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Public Space

Not all design inspiration comes from private homes and apartments. Public spaces, which are often created by top architects and designers, offer a wealth of stylish décor and design ideas for your own home. HomeDSGN brings you an array of hotels, office buildings and other public environments that feature stunning interior design elements, alluring ambiance and innovative lighting. With a little imagination, these elements can be incorporated into any home interior design.

Down the Rabbit Hole Store created by Kilogram Studio in beautiful 100 year old space

By • Sep 12, 2019

In the heart of the city in Toronto, Canada, innovative designers and architectural teams at Kilogram Studio have recently completed the repurposing of a beautiful historical space as a retail spot called the Down the Rabbit Hole Store.

The first step in the project was to strip down the space that was already there. The intention of this was to reveal and showcase the beautiful 100 year old masonry walls and copper plumbing systems that were hiding behind a rather bland plaster walling. This exposed aesthetic brings the authentic history of the building much more to the forefront in the new space.

Despite the fact that this spot was already being used as a retail space before and is being renovated to serve as the same thing now, the nature of the project is still slightly unique in that the use is dual-purpose. Rather than housing a singular company, the space is actually now a co-location shared by a plant shop and a cold-pressed juice store all at once.

This means that the space had to meet some unique goals in order to satisfy the needs and requirements of both halves of the store. Within that, teams installed millwork fixtures, overhauled interior finishes, swapped out lighting, constructed a new storefront, and even did a little bit of landscaping. The overall goal, besides meeting functional requirements, was to create a space that fits the brand and identity of both clients, each of which melds and meshes well with the other.

 

The typical layout for retail spaces in the small downtown store spots of Toronto is often narrow, long, and a little bit dark. designers for this project, however, wanted to flip that around, brighten things up, and re-imagine it. To do so, they used Alice’s fall down the rabbit hole, from the classic Lewis Carroll story Alice in Wonderland, as their inspiration.

The store and the layout of the building is actually more of an experience than the average retail space already just thanks to the building and how it sits. Rather than having the classic street level storefront and immediate entrance combination that’s typical in most areas, this space features a small frontage leading to a laneway that leads to a rear garden that’s removed from the sidewalk level.

In this way, the choices and designers of store owners subverted the regular customer experience. This is actually indicative of a small and slow but very presence shift by small local businesses to actually get away from the classic storefront all together, reducing competition for space and taking advantage of newer and unique spaces by paying more attention to alternative opportunities just like laneway networks.

The fact that the store lies at the end of a laneway worked perfectly with the designers’ and owners’ fantasties and their Wonderland inspiration. The idea was to create an enticing little display at the street mouth of the laneway, leaving the actual storefront to emerge along the journey away from the sidewalk like a destination at the end, drawing customers into the space out of sheer curiosity if not actual desire for the quality product.

The Victorian-era brick building in which the store sits contributes to the old fashioned but intriguing Wonderland fantasy as well. The old brick facade along Queen West is patterned with natural visual texture and repetition but with the occasional contrastingly coloured brick or inconsistency that looks natural, interesting, and authentic to the building’s history.

The entrance to the retail space is a little bit tucked away, but not in a way that hides the store from customers and makes it hard to find. Instead, taking the path up is part of the experience. The garden outside, which meshes well with the plant store at the end of the lane, lets people pause for a moment in appreciation even as it draws people inside. There is even a lovely shaded bench here where people and their dogs are welcome to relax before visiting the store or when they come out with a juice.

The way the new store was renovated ties once more into the green world in how sustainable it is. Large inset doors take advantage of sun, shade, and breezes and create a fantastic cross-ventilation that reduces the need for powered heating and cooling systems for at least parts of the year (besides during Canada’s harsh winters).

Inside the space itself, the design was specifically conceptualized to address the needs of a food-based and a plant-based business. In fact, attention was paid to these requirements all throughout, with designers fully integrating those needs into the space overall. The teams opted to do what they could to deconstruct the spatial division between customers and staff, weaving the shop and the community that is fosters together so it’s more like a space to be enjoyed and less like a service place.

In every element possible, locally reclaimed, natural, and sustainable materials were chosen. This is true for the structures that actually makeup up the store’s layout, the furnishings, and just about every detail incorporated. This is part of what reflects and ingrains both clients’ ethos and values throughout the customer space and experience.

The space inside is fluid and accessible. The plants and drinks available for purchase are simply to reach and peruse but are also displayed in a way that makes them look like part of the decor scheme. The space feels fresh and new but at once somehow homey and old fashioned, perfectly paying tribute to the fact that the building itself has been standing in that spot for literally 100 years.

Photos by Scott Norsworthy

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Hufft creates welcoming, innovative office space for leading leasing company Mac Properties

By • Sep 6, 2019

In the heart of Kansas City, Missouri, creative design teams at Hufft have recently completed an overhaul and redesign of the full office space occupied by neighbourhood leasing company Mac Properties.

Part of the goal with this office redesign was to set the company apart from others in its field. What marks the real difference in terms of their actual work is that they are much more dedicated than many other multi-family property development agencies to preserving what’s already there and working.

Where other companies might start from scratch and implement what they think is best in place of what exists, Mac Properties would rather improve existing infrastructure and enhance the potential of neighbourhoods they already think are beautiful. In their office redesign, executives opted to apply the same values and principles; rather than moving entirely or totalling and restarting with the entire space, they opted to work with what was already good about the spot they had.

This decision to honour the old space and simply reinvigorate it was partially due to the spot’s history and a desire to preserve some elements of that. Before it was inhabited by Mac Properties, those same office spaces were used by IBM. There were, therefore, all kinds of great things about the rooms and what they offered that designers wanted to work with rather than abandon.

From the outset, the whole concept the new office’s design was based on was centred around and focused upon the idea of fostering community. The building’s residents are top priority in all the plans for the office, which revolves around connectivity and fostering a welcoming and interesting but homey atmosphere that makes them comfortable.

The office sits on the first floor where it is easily accessible to everyone who might need to visit. It is wrapped on nearly all sides in glass in order to create a sense of seamlessness between the exterior street level where the neighbourhood the building is in lies and the interior lobby space is. This is just one element of the office that puts the whole central idea of connectivity into actual action.

Although executives wanted to build a space that looks impressive and upscale, reflecting the quality of product and service provided by the company, they also wanted to make sure the space is an inviting one. That’s where the playful use of colour came from! The waiting space by the front desk features comfortable lounge seats and boasts a sense of warm hospitality designed to give potential new residents having their first meetings get a taste of the comfort and friendliness that might become used to living in the building.

Having been in the business for so long, Mac fully understands that some conversations surrounding new home leasing can be sensitive, so certain spaces were built with this in mind. Now, the usual process for potential residents is to visit the “property bar”, a casual and friendly public space where photos and information outlining different rental options can be laid out and perused in a way that is fun and feels low pressure.

After the options have been laid out, when it’s time to have more serious conversations about finances and contractual elements, designers built a separate space that gives small parties a little more privacy and a sense of quiet formal intimacy. Past the property bar lies a series of booths with break room amenities, specifically catered to discussing personal details and expectations.

After the options have been laid out, when it’s time to have more serious conversations about finances and contractual elements, designers built a separate space that gives small parties a little more privacy and a sense of quiet formal intimacy. Past the property bar lies a series of booths with break room amenities, specifically catered to discussing personal details and expectations.

These two spaces are actually beneficial for and available for use by current residents already living in the building as well. The break services and lounge area, in particular, are advertised throughout the building’s inner community as an after-hours social space where people can come to meet their neighbours and get to know other residents.

Perhaps our favourite visual element of this dynamic office’s space is the artistic ceiling feature in the lobby space and welcome area. This custom feature is build from pieces of wood trim that are anchored individually above the property bar and painted different bright, beautifully contrasting colours on their cut end. This piece helps define the space and contributes to a cohesive colour scheme that flows nicely throughout the entire space.

Photos by Michael Robinson

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Gorgeous Cedrus Residential building created by Next Office–Alireza Taghaboni in Iran

By • Sep 5, 2019

In the bustling heart of the city of Tehran in Iran, architectural and design teams at Next Office–Alireza Taghaboni have recently completed a unique and innovative housing project called the Cedrus Residential with the goal of creatively working with the spatial limitations of trying to build new homes in a very crowded city.

In cities like Tehran, architects face many challenges when it comes to infrastructure and urban design. The idea of making new buildings in a space that is already so over-crowded is one that, in many places, has started to require building and design teams to think outside the box and fit more homes and apartments into smaller spaces without getting unrealistic when it comes to actual living spaces sizes for individuals and families.

That’s why the teams on this building decided to build up instead of out. Instead of just creating a flat, unappealing looking facade on their tall building, however, they also opted to use the outside of their building as another spatial opportunity, giving each apartment a little more living space by creating a series of unique balconies all the way the facade, giving the building some decor value and providing residents with a bit of additional space and fresh air.

In Tehran’s specific social and political climate, designers were also faced with the challenge of accounting for the common fact that people’s public and private lives are markedly different and kept purposely distinct from one another. It was therefore paramount that privacy be well prioritized. This accounts for the fact that the buildings ensure a view from other places outside the individual apartments is nearly impossible to get thanks to strategically placed windows and the partial barriers the unique balconies we mentioned earlier actually form around each unit that has one, and therefore needs bigger windows.

Inside the building, the social and welcoming spaces like the lobby are very modern looking indeed, but in a way that is formal rather than intimidating or unfriendly. Surfaces are clean and neat, edges and lines are very streamlined, and materials and shapes are contemporary. This theme in materiality and atmosphere follows one into the individual apartments as well, but in a way that is slightly more cozy and homey than on the ground floor where one might encounter the public.

Perhaps the most endearing element of the balconies for both the residents in their private lives and for the decorative sake of those viewing the buildings from the street is the way greenery has been included on each one! Designers Kept the spaces looking welcoming and made them contrast beautifully with the otherwise quite urban scenery surrounding the building by including a small garden with a small, beautiful tree to shade the space at least a little.

Photos by Majid Jahangiri

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Innovative Aercoustics Offices created by iN Studio to inspired collaboration and productivity in employees

By • Sep 3, 2019

In bustling city streets of Toronto in Canada, creative designers and interior decor specialists at iN Studio have recently completed an office overhaul project on the Aercoustics Offices, a working space for a leading sound engineering firm. The company itself is Toronto-based, so it only makes sense that they’d want their physical representation in their home city to be top notch and of the highest quality! They aimed to create a new space that might showcase their standing as the go-to option in their industry, locally and otherwise. With 10,000 square feet to work with, the goal was certainly achieved!

Aerocoustics is most prominently known for their work in workspaces, architecture, and performance halls, having established themselves as the perfected option for sound engineering throughout the past 40 years. Now, they wanted a workspace that might show off their leading place in the world of industry relevant creative thought as well. Executives hoped that these new offices might better communicate the brand’s dynamic nature and range of services.

In addition to reflecting their eclectic business in terms of its multi-faceted services, executive also wanted the new offices to represent and cater to their relatively young workforce, providing them with a daily work experience that feels progressive. In an ever-growing company culture and an industry that’s always changing and updating, it’s important for the office spaces in which that work is completed and coordinated to “keep up with the times”.

Immediately upon entering the offices, visitors are greeted by the hustle and bustle of the office. This does not, however, occur in a manner that is overwhelming or unwelcoming; instead, the office feels like an exciting and inviting hub of activity, much like the city it was built in. The atmosphere is one of constant innovation and creation happening just beyond the threshold.

For the sake of balance and atmosphere, designers ensured that cutting edge technology and an emphasis on differing workspaces were balanced out with natural elements as well. Green integration was paramount in the plans from the beginning, with lots of plants and leafy displays set prominently through the entrance, collaborative spaces, and private offices.

The materiality of the office might look quite modern upon first sight, but it actually contributes to the natural elements of the aesthetic and energy flow as well! Much of the walls and surfaces within the office’s interior are transparent, giving the office a feeling of openness and connectivity, but also letting views of greenery and natural sunlight from the large windows pass through from office to office and space to space. The light flow from the windows feels bright and cheerful!

In order to let the greenery and sunshine really take centre stage, a rather minimalist colour scheme has been maintained throughout the office at a base level, like a sort of blank canvas. Complementing the plants, inspirational art and graphics have been hung throughout the space to foster creativity and stimulate productivity on a daily basis. These also create a sense of colour popping, which keeps things visually interesting without being distracting.

Of course, given that the company operates in the acoustics industry, sound was a priority in the office’s conception as well. This inherently influenced the appearance of the office as well; executives and designers alike decided that having an office with great sound quality for auditory work was more important than looks or adhering to the industry-wide idea that that good acoustic design is often invisible.

Instead, Aercoustics opted to let all the inner workings of good acoustics show! This gives the office an aesthetic that is at once casual and fresh but also quite industrial influenced. The double height ceilings, for example, have exposed piping and systems running across the tops that are visible in each room. An acoustical sprat was also applied to the ceiling all throughout the office in order to create ideal acoustic environments.

In terms of its spatial organization, the main floor serves primarily as a workspace. This floor features active meeting rooms, which are sizeable enough for large groups and boast state of the art industrial technology. Given that the company’s work involves sound, each meeting room is built to the company’s top specifications for optimal conditions, rendering the board rooms on the first floor almost like a testing lab for different services and products provided to Aercoustic clients.

On the upper floor lies perhaps the most unique element of the office. Called “The Bridge”, this piece is a cutting edge piece of technology that is a sound simulation studio and total industry game changer. It combines ambisonics audio with virtual reality video, allowing Aercoustics to create three-dimensional experiences from static data in new, unprecedented ways.

In work-specific practice, The Bridge allows the company to accurately reproduce all kinds of different acoustic scenarios. This, in turn, allows clients to hear and understand precisely how their prospective space would sound in terms of acoustics and sound quality upon completion. This is ability is something that sets the new offices apart and establishes them an industry leader.

Photos courtesy of the designers.

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Notorious and calming SLA Salad Bar created by Standard Studio in The Netherlands

By • Aug 6, 2019

On a bustling central street in Amsterdam, in the The Netherlands, design teams at Standard Studio have recently completed a new franchise of the well known restaurant SLA Salad Bar in order to account for how successfully the company has grown in recent years.

The original salad bar was launched in 2012 and has seen nothing but positive growth since. The latest evolution is the opening of this new location, which is the eleventh of those built all across The Netherlands since the first. With this new bar, designers were specifically tasked with not only making the new restaurant itself, but also creating an entirely new design for the store’s interior.

This goal goes above and beyond just giving the building a new look. Instead, the priority was to established a recognizable atmosphere and look that customers might consider typical of the brand, associating it with the products and services it provides and the values its staff put forward with the company name. This aesthetic will continue onward as even more new locations arise.

Of course, even within the process of building a brand and typical, consistent look, it is essential to do so from elements that might be catered to specific spaces and applied flexibly to ensure that each new location functions and looks its best. After all, having each space be an organized, positive experience is still the most important thing beyond sticking to a particular look, even when the store is trying to convey a comfortingly well known identity.

As you can probably imagine, the process of putting together and making individualized salads is, in fact, the central function of the space. This is why the salad counter, which features spacious prep surfaces and storage spots for many different fresh ingredients, sits at the heart of the space like a hub.

Once they’ve moved the length of the salad counter and have their meal in hand, the space is set up intuitively in terms of space, so customers easily understand to move onward to choose where they’d like to sit and eat in several different seating arrangements laid out around the shop.

The seating spaces are flexible and have been designed to accommodate all kinds of different customers and their needs, depending on who their party consists of and what kind of day they might be having or what kind of dining experience they might be looking for. These range from individual stools at a bar for singular people grabbing a quick bite to comfortable, more intimately placed corners suitable for couples who want to take their time together.

Since the central point of the stores themselves, no matter location or style, is the food, the SLA salad bars are always built at central spots in the urban places the company choses to put them in. This makes the tendency of the space to feel diverse, accommodating, and flexible even more important, since people from all different backgrounds and experiences are more likely to be customers in busy urban centres.

Precisely because of those city locations we’ve talked so much about, however, designers made it a point to establish an aesthetic that is also sort of calming. In short, designers wanted this particular Amsterdam location to feel like a momentary escape from the hectic contexts right outside the doors, like a slower paced place where people can come together.

Overall, the space is quite open concept, making it feel contemporary in its calming, peaceful style and sensical layout. Wooden walls inspired by fins delineate space according to function, outlining where staff work versus where customers are free to spend their time. Large windows provide both natural daylight and a view of the bicycle heavy streets outside.

One of the most interesting aspects of the space that is intentionally consistent from location to location is the inclusion of greenery right inside the restaurant (beyond the presence of salad leaf options, of course). Plants play a huge role in the decor scheme; some are live and potted while others, like moss and fern leaves, are dried and framed. Green tiles and other details included around the space tie the plants in well and make the space feel and look cohesive.

One element that’s unique specifically to the new Amsterdam location of the SLA salad bar is the “show kitchen”. This refers to the way the functional kitchen and all food prep stations are built with glass walls so that there is still a delineation of space, but one that lets customers in on all of the work that goes into their meal, providing what becomes an almost entertainment moment. This space is also used for cooking workshops that customers can sign up for in the store’s off hours!

Photos by Wouter Van Der Sar

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UK office of parenting company Mayborn Group Offices created by Ben Johnson Ltd to reflect their playful values

By • Aug 1, 2019

Amidst the calm but steady bustle of a town called Newcastle upon Tyne in the United Kingdom, a design company by the name of Ben Johnson Ltd has gone out of their way to create a friendly, playful, and accessibly motivating space for parenting products company Mayborn Group. Believe it or not, Mayborn Group is actually the head company behind the brand responsible for some of the best and most fun parenting products on the market, put out more directly by their secondary brand Tommee Tippee. They recently acquired a brand new large office space in North Tyneside, in a prime space called the Balliol Business Park.

This new office is all part of their global growth plans and is simply the latest in a series of planned updates. Just because it’s not the last, however, doesn’t mean it isn’t their most impressive space yet! The goal of designers was to mirror the fun, playful, and colourful image associated with their brand in the decor, aesthetic, and atmosphere of their work and break spaces.

At the forefront of the plans when this office was first conceptualized was the idea to make a global headquarters that might regularly enhance the experience of the company’s employees in simple, daily ways. It was also important to company executives that the space “bring parenting to life”.

In short, teams wanted to create a fun, collaborative workplace of the kind that employees can take pride in working at. They wanted their atmosphere to attract talent at the same time as it reflects the image and strength of the brand on a scale that makes it truly recognizable internationally.

Compared to its original office, the company’s new space encompasses a working area that is nearly double in size, spanning 33,000 square feet. This works very well in line with the company’s goals of expansion, giving them space to accommodate the new employees and spacial needs that will inevitably come along with a growing working infrastructure and a need for even more diverse kinds of talent as that takes place.

The atmospheric building begins immediately when guests enter through the front doors. Designers went out of their way to establish a reception space that is extremely welcoming, highly engaging, and interesting in the way it appeals to newcomers. The style of furnishing and decor relies heavily on the kinds of curved lines that mirror those seen in the company’s logo.

The brand is well known for and bears a strongly established colour scheme. This is heavy in cyan, gold, and pink, which contrast well against the clean white background provided by the walls of the area, which have been kept intentionally clean and minimal looking in order to allow the shapes and colours elsewhere to take centre stage.

Colour and shape aren’t the only details that add some personality to the space. Designers actually chose to get extra creative in a way that makes use of novelty and gets crafty with unconventional supplies. Possibly our favourite example of this is the reflective, clear glass chandelier that also features several dangling baby’s bottles, hanging about the stairwell.

Of course, it would be remiss to design an entire office around the values of parenting and all it encompasses without providing a space that is catered to actual working parents. This is why the office’s large ground floor features a meeting area that, right outside its doors, features several spaces specifically designed for kids to play in while their parents conduct business.

The first of these kids’ spaces is a play park and the second is a faux beach area complete with its own trees, colourful and rainbow inspired picnic tables, and swinging chairs suspended from the ceiling. This space might be geared towards kids, but its sized for humans of any age and adults who are waiting for meetings are encouraged it to use it just as much!

In keeping with the kitschy upcycled baby bottle theme, designers custom made the office a truly giant and wonderfully illuminated Tommee Tippee logo from 800 colourful and very real baby bottles. This glows above several private small meeting rooms, each one themed around different toddler activities concentrated on by Mayborn’s various global locations.

Each of the individually themed meeting rooms is highly decorated to the utmost creative degree, making conducting work there more of an experience than a regular workday chose. Additionally, each one is fully equipped with a mother and baby feeding room. The themes of the meeting spaces include a garden, an American diner, a surf club, a tea room, and a library.

Of course, any workplace that truly wants to make their office the best experience for their employees needs a break space that will match how great their workspaces are! That’s why these designers chose to create an entire break wing that features a large variety of spaces centred around comfort. These include colourful seating zones, a cafe, and a lounge with tiered seating.

Entertainment during break times is important to the company for their employees as well. For those who don’t feel the need to rest on their breaks, there are televisions, pool tables, and differently arranged seating spaces designed for informal group seating. Sometimes these spaces are even used for large group presentations so that people can relax during those that are informal.

This all takes place on the ground floor! Above that, on the first and second floors, are more formal workspaces that are a little bit less novelty and a little more business oriented. They are still aesthetically aligned with the quirky style presented in reception and they still follow the colour scheme; they are simply the necessary designated “business wing” that every head office needs.

The business wing is fully equipped with the latest office technology and is laid out in a way that makes everything feel like it has good flow. These floors feature more conventional working areas for those who need more structure for concentration, as well as a plethora of comfortable meeting areas, some fun and colourful multi-purpose booths, and even some sound proof booths for those who need a little extra privacy and concentration on special projects. Each business floor also features a cheerful kitchen area!

Besides the colours, themes, and branding, some things were intentionally prioritized to really make sure the space is as welcoming and conducive to productivity as possible. Large windows ensure that each room on each floor is filled with an abundance of natural sunlight while birchwood details and a large element of greenery (including whole indoor trees) ground the space, provide natural contrast, and create a sense of contentedness and calm.

Photos by Jill Tate

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Innovative AstraZeneca Offices created by SpaceInvaders to provide a unique and engaging space for employees

By • Jul 30, 2019

In a little British town called Macclesfield, creative design teams from the uniquely named architectural firm SpaceInvaders have recently finished a complete overhaul of a new office space designer to work as a head quarters for a company called AstraZeneca.

From the outset, the design teams and the company alike wanted to make sure the whole space was approached from a progressive perspective. They wanted to make sure that the place caters to productivity and workplace respect and needs, but also that it feels fun, welcoming, and comfortable enough that employees actually enjoy the time they spend there, letting them create better work in the end.

By the time they reached the end of the project, designers had actually achieved exactly that! In fact, they found it so successful that the office now serves as a guideline for all of their other locations when it comes to layout, aesthetic, and functionality. This is often the case with head offices, of course, but this biopharmaceutical company found their own brand new design particularly well suited to their needs and efficient to recreate elsewhere too.

Once conservative and stereotypically “stuffy” in its style and function, this workplace has undergone a complete transformation in both its style and its mentality, culture, and way of working. The space is now much more free flowing, both in physical movement and communication. It is also much more technologically equipped and filled with more colour and personality.

Perhaps the biggest changes in space and aesthetic took place in the meeting rooms, which are now much more open, diverse, and geared towards collaboration. The break rooms, on the other hand, have been enhanced and geared towards actually giving employees a solid physical and mental break so they can go back to work feeling more genuinely refreshed and prepared. One spot even features a foosball table!

Elsewhere in the office, more classic workspaces do exist for those who thrive better in more disciplined setups and need a little more quiet or privacy. Besides the group work driven meeting areas in the centre, there are also tables, as well as comfortable booths where clients might be met, meetings might be held, or breaks might even be taken.

All throughout the space, colour popping plays a roll in livening up the space no matter which part you’re sitting in or how you’re using it. The dominant colour scheme is quite neutral and balanced with white, right onto the ceiling thanks to interestingly shaped pendant lights. Contemporarily shaped furniture pieces bring the colour pops in, adding red, green, and blue to the mix to add a bit of dimension and interest.

Photos by Gareth Gardner

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Artistic and contemporary Pilevneli Gallery created in Turkey by Emre Arolat Architecture

By • Jul 29, 2019

In Turkey’s capital city of Istanbul, creative teams at Emre Arolat Architecture have recently completed a redesign and rebuilding of a stunning art spot to establish the Pilevneli Gallery; a place that blends new art with adapted old urban spaces.

The Pilevneli Gallery is one small part of a larger, country-wide effort to repurpose and revitalize old, often run down city buildings and spaces in order to give them a new lease on life in ways that enrich and invigorate the social fabric and highlight pieces of local art and culture for admiration and appreciation.

For this gallery, designers transformed an empty building in the Dolapdere neighbourhood in the Turkish district of Taksim. This spot actually sits right in the heart of the area we mentioned that is currently undergoing larger updating efforts that are focused on the reuse of space for arts and culture. Sitting on a main street, the new structure commands attention from the street.

The gallery grabs one’s eye at first thanks to its shape. Compared to the older, more historical buildings typical of the area, this structure is minimalist, linear looking, and extremely neat. Besides being quite cubic in its shape, the building makes unique use of space in the form of several void spaces amidst its volumes.

As Recently as five years ago, this area of the city of Istanbul was quite run down and considered underprivileged. Its central location and proximity to commercial districts, however, makes it such a perfectly located neighbourhood that letting it become dilapidated was deemed not an option by the city and local designers.

Now, it has become a slightly unplanned but overall colourful, eclectic, and unique area of town chalk full of small businesses and local firms running out of small, old buildings that have been refurbished to counteract weathering and age. The street on which the gallery sits is also home to boutique hotels, several other galleries, and even more than one museum.

Above all other priorities, this particular design team wanted to make sure they avoided what often happens in neighbourhood overhauls, which is the eradication of original buildings and therefore part of the city’s history. Instead, they wanted to preserve as much of the building and street context as they could while still improving on the structure and making the interior far more contemporary.

The rough fire brickwork found on both the exterior and in several indoor spots, like the stairwells, is a great example of how designers took a blended approach, hitting the mark somewhere between redoing and revamping. These walls received a few new spots in the brickwork to repair damage and then certain spots were painted, resulting in a minimally repaired look that matches the original and pays it tribute but still looks new and stands stronger.

The situation for support and core strength of the building was similar. Existing columns and beams that still stood tall and undamaged were cleaned up and preserved to the best possible degree, while a few additional supports were built in spots where damage, advanced wear and tear, or weak spots were present, thus giving the building a stronger frame.

Once the original aspects of the building had been restored, designers took a turn with their approach and built the primary art display space of the gallery like a contrastingly modern and contemporary looking inset in the north-east end. Laid out like an actual experience, rather than just a few paintings hanging on the walls, the space is built like a clean, sharp looking white cube.

This spot creates a stunning and rather stark contrast with the naked brick of the old structure. The white exhibition walls help the art pieces pop and stand out, while the presence of brick and beams nearby add local and contextual context without distracting from the artistic experience itself.

Everything in this space was quite strategic in its colour, materiality, placement, and so on, right down to the windows. In fact, the placement of the windows actually plays a huge role in the experience! Designers chose to seclude certain parts of the gallery behind solid walls that can’t be seen from outside the building at all, but other spots have carefully placed windows that intentionally show certain parts of the neighbourhood where the sights laying outside in the neighbourhood show off a bit of the local culture and incorporate the scene into the gallery itself like a sort of live art.

Photos by Thomas Mayer

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Norwegian Aker BP Offices adopt a “work from wherever” format thanks to Magu Design

By • Jul 26, 2019

In the bustling urban area of Stavanger in Norway, creative design teams at the firm Magu Design have recently completed a brand new “work from wherever” style office for European oil company Aker BP.

In terms of its function and layout, the office is entirely activity based. This was intentional to provide employees that choose to come and share the office space on any given day rather than working from home. Designers and executives also wanted to make a space that is diverse, flexible, and open to movement throughout the day, letting people change where and how they’re sitting throughout the day according to whatever they find comfortable.

The office might look fun, informal, and quite casual, but it’s actually an extremely efficient, well equipped, and very productive indeed. Underneath its unique decor, shapes, and interesting details, the office actually has a distinct sense of subtle luxury, offering just about anything and everything an employee or client could possibly need throughout the day.

Since aspects of the company are digitized in a cutting edge way, designers opted to incorporate that emphasis on technology right into the office itself. In particular, they wanted to fully enable the running of a specific department within the company called Eureka.

The Eureka department is diverse and ever-changing, meaning they require a space that can match those same characteristics. The structure of the teams varies depending on the project they’re working on. Some days, the department splits up into very small crews and works quite independently, but at other times everyone will work together in a much larger team, occupying a whole floor in the office’s building for a number of weeks or even a few months at a time.

Because of the team’s constantly changing needs, the space really was catered towards active work and activity. Because all space is shared, there is an office-wide policy that ongoing work will be cleared and stored elsewhere by the end of the night rather than left where it is, since there are no fixed desks across the space and everyone moves around quite fluidly from day to day.

Of course, some employees and projects will naturally require a slightly more concrete, isolated, and focused space in which to produce their work. This is why designers built and established a quiet zone on each floor; an area that, while not cut off or too isolated, is specifically intended and built for more concentrated or possibly individualized work.

There are also several more traditionally laid out quiet rooms that are slightly more set aside from the main diverse spaces, just in case that’s what employees need during any give project instead. These are actual rooms with desks and chairs. These are in the minority, however, because most of the work required by the company is inherently collaborative.

Another rather unique aspect of the office is the nature of the meeting spaces. Rather than outlining a few isolated rooms that book up quickly and result in a waiting list for things that should be dealt with sooner, the office shifted to the idea of more diversely located and laid out meeting booths and spaces. These make each meeting feel like a focused experience but also a break from routine, making them feel more interactive than intimidating. This layout also means that there is always some kind of meeting space available.

Besides being diverse within themselves, the different zones and meeting areas built into the space are also nearly free of delineation, making them feel quite seamless and fluid. The presence of cutting edge technology is also limitless, as it is present all over to account for the fact that meetings are intended to be had anywhere that feels right to the people involved.

Besides its layout and interesting use of shape, designers actually also incorporated an inspiration theme in terms of art inclusion and decor. If you look at the details and some of the decor pieces, you might see the way they informed their space after themes present in the classic tale Alice in Wonderland and the process of her falling down the rabbit hole to experience another world. Executives and designers wanted employees and clients to feel like they are seeing the world through new eyes, complete with a new way of doing things.

Photos by Arne Bru Haug

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Flexible and brand new Intarcia Offices created by ACTWO to take advantage of light and highlight art in the workplace

By • Jul 26, 2019

In the busy city centre of Boston, Massachusetts, conceptualization teams from architectural firm ACTWO have created a brand new head office space for biopharmaceutical firm Intarcia Therapeutics.

Among their main goals, designers and the firm alike aimed to make a space that is both pleasant to use and efficiently, fully functional all at once. They wanted to build a space that is welcoming and enjoyable to work in but that is also equipped for maximum productivity and easy working, individually or together.

Besides the spaces and resources that are geared specifically towards work and production, designers also made it a high priority to include original works of art from local artists and creators all over the office. These not only inject some immediate culture and personality into the space but they also set a stunning atmosphere and serve to motivate those thinking and working within the space.

One of the most subtle and unique aspects of the working space is the way it plays with light. That might not sound like something that would really influence an individual’s average work day, but it’s actually scientifically proven that light plays a large role in people’s ability to concentrate and work productively. That’s why designers made light such an integral part of this office.

Flexibility was a key factor in how they did this. Using unique, clean white LED lighting sources and natural sunlight from large glazed windows, designers created a beautiful balance within the space according to function. The best part is that all lighting is adjustable thanks to dials and curtains, making the meeting and work spaces easy to cater to depending on the needs of who is using the space at that time.

The windows do more than just provide a wondrous level of sunlight to each of the office corners. They also give employees and visitors a stunning view that makes one feel refreshed and motivated. Because it sits high on the 13th floor of a large corporate building, every room in the office is afforded a breathtaking view of the seaport below.

Following that same theme of beautifully motivating visuals, designers opted to use art right there in the space to give it character and personality, but also to create an atmosphere of creativity and inspiration. The pieces included in the office are original works of art created primarily by local artisans from the area.

The combination of the carefully balanced light that flows throughout the office and the way it plays off of and changes the experiences of the art creates not just an interesting aesthetic but also a welcoming and very restful atmosphere. This is particularly true in the spaces that designers specifically laid out for working breaks, which are essential to a productive work day.

Believe it or not, the larger main office space that you see in most of the photos isn’t actually the only part of the space. The second floor of the same building is actually an expansion of Intarcia, acting as a separate office suite. This office has much of the same decor and atmosphere, as well as flexible partitions that let users tailor the space to their needs. This suite is often used for training purposes, conferences, and larger worth gatherings.

Photos by Greg Premru

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Pita Arquitetura give Latin America’s largest travel agent, Decolar, a head office transformation

By • Jul 25, 2019

In the city centre of Barueri, Brazil, innovative designers at Pita Arquitetura have recently completed a stunning office transformation for a brand new brand of the travel agency Decolar.

This company is actually the largest online travel agency in all of Latin America. They have offices in several places across the continent despite functioning primarily as an online service, but this new space is designed to provide more of a central hub for the company’s organizational elements despite not being officially designated an actual “head office”.

Because the company has been going through so much growth lately, executives made the decision to build a new office that might act like a hub for a lot of its organizational operations. They also needed a larger workspace for their employees than they had access to earlier thanks to the way the company has grown. They took this as an opportunity to build an office that is a little more connected to the company’s vision and working style than their previous space was.

Previously located near Sao Paulo’s international airport, in a city called Guarulhos, the office has undergone a relaxation and focus based transformation intended for the better of employees and clients alike, despite its change in scenery. This is partially because the new area is slightly more metropolitan, giving prospective clients better access to its services and customer representatives.

One unique challenge within this move was actually extraneous to the new space itself but integral to the inner workings of the company’s staff. After the move, the company intended to keep the same teams, but they knew that moving the office to Barueri would increase the distance of travel required each morning for those who were used to working in Guarulhos.

In order to make up for this change in commute, executives and designers together decided to concentrate on what employees actually use, want, and need in order to create a new working space that’s simply so good, welcoming, and comfortable that it makes the further distance traveled by those employees living closer to the previous location feel genuinely worth it.

At its base, the office was rooted in the concept of connection. Designers wanted all spaces to be connected in order to enable all teams within their workplace systems to be connected. This was inspired by the belief that, in some way, all people are connected; a concept that is very well linked to the travel industry. In order to build these connected spaces, design teams employed the benefits of the curve.

By this, we mean that the rooms, spaces, furnishings, and features all have a distinct curvature to them. This creates a sense of flow, as though nothing is cut off from anything else. The visual of so many complementary curved shapes appears to guide employees through the office. Designers enjoyed creating a space that bears a sense of curiosity, as though one might discover something great beyond the next bend in their path.

Materiality was chosen quite intentionally in this space, as a complementary piece and a sort of grounding to the curving shapes. Bright colours pop well against a natural wood that provides a lightly coloured palette, contrasting against the brighter hues. Most floors and work stations feature this neutrality while inner booths and stunning greenery hanging from the ceiling create visual interest.

Designers also contracted local artists to create stunning street art inspired murals and pieces within certain areas, like meeting spaces and break rooms. This brings a sense of local culture to a place that encourages people to experience all kinds of cultures and inspires those who work there on a daily basis.

At the heart of the office is a mutual and collaborative productivity space called “the work cafe”. This is where all other spots lead to, converge, and connect, like a nucleus. Designers created this to be a space where people from all different departments, floors, and so on can meet, discuss, rest, eat together, or even get work done with some different scenery than usual.

Within this work cafe, all of the tables, chairs, modular couches, and “meeting cubes” are movable. This makes the space diverse and customizable, truly catering it to the needs, comforts, and preferences of any type of employee or client doing just about any task. This free-work atmosphere is one of the many elements that keeps employees from farther away happy enough with the space to keep working in the new office despite the lengthier commute.

Photos by Renato Navarro

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Russian Align Technology Offices created by OFFCON to prioritize employee mental health and motivation

By • Jul 24, 2019

In the busy urban centre of Moscow, Russia, cutting edge design teams at OFFCON have recently revamped and overhauled a large space in order to make a fantastic new international office for a medical device industry leader called Align Technology.

The headquarters of the company is actually located in San Jose, California, but this new office in Moscow is part of the company’s latest initiatives to branch out internationally and increase the reach of the benefits of their products. The branch itself has been established for a few years now but as the company grew and found a need to hire more local staff, the need for a larger, more efficient office became more and more apparent.

The new space in Moscow is situated in a large, well located business centre called Meshcherin. It was built to comfortably “house” a team of 250 people in total, many of whom work at precisely the same time. It’s undoubtedly a busy office, but one of the goals was to cater the space such that it actually feels quite relaxing and casual on a day to day basis.

Besides helping to avoid building a space that feels frantic or crowded, designers also wanted to work with executives to cater the space for more comfort and efficiency according to what employees from that specific company feel they benefit from the most. To do this, teams analyzed several of Align’s existing offices in order to figure out which spaces, aspects, and features are the most used and the most beneficial. Their aim was to give those same things special attention in this new space.

The new office is intentionally boundary-less when it comes to visual separations of space. There is also no hierarchy to how the spaces are organized based on function. Instead, the office feels collaborative, equalized, and comfortable for all employees. While the bulk of the office is open concept, there are a number of enclosed meeting rooms, but even these are quite informal and geared more towards things like brainstorming efforts rather than intimidating presentations.

By “informal”, we meant that most of the meeting spaces are still very flexible, despite being more closed off than the rest of the space. With a few simple lighting and furniture changes, one spot might cater to an entirely different structure of meeting or group of people, making the space very diverse and useful indeed.

Additionally, designers intentionally included some spaces that are quieter than the main shared space, featuring only soft furniture like bean bag chairs and no tables. These spots are intended for short meetings, very casual collaborative sessions, or even a quiet moment alone to seek some calm if no one else needs the space. These areas can be temporarily separated acoustically from the rest of the office by curtains in the event that a meeting needs privacy or an employee needs a place to recharge.

Bean bag clad rest and meeting spaces aren’t the only spots that are very unique indeed. The office also features several custom-made structures that feature storage, phone booths for quiet or private distance meetings, and multi-purpose alcoves. The way these systems are lined up provides a little bit of functional and spatial delineation without interrupting other spaces or the flow of traffic to make a space for storage or private conversations.

One of our favourite features of this office is the way that just about any surface, no matter how unconventional has been taken advantage of for comfortable, uniquely shaped seating wherever possible. The windowsills are a perfect example! Instead of setting things here or leaving them empty, designers built another soft seating space all along the edge of the room.

Balancing out the storage and phone structures dotted strategically throughout the room is also a central structure, placed so as not to interrupt flow, that resembles an amphitheatre. This space is intended for more quick meetings between employees or to be used as a temporary workspace when someone needs a different perspective or a motivating change of scenery. Employees are, after all, encouraged to work from whatever spaces feels best for them in the moment.

Within the flexible layout of the main office, several simple features actually make the space even more versatile and customizable than it already is. Besides adjustable lighting options and dials for brightness, which lets employees determine their preference, the tables throughout the space are also easily adjustable in their height.

Because the nature of the work and people’s schedules is quite free and open, employees are often present in the office at times considered “irregular” but that are really based on their needs or preferences. For this reason, designers actually built in several rooms to one side, away from the open concept space, that are specifically laid out for intense concentration or sleeping.

The office is also built to put an emphasis on genuine break time and things that amp up productivity during work hours by encouraging employees to take actual time out and do things that make them feel refreshed and renewed. They make this easier by providing showers, spas, and even games rooms, which have foosball, ping pong, and pool tables.

As if that’s not unique and forward thinking enough, the office even allows, nay encourages, their employees to have fun getting from place to place! There is an abundance of scooters, hoverboards, and skates provided so that employees can meld fun and efficiency right into the basics of their day.

In fact, this mode of in-office transportation is so integrally built into the space itself that designers accounted for it right in the room plans. The scooters and hoverboards are actually the reason all of the paths and open spaces are built with rounded corners and soft flowing shapes. This builds efficient and safe circulation as people walk and move around the office.

Perhaps what really sets this office and its company apart is the prioritized value that underlies all of the physical and spatial choices designers and executives made for the rooms. It is special in that all choices were made based on what will improve and maintain the physical and mental health of the employees working there. It truly is an office designed to motivate them to be and do their best!

Photos by Ilya Ivanov

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Stunningly modular Stray Bird Boutique Hotel created by STUDIO QI for a relaxing but cutting edge oasis experience

By • Jul 15, 2019

In the stunning rural greenery of Ningxia, China, innovative designers at STUDIO QI have recently completed and opened a stunningly conceptual and beautifully laid out escape called the Stray Bird Boutique Hotel.

This wonderfully modern boutique hotel sits in a sort of countryside oasis that is nestled right between the Yellow River and the Tengger Desert. This unique spot lies in the heart of China’s Ningxia Autonomous Region; a rare spot of greenery and flowing waters before the sand and sun take over the landscape.

The site of the hotel itself is an actual blossom orchard, which runs all along the horizon where the scenery changes and the desert beings to stretch in the distance. Since the location of the plot is so unique already, designers opted to follow suit and create an equally unconventional staying experience that somehow also still suits and jives with its green surroundings.

The main goal of the design team became to challenge the typical architecture in the remote, sparsely populated area in order to create something incredibly airy and open feeling. They took great inspiration from ideas of transparency, letting a contemporary sense of minimalism provide breathtaking views that allow one to feel like their newly sought out private space is one with the surrounding landscape.

The hotel is made up of several separate volumes dotted closely enough to one another to avoid feeling isolated or cut off, but far enough from one another so as to feel private despite their openness. Each small respite space is made from a pre-fabricated frame that was brought in and erected on site in order to interrupt the topography as little as possible and preserve it.

Despite the simple, pre-fab frame of each little building, the interiors of the units are nothing short of sophisticated. The details and finishes are sleek and modern looking, equipped with full amenities, but also subdued enough to allow one’s concentration to lie fully with the beauty of what lies outside.

Part of what makes the outdoor areas so easy to appreciate and connect with from within each of these lovely little escapes is the Low-E glass curtain wall technology that is installed in three sides of each. This lets the walls fold back entirely as though they have been opened by curtains, creating a stunning blending of interior and outdoor spaces, as though fresh air is limitless.

Within each serene unit, the interior spaces are quite open concept in terms of their physicality. In terms of their function, however, they are organized according to three different actions: sitting, standing, and sleeping. Since the whole focus of the hotel is relaxation and seeking peace, the actions of sitting and sleeping are regarded as being the most important, so these are the actions that are most catered to within each unit.

In order to facilitate maximum relaxation, designers placed spaces for sitting and sleeping in each of the four corners of the units, nearest the large windows and retracting walls for maximum sunlight, fresh air, and access to nature. Other functions of the space, or the parts that require standing and things other than relaxation, are compartmentalized to the centre of the room, facilitating easy flow of space and energy.

This is quite opposite to how most retreats and hotels are built. Normally, the most private spaces, like the sleeping quarters, are removed from view and kept on the most private side. Here, designers have moved the resting areas to the edges on purpose, giving them clear paths to the outdoors, and prioritizing visual and open air connections to nature.

The units are not, of course, completely devoid of privacy. On their back walls, where they face each other most directly and would therefore lend the most view to others staying at the boutique hotel, each one features a playful looking perforated wall. This allows semi-privacy in that onlookers cannot see into the unit, but guests are still afforded the natural play of light and shadow as the sun moves across the property.

Across these perforated back walls, designers created beautifully painted themes in subdued colours that look like shadows and light play in and of themselves. Each unit features a different theme, ranging from pear trees to the birds the hotel is named after. The images create a sort of nature inspired backdrop to the peace being sought inside.

Photos by Qingshan Wu

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Brunoir & Java Architecture Come Together to Create an Elegant Interior for Nuun Jewels in Paris, France

By • Jul 3, 2019

Brunoir & Java Architecture have come together to design the interior of this sophisticated and luminous jewelry shop – Nuun Jewels Store – located on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, one of the most luxurious and fashionable streets in the world, located in Paris, France.

Entrance

Nourah Al Faisal, owner and Art Director of Nuun Jewels, wanted to create a space where Middle Eastern culture could meet a more traditional French style in a way that felt seamless and organic. Having already previously worked with Brunoir to create Nuun Jewels’ first window display at the Four Seasons George V., Nourah Al Faisal wished for this, their first boutique in Paris, to embrace a combination of the brand’s identity along with the style that Brunoir had already created for them.

After the Java Architecture team joined the project, it was agreed that the design style for the boutique should be subdued and minimalistic, allowing for the jewels they would showcase to become the main focus and shine fully.

Elegant space

The interior is modern and bright, with a highly-fashionable style that makes customers know, as soon as they walk in, the quality of the products they’re about to admire. The rose-pink tones of the back-walls, however, along with the light-colored wood of the parquet that covers the floors, adds a touch of welcoming warmth that envelops us as we enter the space. The touches of rose gold, a favorite of Nuun’s, pervade the entirety of the design, creating a pleasant sense of elegant uniformity.

Jewelry exhibition
Wood table
Details
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Curvy Canadian Quetzal Bar created by Partisans to celebrate Mexican cuisine

By • Jun 14, 2019

In the heart of downtown Toronto, Canada, innovative social space designers Partisans have returned to the area following a few successful previous projects, this time to complete the interior renovation of a restaurant space to make the new Quetzal Bar!

Quetzal Bar is not these designers’ first project in the neighbourhood. A number of years back, they were also the driving force behind Bar Raval, a critically acclaimed Spanush “pinto boite”. Now, the same design team has reunited with the same food and drink experts to create a second collaboration with a unique structure and atmosphere distinct from their first.

Quetzal Bar was conceptualized to celebrate and preserve Mexican recipes and cooking techniques from across the country’s various diverse regions. Many of the recipes selected from the menu area generations old and have been passed down with unique changes from family member to family member over the years, making for a truly authentic and delicious dining experience.

The space that the restaurant calls home is a stunning vaulted room that pays homage to certain eras of traditional Mexican architecture. Despite being small, the space feels luminous and welcoming, partially thanks to the lighting choices made by designers and how the light bounces off the unique curved ceiling, and partially thanks to the fragrant, mouthwatering scents wafting from the kitchen.

To make those delicious traditional meals happen, designers and resident chefs alike decided that it would be best to power the College Street bar entirely by a wood-burning fire. This isn’t always typical of how Mexican restaurants cook their meals, even though it’s common practice “back home”. In this way, Quetzal Bar is redefining how Mexican food is both experienced and prepared in Canada itself.

From the outset, restaurant owners stated that they wanted the interior structure of Quetzal Bar to hearken back to the billowing tarps of the market stalls in Mexico. This is where the curvature of the rippling ceiling’s shape came from, as well as the emphasis on organic Oaxacan pottery in the decor details.

Letting these shapes speak volumes within the room, designers chose to keep much of the rest of the space quite simple. The materiality of the furnishings and interiors follows suit, being primarily made of wood, concrete, and plaster. Overall, the space feels breezy and welcoming, blending two cultures in a unique and festive way.

The bar, of course, isn’t free of local Canadian influence either. Owners chose Canadian maple from right there in Ontario to punctuate the rolling ceiling in places that its unique design needed additional support. The concrete of the floor is also locally sourced, letting the Canadian influence ground the space while the Mexican cuisine carries diners away.

Although it is very decorative and reminiscent of Mexican architecture, the ceiling we’ve raved so much about also has a very practical functionality as well. At the same times is it reminds diners of market stalls, or perhaps even snow drifts or sculpted ivory, as employees have suggested, it also hides the industrial air circulation system the restaurant requires to safely ventilate the grill, particularly on bust nights (which there are many of).

The stunning wooden bar is another place where the Canadian element of the space gets to shine. Here, guests can order either cocktails or ceviche, stopping at whichever side they need like they truly are at a Mexican market visiting different stalls. Diners might also visit the comal corner, where the traditional clay ovens used in Mexico are set up for all to see. These spots break down the division between cook and diner, making the meal something to be experienced rather than just consumed.

Photos by Doublespace Photography

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Australian Maximus Offices created by Siren Design to give business consultants a dynamic, modern workspace

By • Jun 13, 2019

In the heart of Melbourne, Australia, innovative designers at Siren Design have recently completed an entire office wide renovation on the newly improved and wonderfully contemporary Maximus Offices!

From the outset, the goal of this renovation was to improve the sense of space for employees. Company heads wanted their business management consultancy team to feel a sense of individuality even while the office itself bears several similarities with the Sydney location, for the sake of cohesiveness and brand consistency.

The first decision designers made was to open up the space completely, both in terms of its layout and in terms of its own framework. Now, the floor plan of each room is open concept and the “bones” of the building, in its supports, ceiling, frame, and details are visible in a way that, rather than looking unfinished, looks minimalist and modern industrial chic.

Another update that had perhaps the biggest effect on employee moods and productivity was the decision to open up as much of each room as possible to ensure that just about every corner is flooded with natural sunlight. This contrast well with the raw elements of the redone building even as it lifts the spirits of those working in the offie and creates and inviting atmosphere typical of more modern office spaces in wider Melbourne.

Another priority shift in the office’s redesign was the way designers opted to explore a sort of blurring of space and traditional boundaries between work spaces, break rooms, and the parts of an office that visitors would normally see. By amalgamating some of these things in one place, keeping designated areas but not closing them off, designers and company heads aimed to make the space more collaborative, friendly in its professionalism, diverse, and welcoming in the way the space works and flows. There’s also a touch of novelty here; now, visitors see some consultants at work to some degree, giving them a sort of “behind the scenes” sneak peek.

Overall, the whole environment was created to feel relaxed. In the entryway, guests are immediately encountered with a welcoming space that, though separate for employee concentration, gives people an easy view into some of the collaborative workspaces. This immediate connection is great for outside collaboration as well as creativity.

Increasing the option of collaborative spaces for the employees themselves was a huge priority as well. The first way in which the company decided to work towards this was by designing a shared cafe, situated near the entrance where guests might join. This space is also often used as a training zone for new employees, making it one of the most diversely used spaces in the whole office.

Now, as we mentioned, the Melbourne space is cohesive with the branding and style of the Sydney location, but it still has its own charm and individualized style, as influenced by its particular employees. Though company values and colour schemes are consistent between the two cities, the new Melbourne spot has a slightly more relaxed, almost residential feel. Where Sydney is rather sophisticated, Melbourne is built to make people feel a little bit more at home.

Photos by Cheyne Toomey

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Office Rooftop is a stunning open concept workspace created by Studio Combo on top of a theatre

By • Jun 11, 2019

In the heart of the city of Paris in France, creative design teams atStudio Combo have created a unique open concept working office with an even more unique location: the rooftop of an old French theatre!

This contemporary office, designed for a group of freelancers and contractors who desired a professional but shared cost workspace outside their homes, was built on top of the Élysée Montmartre theatre, which is a monument on the back of the historical Sacre Coeur.

Rather than detracting from the history of the buildings, it brings a sense of charming modern feeling to the day to day activities that happen in and around the theatre. The look of the windowed walls, which provide workers with a view of the city that is nothing short of stellar, contrast beautifully with the otherwise classic architecture in a way that is downright fascinating.

From the outset, designers were determined that this office wouldn’t be anything like the standard corporate offie most people are used to, for reasons besides just its location. That’s why  the office is comfortably open concept instead of having a central isolated office and cubicles like most other corporate offices might feature.

Even just visually, the office is nearly a work of art compared to some. Its geometric shapes and high windowed walls with metallc frames allow the perfect amount of sunlight into the space even as the facade twinkles in that same light during the day. Spanning only 300 square feet, the offices look almost as thought they’re floating on the rooftop, like an ethereal, playful tetragon.

Inside the office, white painted metal frames have been left exposed supporting the roof like a subtle, lighter take on the current industrial chic trend. Desks are angled well compared to where the sun might hit computer screens and both collaborative and individualized work spaces are organized in a way that makes the flow of people and ideas simple and effective.

While a wood floor keeps things comfortable and homey, white furnishings keep things looking contemporary and streamlined in a way that suits the historical context of the office’s location specifically because it’s not what you’d expect to find sitting up on top of the theatre at all!

Photos by Guillaume Guerin

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