When redesigning an office, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are countless websites and blogs devoted to showcasing impressive office designs. But with so many factors to consider, how do you determine what will work best for your space and company?
Studies show that an office’s design has a direct impact on employee satisfaction and productivity, making the key to any successful workplace makeover a synthesis of function and aesthetics. But no matter how many design industry reports you read, it won’t change the fact that because every space and company are different, there is no right or wrong way to design an office.
To help you narrow in on what will be right for your redesign, we've pulled together five interiors we love, with tips on how to emulate their design successes in your own space.
1. Essensys, London, United Kingdom
Essensys, a leading telecommunications company in the U.K., has a modern office with an open floor plan. The 5,500 square foot space uses the company’s black and green colors throughout the interior’s furniture and fixtures to personalize the aesthetic, while still opting for function over frills.
Image Source: Office Lovin’
According to Super Interiors, the firm that helped Essensys with the design, “the innovative company wanted a space with no boundaries that would stand out and could maximise interactivity and encourage everyone to think creatively.”
As a result, the design was structured around places for people to work together, making it easy for employees to collaborate, no matter where they sit in the open office.
How to Emulate Essensys:
- Prioritize Flexibility. Essensys’ identity as a flexible workspace market leader is reflected in their office design. With an open floor plan, chairs on wheels, and tables designated for group projects scattered throughout the office, the design makes it easy for employees to work together, wherever ideas strike. When redesigning your space, look for mobile and adjustable furniture that will enable employees to collaborate without having to relocate to a conference room.
- Consider local art. Essensys has wall-size artwork throughout the office, with a playful, graffiti-style mural of the company logo featured in their common lounge area. If you’re grappling with what to do with a high priority wallspace, consider a custom mural or hangable artwork from a local artist. If your space has lots of glass walls, custom wall graphics add a pop of color and can function as privacy screens for conference spaces.
2. MARK Studio, Cape Town, South Africa
MARK Studio is a boutique branding agency based in Cape Town, South Africa. When it comes to building brands for their clients, the agency says the secret to success is “to be remarkable.” Judging by the company’s office, which was designed by its founders Craig Keown and Frederick Peens, it seems to be a motto they live by.
Image Source: Office Lovin’ Photographer: Russell Smith
MARK Studio’s knick knacks and small details create a homey feeling you won’t find in most corporate spaces. From playful and eclectic artwork, to a rogue mannequin hand, colorful wine bottles, and a vintage robot toy, the objects on display in their office function more as an expression of the agency's culture than they do as decor.
How to Emulate MARK Studio:
- Have a Point of View. Or as MARK Studio would say, make your mark. Successful branding isn’t a packaged product, and neither is design. To create a space employees feels connected to, add decor elements that tell your company story or speak to company values.
- Bring in the natural world. Studies show that plants have a positive effect on air quality and that biophilic designs increase employee well-being and productivity. MARK Studio dispersed potted plants throughout their small office space and kept the walls white to emphasize the space’s wood floors and abundance of natural light. When designing your space, be sure to incorporate natural elements such as wood, bamboo, stone, and natural light to achieve a similar effect. Plants add a finishing touch to any room and can be scaled up or down to fit any budget.
3. Zappos, Las Vegas, Nevada
Zappos is an online shoe and clothing shop famous for their zany, customer-oriented, fun-loving culture. In fact, one of their stated corporate goals is to “create fun and a little weirdness.” Incidentally, this precept could also double as their interior design philosophy.
Unlike many office spaces, Zappos’ office personality comes from the employees. When the company moved into their new Las Vegas campus, each of the 11 floors was left with a dedicated empty space for employees to design and furnish.
Image Source: Wikipedia
Approaching work with positivity and creativity is ingrained in Zappos culture, so it’s only fitting they tackled their office design with the same spirit. In giving employees creative control of their space, Zappos’ HQ has become a tangible manifestation of the community and company culture they’re so well-known for.
How to Emulate Zappos:
- Prioritize fun. Instead of trying to make your office look like it fell right out of a magazine, focus on creating a fun, engaging, and comfortable workspaces like Zappos did. Common areas with recreational outlets like ping pong tables and video games facilitate personal interactions and remind employees that it’s good to unwind.
- Let employees in on the process. Zappos can certainly afford to deck out their offices with impeccable decor, but what’s so special about their office is that they chose not to. Get the team to rally around the redesign by allocating funds for each department, or into small personal budgets, so that employees have autonomy over their space.
4. Airbnb, San Francisco, California
Airbnb is all about providing unique accommodations, and that’s exactly what they did for employees in their San Francisco headquarters.
Visitors entering the 72,000 square foot space are greeted by a large atrium that branches into smaller rooms modeled after actual Airbnb listings. Lisa Bottom, a designer for Gensler, the firm that helped design the space, told Metropolis “we wanted to use the atrium as a front door to the Airbnb space.” By welcoming employees and visitor into homes from their site, Airbnb seizes a unique opportunity to put their service at the core of their design.
Image Source: Office Lovin’ Photographer: Emily Hagopian
How to Emulate Airbnb:
- Bring in your customers. Airbnb takes customer-centricity to a whole new level by creating replicas of real apartments. Consider how you can incorporate your customers, or the service you provide, into your own space.
- Think about your introduction. Airbnb’s office has intimate places for a quiet chat, but it also has a large atrium with an impressive three-story green wall. The atrium is the first thing that employees, partners, and visitors see when they enter the building, and we all know the importance of a strong first impression.
5. Trip Advisor, Needham, Massachusetts
Trip Advisor, the travel website headquartered in Needham, Massachusetts, just designed a beautiful new office capable of accommodating 1,500 employees. Their design accents and decor are curated around a theme of international travel.
As an article in the Boston Globe notes “each floor takes a different continent as its theme, so an Australia / South Pacific floor has ‘neighborhoods’ like Queensland, Fiji, and Samoa. There are rope fishing nets hanging overhead, and snippets of TripAdvisor user reviews from that part of the world hanging from cubicle walls.”
While those details add an element of fun and personality, the space has equally impressive functional design elements as well. Most notable is the space’s atrium, which the design firm Baker Design Group, explains “supports their constant need for team meetings and collaboration.” They also note that it can be “instantly transformed into a theater to support their all-hands quarterly meeting broadcast, streamed online to offices around the world. The Forum can seat 1,100 employees during the quarterly meeting, and is an extension of the café and dining facilities.”
Image Source: Office Lovin’
How to Emulate Trip Advisor:
- Consider Workflow. From intimate spaces that feel tucked away, to open social spaces that facilitate chance encounters, Trip Advisor’s 282,000 square feet is able to offer something for every workstyle. In your redesign, give consideration to the kind of workstations and flows each department needs, and aim to strike a balance between private and common spaces. If you’re working with a large space and an open floor plan, break up the room with wall partitions, plants, and cozy nooks to create options for more private settings.
- Make the most out of your square footage. Trip Advisor’s atrium design allows them to hold full company meetings in a space that also has day-to-day function. To get the most out of your design, consider cutting back on walled-off conference rooms in favor of large common spaces. When equipped with mobile furniture and customized technology these areas can be transformed into meetings spaces as needed, with minimal effort.
From flexible workspaces to offices that bring in the comforts of home, these five companies have nailed their office designs. Let them guide and inspire you as you embark on your own redesign, and when you're ready to add art to your space, let us help you find the perfect fit.