has a central area with an oak meeting table and glass whiteboards that open to reveal huge TV screens. More random interaction is intended and engineered to happen in the circling corridor and on the staircases (there are 32 in the building and they are a particular point of pride for Ive and the Foster + Partners architects). Each segment also houses a central atrium. The true hub of the building, though, is the café, with seating for 4,000 and one the biggest kitchens in the US. At the outside edge two 85 x 54ft moveable glass doors are designed to open the space up to the Bay Area’s natural benevolence. Photography: Mark Mahaney
David Chipperfield Architects
Seoul, South Korea
When David Chipperfield was called to design a new headquarters for Asian skincare brand Amorepacific in Seoul, one of the primary concerns that emerged was creating a building with a strong identity; but one, which would be intrinsically connected to its surroundings forming a valuable part of the city’s fabric, in both a social and architectural sense. The building, which had been in development and construction for eight years, to Chipperfield, ‘mediates between the company and the city. It shows how a company can participate in a larger community’.
Inside, on the ground level, the visitor is led straight through to the heart of the building. This is the building’s main event space for art installations, concerts, lectures and other cultural activities, where the architecture was designed to act as space for social interaction. These activities will be surrounded by a variety of public facilities such as a museum, a library, a tea room and retail. A variety of functions occupy the levels above and lead to the company’s main workspaces on the upper floors. Here, connectivity is the name of the game, with flexible office space provides ample opportunity for meeting and working. Photography: Noshe
Cino Zucchi Architetti
Located in Turin, the Nuvola Lavazza started back in 2010; and not only does it involve the regeneration of an entire inner city neighbourhood and the restoration of a precious historic building, but it also represents the perfect balance of looks and function. Cino Zucchi’s Milanese architecture studio orchestrated the site’s cleverly designed master plan, accommodating workspace for more than 600 people, including research and development. Lavazza’s headquarters have always been located in the region and the internationally iconic Italian coffee brand has made its mark there. Now, taking things a step further, the company sank a significant overall investment of some €120 million into its new home.
‘The new Lavazza campus represents a new way of addressing the relationship between a private company and the city it is based in, between a building and the public space that surrounds it’, says Zucchi. ‘In stark contrast to the concept of “zoning” found in functionalist town planning, this project revisits, in a contemporary light, the layering and the coexistence of various different functions typical of ancient cities, with a high quality environmentally conscious garden, a design school, two restaurants, an events venue, a museum and new generation work spaces. The sinuous and vibrant facades of the new offices and the trilithic porticos that lean against the historic buildings become the backdrop for a new park which in turn triggers the urban regeneration of an entire neighbourhood’. Photography: Andrea Martiradonna
Foster + Partners
Foster + Partners’ design for Bloomberg’s new European headquarters in London is the result of founder Michael Bloomberg working closely with Lord Norman Foster to create a progressive workplace of the future, a pioneer of sustainable design exceeding all other office blocks in its environmental credentials, and a stimulating place for its 4,000 employees to work. The formidable office is the first Bloomberg building that has been custom designed for the business, and it is also custom designed for its London location between Bank and St Pauls where the 3.2 acre site returns a lost part of Watling street back to the public realm, encompasses three public plazas and has a restored Roman temple beneath its sizeable mass.
At the base of the ramp and height of the triple helix ‘Vortex’, rippled surfaces of milled and polished aluminium designed by artist Olafur Eliasson mirror the blurred movements of passersby. This piece is one of six new site-specific art commissions found throughout the building and site that offer up holistic moments of awe throughout the day – whether walking through the lobby at 7am with a flat white, or passing through the arcade that intersects the two buildings on the way to Cannon Street. Photography: Philippe Fragnière
Maersk Oil Headquarters
Conceived as a single volume featuring a striking curved corner on Copenhagen’s Amerika Square, the headquarters for Danish oil and gas company Maersk Oil was designed as an inherently sustainable space. Planned to encourage collaboration across the company’s diverse businesses, the space is aimed at improving the employees’ work life, while being flexible and functional. Rocking a warm, Scandinavian look of sophisticated simplicity, the offices are clad in light coloured timber – a seamless skin of ash acoustic battens that wrap the interiors unifying a coherent whole. This, and its white plaster finishes and large openings (including long strip windows and a glass-topped atrium at its heart), make for an impressively light interior that feels both stylish and serene.
Cafes, informal lounges, benches and meeting rooms are strategically placed throughout the building to support interaction and socialising among employees. The central atrium is dotted with cognac leather seating and palm trees, which are arranged across a cool granite floor, ready to welcome visitors. These convivial hubs are juxtaposed by calm zoned desk areas across all floors. Photography: Tomas Bertelsen
Lemon and Hesse Kleinloog Studio
Johannesburg, South Africa
In Johannesburg’s Kramerville district, multidisciplinary design firm Lemon set up an office in a raw, industrial building there – a former hydraulic-parts factory – that had so far miraculously escaped regeneration. The stucture’s brutalist character was ideal for the mixed-use hub that would combine offices with production facilities. The three-storey 1500 sq m former factory was redesigned by Lemon in partnership with Hesse Kleinloog Studio to accommodate administrative areas, manufacturing, production, and design offices. With the studio’s work spanning from graphic to product design, flexible spaces that could accommodate multiple uses, from the traditional, office workspace to the messy, industrial and handcrafted, were a must.
Collaboration and cross-referencing between departments is invaluable in the practice’s daily operations and values, so ‘it was critical to have the entire operation under one roof’, explain Lemon. The new interior is now designed to encourage communication between the company’s 46 team members. Not simply a workspace, the new headquarters also functions as a showcase of Lemon’s work. The overall atmosphere is one of understated luxury, with rich fabrics, dark colours and refined, clean lines. ‘Our belief is that beautiful and functional spaces improve the quality of life’, they say. ‘When conceptualising our own space, we wanted to demonstrate how our products could be used in our “perfect world, a theatre for our work".’ Photography: Sarah de Pina
Monotype London HQ
Ben Adams Architects
Ben Adams Architects designed a new office for Monotype in London’s Shoreditch using decorative details to reflect the creativity of the company. The global typeface business known for producing Gill Sans and Times New Roman – and distributing modern fonts such as Helvetica and Frutiger – needed a bigger office to fit its expanding workforce and to suit its collaborative style of working. ‘We needed a flexible working environment,’ says Monotype creative director James Fooks-Bale, ‘A scalable space to allow for a growth in head-count and, more importantly, a space for different working environments: open-plan in places, but with defined quiet space and areas to spread out and collaborate.’
Designed to fit 32 workstations, the new 330 sq m space is versatile and adaptable. Bespoke plywood joinery divides the work space from the meeting spaces, which could in the future fit additional workstations. Designated meeting rooms with glass walls are named after the great type design fathers including Beatrice Warde, Stanley Morison, John Dreyfus, Walter Tracy and Tolbert Lanston and provide further space for collaborative working.
Den Haag, The Netherlands
Environment in The Hague, this glass-enclosed, 140m long structure was one of the Netherlands’ first sustainable buildings. Its distinctive floorplan, resembling a two-sided comb, incorporated a series of glazed atriums that helped the air circulate to regulate internal temperature in the style of a concervatory. A recent redesign by OMA, highlights Rijnstraat 8’s original intention, while bringing it to the 21st century. Architect-in-charge Ellen van Loon drew on her experience in designing government facilities and theatres, making the building feel open and visitor-friendly.
The idea of giving back to the city is key to the project. The first five floors now act as semi-public meeting areas shared with the neighbouring ministries. Situated just in front of The Hague’s Central Station, Rijnstraat 8 incorporates a ‘pedestrian highway’ used by thousands of people on a daily basis. This was created by enlarging an existing pedestrian passage through the building to the size of a plaza. Hofhaus, a cluster of cafes within the building, acts as a ‘city lobby’. Opening early in the morning, it will soon extend its working and partying hours to 2am, making Rijnstraat 8 available to the public for even longer. Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani and Marco Cappelletti, courtesy of OMA
Three years following the completion of Bestseller’s logistics centre in 2012, Aarhus-based architectural firm CF Møller created their second significant project for the family-owned Danish clothing company’s core operation. Located in the Aarhus port and surrounded by canals and lakes on all four sides, this complex functions as a 22,000 sqm commercial office for 800 employees, as well as a 24,000 sq m goods reception, car park and plant. Reflecting Bestseller’s scope and worldwide reach, the construction constitutes of a flotilla of buildings at different levels, ranging from one to 12 storeys. Devised as ‘a town within a town’, these are interconnected through several open-air atria, courtyards and roof terraces, all of which are reached by a bridge-like entrance.
Inside, the building’s ground floor is split in two halves by a strut-friendly runway ‘street’ and indoor plaza. From there, employees can access office spaces, showrooms, experimental store environments, photo and film studios, meeting rooms, an auditorium and a canteen. Natural stone lays the foundation for most of the interior, which is combined with dark oak to add warmth and texture. The office complex’s showstoppers are the many staircases interlinking the building’s many levels, with the opening look being the magnificent dark oak stairway found just beyond reception. Another stringent and rigorous design expression is the modular concrete steps with floating treads, as well as the cantilever concrete staircases featured outdoors. Photography: Adam Moerk
Richard Meier & Partners Architects
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Richard Meier & Partners Architects’s first office project in Brazil, led by associate partner Bernhard Karpf, is, with its crisp aesthetic, a significant addition to Rio de Janeiro’s diverse architectural backdrop. Hosting the new international headquarters of Vinci Partners, one of Brazil’s leading alternative investment and asset management firms, the Leblon building comprises a series of private interior courtyards, open office spaces and a collection of terraces, spread over 10 floors – three of which are subterranean. Meier and his team’s main aim was to connect the project to its context and Brazil’s architectural legacy of open, indoor/outdoor living.
A generous and bright lobby greets guests, appropriately welcoming them to the 74,270 sq ft space, featuring an abundance of glass, concrete and numerous vertical gardens. The building’s eastern wing was slightly removed from its neighbours, allowing space for the several internal courtyards dotting the site and supplying light to all office areas. The impressive design was also led by specific sustainability and flexibility requirements, making this a truly efficient office space.
Photography: Roland Halbe
The Hague, Netherlands
KAAN Architecten holds the contemporary working values of transparency and flexibility at the heart of its redesign of The Hague’s Grade I-listed Bezuidenhoutseweg 30 (B30), which has been transformed from a historic monument into a highly functioning working space for five distinct offices. Originally built in 1917, and designed by then-chief government architect Daniel EC Knuttel, the stiff neoclassical architecture of the B30 ministry building reflected the austerity of its time and the strict hierarchies of the government office. Later in 1994 it was then renovated, and partly demolished, by architect Hans Ruijssenaars.
Playing a role in preserving the history of the B30, KAAN worked with many original features of the building, while renewing and updating much of the design into an intuitive and less hierarchical design. Diverse spaces for employees and the public have been carved out including a restaurant, library, meeting and seminar rooms, a sunken auditorium and a café which opens up into the gardens with pivoting high-gloss aluminum framed doors. A light-filled public atrium, with a specially commissioned floor mosaic by Dutch artist Rob Birza, is positioned at the core of the building beneath a series of geometric light shafts that echo the original coffered ceilings.
Photography: Karin Borghouts
Cuningham Group Phoenix office
William Pereira, renovation by Cunningham Group
Phoenix, Arizona, US
Architecture and interior design firm Cuningham Group’s Phoenix office is a mid-century modern landmark designed by William Pereira. Completed in 1951, the Farmers & Stockmens Bank building is listed as a historic structure by the City of Phoenix Historic Preservation Office. Cuningham Group, which has its head office in Minneapolis, had its eye on the building long before the lease on its previous Phoenix office was up. The Phonenix branch of the firm, which employs 40 architects and interior designers, specialises in local and international healthcare, multi-family and senior living projects.
Cuningham Group took charge of the interior design to bring it up to scratch to suit their working needs. ‘The open and flexible volume of the building interior was already ideal for a contemporary work place. Our goal was to preserve that, and augment with simple, contemporary design moves that respected the original architecture. The linear forms of the millwork, materials palette and furniture pieces were all intended to create an “updated mid-century modern” feel,’ he says. The light flooded, high-ceilinged former bank lobby provided open space for meeting and collaborating, while the mezzanine level created a more private area for work stations and an enclosed glass box which Cuningham Group added for client meetings. The architects converted the stone-walled bank vault into different spaces, while preserving the historic vault door and adding tubular skylights to bring natural light into the otherwise solidly sealed space. Photography: CAPSPHOTO International
KAAN Architecten office
Due to an expanding studio, Rotterdam-based KAAN Architecten has relocated to new offices in the former De Nederlandsche Bank HQ, offering an opportunity to design a bespoke environment to suit its working needs and reflect its architectural philosophy. The robust brick facade of the building, which stands out beside taller structures along the Maas River near the Erasmus Bridge, was originally designed by Professor Henri Timo Zwiers between 1950–1955 and has an entrance hall decorated with mosaics by Dutch artist Louis van Roode.
KAAN Architecten partner Dikkie Scipio wanted to create a space which would encourage sharing of knowledge and also bring back to life the existing architectural identity of the building. Inside, the industrial-style concrete space has a wide rectangular plan of 1,400 sq m with high ceilings and large windows which cast light into the core of the building. Concrete columns delineate the space – as do vast connecting corridors between meeting rooms, informal spaces and an open-plan working area for the architects at the heart of the design. Photography: Simone Bossi
Buenos Aires City Hall
Foster + Partners
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Combining a cleverly functional interior with an environmentally sensitive approach, the design for the Buenos Aires City Hall aims to provide the perfect home for the Mayor’s office, as well as the 1,500 employees working there, while making a positive contribution to the surrounding landscape and the wider area’s ongoing redevelopment. The exterior is defined by the building’s distinctive flowing roof canopy, supported by giant pillars. A deep overhang provides shelter for the entrance plaza and protects the glass facades from the elements. Internally, the temperature is regulated with the help of the roof’s concrete soffits and a chilled beam system, maintaining a cool environment even in high summer. Louvres fitted to the western and eastern façades lending a helping hand.
The workspaces span four storeys, featuring staggered terraces and a visible open plan desk area that promotes communication and interaction between employees. The building’s full height glazing not only makes the most of natural light, but also takes advantage of its picturesque parkside location. The latter is mirrored in the interior design through the presence of leafy landscaped courtyards and elegant sheltered walkways dotted across the layout. The City Hall building covers an entire block within a previously industrialised area, south of the city centre. While designed as a workspace, the structure was also meant to become an active part of the area’s urban fabric. Apart from the office areas, it includes a cafe and a 300-seat wood-panelled auditorium, planned to house public events that will help stimulate relationships with the local community.
Wieden+Kennedy’s Shanghai office
For the redesign of Wieden+Kennedy’s Shanghai office, Dariel Studio stripped back the existing office space revealing the raw structural materials, then added new functionality and a sculptural framework to unify and inspire the space. At the core of the office, the symbol of the tree was used as a stylistic and conceptual design reference, reflecting the creativity and growth of the advertising agency – founded in 1982, Wieden+Kennedy now has eight international offices and a client base that includes major brands such as Nike, Heineken and Tiffany & Co.
Over the existing central staircase of the three-storey office, Dariel Studio used overlapping split joint boards, criss-crossed horizontally and vertically to achieve a three-dimensional cubist formation, abstractly resembling the trunk and branches of a tree. This visual component of the office makes use of the open stairway to further unify the spaces across storeys, creating a compelling focal point. Thomas Dariel, principal designer and founder of Dariel Studio, worked closely with Yang Yeo, creative director of Wieden+Kennedy, to reflect the working values and practices of the studio through the office design. Communicating directly with clients and visitors, a white logo mounted on black powder-coated steel plate is positioned at the entrance, which is located in a courtyard, while inside at the reception wooden panelling is warm and welcoming.
The Office Group co-working hub
Stanton Williams and Universal Design Studio
At the previous home to the Metropolitan Police at Albert Embankment, Stanton Williams have designed a workspace for The Office Group. Dreary cells have been replaced by light offices courtesy of Universal Design Studio, and a ground floor café run by young chef Luke Thomas provides a healthy alternative to the nearby greasy spoons and dingy pubs. ‘Generosity’ was key to Tintagel House in order to maximise light and optimise the spectacular river views. All 95,000 square feet consists of private and open spaces, decorated in a broad palette of materials that include listed elements such as wooden herringbone floors, swing doors and a red brick façade and contemporary terrazzo, brass and glazed tiles.
There are a few hidden surprises too; on the top floor a hotel style suite with a sunken bath and kitchen can be booked my members and a door marked ‘cleaners cupboard’ leads to a speakeasy style salon where CEOs only can congregate. Landscaper designers Bradley-Hole Schoenaich created green space within and around the South London landmark and what was neglected section of riverside path has also been revamped. Photography: Charles Hosea
#Cloud.Paris office complex
#Cloud.Paris is a 38,000 sq m office complex, located within walking distance from the Bourse and Opéra Garnier in Paris. Exane, one of major European investment companies, Blablacar, the leader in long-distance ride-sharing services, and the French division of Facebook are housed here, confirming the area as a hotspot for finance and digital businesses. Initiated by SFL, one of France’s oldest real estate companies (now expanding into prime office development), #Cloud.Paris was a major design challenge. Taking up a whole urban block, the site used to house the headquarters for the Credit Lyonnais bank and needed to be completely rethought.
Photography: Clément Guillaume