architecture · creativity · design

15 Amazing Creatively Themed Office Spaces

Hopefully it gets them in the right mindset and right kind of play (i.e. working rather than "goofing off")

If you’re part of a business that prizes creativity and innovation, inspiring surroundings might not go amiss. Luckily, some companies are moving away from the sterile-looking cubicles, bland layout and generally humdrum designs that can still be seen in many workplaces. The following 15 workspaces take a non-traditional approach to office design, and we love the results, whether they feature orchards or cupcakes. Check out some of these incredible places that people get to work in – although you might get a little green with envy.

See them all here.

architecture · community · culture · happiness · work

Does Not Having an Office Make You a Happier Worker?

Office Space
Office Space (Photo credit: steve-and-diane)

I read an article yesterday about “the next big thing” in office space. According to Uday Dandavate, the CEO of SonicRim, the next “megatrend” is going to be no office space:

Large working complexes will be pyramids for dead people. I’m not making a judgment. I am just observing. They are fading symbols of an era that is soon going to be a bygone era.The ideal environment is where people don’t have to go to a workplace. The workplace is distributed in the community.
Companies won’t be building offices; they will be building communities and nice places to work in those communities. It’s a fallacy that people want to stay at home to work. In a given moment they want to work where they would be most productive, or relaxed, in the kind of mindset they need to be in. We need to get away from constructing buildings that have flexibility to creating work environments that can evolve.

There needs to be a complex assessment of different moments at work. Recently we finished a global study on auto interiors for Johnson Controls. When you sit inside your car there are different moments that have different states of mind, going to work or coming home. Sometimes people want to feel their car is their home. At times people want the car to feel like a workplace. Take the same concept and apply it to architecture and work places. For any productive activity, not just working but cooking, reading, writing a letter, there is always a most conducive environment.

More at: The Registry SF

While Dandavate believes that the workers will be dispersed throughout the community, I’m not sure I entirely buy the idea that the central office space or main corporate headquarters is going to disappear. The emphasis on having everyone in one space my diminish, but there are a lot of reasons why having a central space sanctioned as “for work” is important.
To name a few:

  • Working parents who need a space away from family distractions, like screaming children and biting puppies. Or heck, noisy roommates for that matter.
  • People for whom going to the local library or coffee shop every day. This isn’t an option for a lot of people, even those living in big cities.
  • People who work very collaboratively and need real-time input, and face time in order to accomplish their work.
  • People who need more space to work than the kitchen table or their tiny apartment walls can provide.
  • Those who just need the peer pressure of others working around them to push through a hard deadline.
  • Extraverts!

Dandavate mentions a sense of identity for workers with the company that doesn’t require a tangible, geographical locale. I agree with his assessment that people don’t need a geographic place to congregate at to form a bond with coworkers or identify with a company, but they sure want one. Microsoft has a huge annual gathering of its employees in or near their homebase in Redmond, that most employees working from afar get really excited about. Traceurs (people who train parkour) will make pilgrimages to a small park outside of Paris simply because one of the sport’s founders filmed a video there. Elvis fans have Graceland.

Workers are also becoming more vocal about work vs. home life, and for many it is unappealing to have your work at home or not be able to leave it somewhere else (even places like Office Nomads you have to bring most of your stuff home with you).

Maybe I’m totally off-base, but while I think the workplace will become more flexible, we will always have the “homebase/headquarters” office buildings.
Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

anthropology · behavior · community · creativity · culture · mental health · play

Offices move towards more playful space design, but what kind of play is best for workspace environments?

More and more office spaces are trying to become more playful, offering employees a way to destress and/or get more creative. Usually that takes the form of having ping pong tables or video game consoles set up for breaks, but more and more offices are adding slides, swing sets, picnic tables, or other more active and engaging apparatus. They are also bringing in more greenery for workers.

This office may be the most fun in Britain as it comes kitted out with a giant helter skelter slide, a tree house and even a pub.

The unique workplace also boasts a pool table, a putting green, a giant swing and a cinema.

Office designers Space & Solutions were tasked with turning a former pub in Southampton into the home for IT company, Peer 1 Hosting.

‘If you don’t feel comfortable sitting at a desk you can sit on a picnic bench. The reality is that you can do your work from anywhere.’

Read more: UK Daily Mail

The article points out that some people may find all this fun a little distracting to actually work around. Some kinds of play are probably great at cutting stress but may be more of a time suck than creativity inducer. I’m curious what readers think. Are you one of those people who does their best work sitting on a couch, or heck, a swing? Do you prefer quiet and focus without any noise? Do you have a toy or plant on your desk you fiddle with when you’re trying to think or just need to destress?

Another question; do you actually use the toys and playful apparatus in the office? The office I currently work in has a ping pong and air hockey table, but only two people ever use the ping pong table, and I have only seen the air hockey table turned on once for a promo video.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

design · environment · Social

PONS + HUOT Office by Christian Pottgiesser » CONTEMPORIST

It already feels like Thursday, and it’s only Monday, ooy!

Thankfully my office space is a great space to work in and take a breather every now and then, and even play a little. And that idea of creating playful work spaces is catching on more and more.

The project accommodates the headquarters of two companies in Paris – PONS and HUOT – with a total of fifteen executives. Consequently the unit has seven individual rooms for each director and one open-space-office for the remaining eight clerks.

more via PONS + HUOT Office by Christian Pottgiesser » CONTEMPORIST.