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.
By Courtney • 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
Flexible and brand new Intarcia Offices created by ACTWO to take advantage of light and highlight art in the workplace
By Courtney • 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
By Courtney • 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
Russian Align Technology Offices created by OFFCON to prioritize employee mental health and motivation
By Courtney • 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
Stunningly modular Stray Bird Boutique Hotel created by STUDIO QI for a relaxing but cutting edge oasis experience
By Courtney • 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
Brunoir & Java Architecture Come Together to Create an Elegant Interior for Nuun Jewels in Paris, France
By Magaly • 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.
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.
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.
By Courtney • 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
Australian Maximus Offices created by Siren Design to give business consultants a dynamic, modern workspace
By Courtney • 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
By Courtney • 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
Daodao Coffee built by HAD Architects& EPOS in Japan as a relaxation space in the middle of a busy day
By Courtney • Jun 10, 2019
Smack in the middle of the shopping district in Chengdu, China, a lovely two story coffee shop called Daodao Coffee was recently complete by HAD Architects& EPOS with the intention of giving weary shoppers, groups of friends, and quiet individuals a place to gather and find that they’re looking for in one convenient place, without interrupting one another.
Photos by ARCH-EXIST
By Courtney • Jun 7, 2019
In the bustling downtown core of Norwalk, Connecticut, the brand new Remedy Partners Offices were recently provided a refreshing facelift by innovative design teams at Amenta Emma Architects.
Remedy Partners is a healthcare technology company that provides all kinds of specialized goods and services to health professionals and facilities in the surrounding area. Their old offices were not longer the kind of flexible, fast paced environment they wished to provide their own employees on a daily basis, so they opted for an update that might diversify and streamline things for the better.
Employees at Remedy Partners have need of flexible, free flowing spaces and a number of different settings that will serve different functions for their quick paced jobs throughout the day. The primary goal of designers was to give all workers present, no matter their role, a place to work that feels efficient and yet comfortable and familiar, almost second nature.
In addition to feeling comfortable, designers also wanted to create a space full of gentle visual stimulation that might help employees feel motivated to produce their best work. They oped to create shared spaces that facilitate easy teamwork and collaborative time, but also placed value on quieter, more private spaces for those people who need some solid individual time to put their heads down and get to work at their own pace.
Long tables, sofa booths, individualized desks, and quiet rooms, all furnished in calming neutrals and with a blend of natural and industrial materials, provide these diverse workspaces. No matter the kind of worker you are, nor the kind of space that helps you excel the best, you’ll find it easily and accessibly within these offices.
At Remedy Partners, employees are not anchored to one singular spot to do their jobs. They might claim an assigned space but, should they feel that a change of scenery or setup might benefit their work, they’re free (and even encouraged) to seek that out for the sake of their productivity.
In terms of aesthetic, designers sought to establish harmony and balance in all senses. For example, taking inspiration from places like the New York Public Library, these offices were built to feel open and airy but also private and cozy if and when necessary. Within that dynamic, a rugged and industrial feeling scheme in the communal spaces contrasts seamlessly with softer and more comfortable quiet spaces furnished with cozy armchairs and relaxing nooks.
In efforts to take the concepts of motivation, productivity, and calm to all different levels, the office even contains a “no phone zone”. Visually, this space is separated from others in the office through aesthetic, but it’s actually also separated acoustically to drown out the bustle of the more public group work spaces. The “no phone zone” is modelled after the quiet spaces found in places like college libraries and is often used for anything from solitary work to group collaboration or even small presentations.
Photos by Robert Benson Photography
In the sunny but busy streets of San Francisco, California, Rapt Studio has created a company headquarters in a historic old building with plenty of character both inside and out. The Unity Headquarters uses a stripped away aesthetic to impress visitors with visual sophistication worthy of their shining reputation in their industry.
Unity is a 3D development platform company and creator of the world’s most widely downloaded platform for developers looking to create interactive 2D, 3D, VR and AR experiences internationally. The company’s employees were in need of an innovative, flexible, and contemporary workspace that matches the level of forward thinking found in their product and service.
The goal from the beginning was to create an office with an atmosphere and framework that feels comfortable and accessible to everyone but also like it was built for the next generation of developers and industry leaders. Like the software they create, Unity executives wanted their head office to harness flexibility and transformation.
This is part of the reason designers chose to make the most of available space by building the office across two existing buildings, joining them as a single complex in the process. The full expanse of the office occupies a three-storey atrium that boasts individual and group workspaces, places for events and full dining experiences, and areas for screenings and tech assembly.
As might be expected from a leading tech company, the office is cutting edge in the way it uses modern electronic devices to make office processes, both individual and group, feel simple, fast, and streamlined. Employees can both attend and participate in mass meetings from any floor without even getting up from their individualized workspace.
At the same time as the office allows for fantastic individualized productivity thanks its tech accessibility and layout, it is also decorated in a way that fosters togetherness and encourages collaboration. A calming, neutral colour scheme and natural palette of materiality makes the space feel relaxing even as it enables a fast paced work day, making the work day feel like a gathering rather than a staunch and lonely process.
Besides being created to foster collaboration and productivity, the office’s interior was put together with the specific goal of harnessing the beauty of the original building in an authentic way. Many of the materials now featured in the decor scheme, furnishings, and details were original elements before teams arrived on scene.
The materials preserved in this way (which were almost all locally sourced) were primarily natural ones. Brick walls were left exposed all around the office, concrete columns remain uncovered, and salvaged wooden beams were move from their original places and transformed into the facade of the new reception desk, as well as the canteen bar. Upcycling played a huge role in balancing the new with the historical all across the office.
The canteen bar is a social hub within a hardworking office. It is a comfortable space designed to help employees relax, get to know one another, and give their brains a break so as to avoid losing steam during the day. It is understood here that any employee is welcome to make themselves a coffee or even pour themselves a beer.
The central atrium of the building, around and above which various workspaces in the office are built, is another place where authentically old fashioned looking elements are incorporated into a high tech place. Here, an industrial staircase provides access to every floor with a bright, open atmosphere that gives views into different collaborative rooms as you travel up or down.
Overall, designers wanted to provide Unity’s employees with a space that might be as fast paced and simple to use as the technologies they create. The office’s floor plan includes phone rooms, cafes, lounges, conference rooms of different kinds, and even a well stocked library full of relevant reference materials. Employees are enabled to work from almost anywhere in the building with full access to what they need, set up comfortably enough that they feel right at home.
Photos by Jasper Sanidad
Fujitsu Offices by Billard Leece Partnership blend Japanese company’s values and local Australian influence in Melbourne
By Courtney • May 28, 2019
In the heart of Melbourne, Australia, a new international office for the Japanese company Fujitsu was recently completed by design teams at Billard Leece Partnership with the goal of blending visual, spacial, and decorative elements from both countries.
The well known global technology firm wanted to build a space for their employees that bears recognizable details from each nation’s style, culture, and history, but also feels cohesive within itself in order to keep things comfortable and easy to concentrate in. Designers wanted to create a scheme that harness’s the company’s international value of “One Fujitsu” while adding a bit of an Australian flavour into the mix for the sake of familiarity.
Melbourne is a city that is already quite known for its slightly European influence architecture and styling, which gave designers something quite unique to work with already. The result of this and Japanese concepts of tech access and clean minimalism was a clean, crisp, and slightly understated sense of contemporary styling. Readily apparent quality can be seen in every material detail and finished surface.
Another point of decor inspiration from Melbourne itself was the way that city is organized. Laid out in a grid-like fashion with notorious laneways interspersed alongside main streets, the city’s structure motivated the way designers incorporated pops and streaks of colour throughout different activity zones that other was look quite urbane, refined, and neatly organized.
Fujitsu and their Japanese roots are heavily featured right alongside the decor elements that were inspired by the office’s location. The company’s signature red hue is woven through out the space like a highlight in a fabric, accenting furniture, decor details, and joinery. The presence of bright red serves as a link to the brand’s international status while still keeping the headquarters’ space authentic to its local character.
At the same time as designers aimed to keep Japanese roots and local Melbourne influence enmeshed into their office layout, they also wanted to incorporate the key values of the company itself (beyond just the colour red). The offices, therefore, pay utmost respect to environment through the use of sustainable materials at the same time as they exemplify leadership in innovation through the seamless and accessible integration of cutting edge technologies in the workplace.
Overall, the finished offices present a flexible and adaptive workplace that offers employees of all kinds spaces that are optimized for collaboration, independent focus, client engagement, and workplace community, depending on one’s needs. Each space is equipped with the latest technology, making the office a space of good information flow and interpersonal connectivity.
Kane World Food Studio by Bogdan Ciocodeică created in Bucharest with a mixture of materials and an emphasis on greenery
By Courtney • May 27, 2019
In a lovely up and coming neighbourhood located just outside of Bucharest’s downtown core in Romania, Bogdan Ciocodeică has built a beautifully blended looking and nature inspired new space for Kane World Food Studio.
Besides just providing great food to the locals in the area, the restaurant actually aims to become a landmark within the city’s social fabric. You see, this newly transformed building space is just one part of a wider effort to regenerate areas of the city;s boroughs that have become worn and distressed in terms of their buildings and spaces over time.
The approach designers opted to take in terms of aesthetic and materiality was kept quite simply and clear, establishing a sense of atmosphere that might appear minimalist were it not then embellished with lovely abundant greenery. Without doubt, the priority for everyone involved was atmosphere and not image, with acknowledgement for the fact that each improves the other.
Now that it is complete, it feels like an urban oasis the moment you walk through the door. In contrast with the concrete streets outside, the restaurant presents a lush jungle within the steel frame of the building housing it. In a way that fits its diverse, fusion style menu, the restaurant provides a space that feels relaxing but also somehow exotic and worldly.
The plants serve a functional purpose as well as a decorative one! Not only do they create a strong outdoor connection from within the restaurant’s main room, but they also define some of the inner space and provide a bit of privacy to different parts. This is far more pleasant and sensical with the place’s overall values than building, say, solid booth separators. Guests sit within and around pleasant, fresh “screens” of greenery instead.
The plants serve a functional purpose as well as a decorative one! Not only do they create a strong outdoor connection from within the restaurant’s main room, but they also define some of the inner space and provide a bit of privacy to different parts. This is far more pleasant and sensical with the place’s overall values than building, say, solid booth separators. Guests sit within and around pleasant, fresh “screens” of greenery instead.
In some places, fully mirrored walls reflect the space to make the room look open and spacious while brass details contrast beautifully with smooth marble and stunning wooden furniture, adding a sense of the high end to all of that otherwise natural materiality. These metallic details aren’t actually the only place that uses balance and contrast to perfect things.
The seating areas themselves and they way they’re laid out also differ and a well laid out way that creates a sense of balance and contrast simultaneously, making the spaces practical but also enjoyable to use. This lies in the existence of both a higher seating area with a harder perimeter, making it seem a little more fast and formal, and a softer, more fluid seating area in the centre of the room that feels quite shared, organic, and relaxed.
Artwork throughout the space serves both decorative and practical function as well. Besides adding local character and depth to the space through their mere colour and beauty, the art gives the restaurant a sense of depth and volume through the way it was purposely positioned to be reflected across the room in the various mirrors.
Lighting is very intentional within the space as well. Most of the perimeter of the restaurant is floor to ceiling windows, flooding the whole space in stunning light. To work with this, the installed lighting varies between soft, dispersed light that adds a glow to the whole larger space and more direct lighting that focuses on specific tables, adding to social and dining experiences.
In total, the restaurant spans a space of 180 square metres inside. The main dining room offers 74 seated spots, most on custom made furniture or pieces selected from brands made by local designers.
Photos by Andrei Margulescu
By Courtney • May 23, 2019
In a suburb of sunny Bangkok in Thailand, innovative designers at Archimontage Design Fields Sophisticated have thought inside the box in order to create a unique parking garage built entirely out of upcycled shipping crates!
In total, the carpark is made of eight very large shipping containers that were deemed too old for their original use. Instead of letting them be thrown out, this company spruced them up, made sure they didn’t bear any weak spots, and transformed them into a building! This building looks shockingly elegant considering its recycled nature, sitting in the centre of the suburb of Nonthaburi.
Within those eight containers we mentioned, the building is made up of two different sizes of container; four large and four small. The four smaller modules make up the wonderfully bright, light filled front building while the larger ones make up the places to the back and top where cars are stored when they’re parked. The containers are arranged purposefully and strategically to fit effectively into the narrow, compact little corner lot in which they sit.
Originally, this plot was home to another building. This building also featured a car care business but it was simply too old and run down to continue housing the service in a way that gave the owners what they truly needed. Designers immediately began strategizing better ways to organize and take advantage of the 3000 square foot lot, with its unique long and narrow shape.
In order to expand on the space the owners might have available without trying to fill the lot too heavily, designers chose to build things upwards rather than outwards. This is how the stacked looking vertical design that you see in the photos came about. Growing the building to boast three stories provided more flexible, multi-purpose space without cramming too much onto the ground level and overwhelming the look of the street around the structure.
The bottom level of the finished carpark as it is now was designed to let the business it houses grow. The spaces that aren’t currently being used serve well for storage until the owners get back into the swing of things with clients post renovations and overflow of car service moves into that space instead.
On the second floor things are actually entirely open and empty right now, but they won’t stay that way forever. The owners actually have plans for building a restaurant and bar there above the carpark! The third floor is and will remain a lovely, light filled office space with an outdoor staircase that lets visitors access it without crossing the work floor where the cars are serviced.
Speaking of spaces being light filled, the level of natural sunlight was actually a huge priority in this project and partially determined how the shipping containers were arranged! The goal was to create as much window space as possible but, due to the intense Thai heat in the summer, designers still chose to install metal sun shades in certain places so the level of sunlight can be reduced when necessary in order to avoid overheating.
The final touch on the building’s completion was to paint the exterior in as aesthetically pleasing but subtle matte black. This helped the building itself blend into the urban landscape around it while also reducing solar radiation. To contrast this and keep things from feeling too dark and closed off, the carpark’s interiors all remain a clean, bright white that looks very modern and impressive indeed.
Photos by Chaovarith Poonphol
Chinese daodaocoffee created by HAD Architects& EPOS to blend design, experience, and good coffee in one place
By Courtney • May 13, 2019
In the heart of Intime City, in the Chengdu region of China, an innovative new coffee shop called daodaocoffee was recently completed by HAD Architects& EPOS to provide its clientele with a diverse, useful, and calming space for social and individual experiences.
The coffee shop sits in the middle of the Commercial District, standing two storeys tall and occupying a total of only 65 square meters. Besides making the shop convenient, simple, and fast to use, designers also aimed to make it a serene spot where coffee lovers might come to relax and comfortably spend a portion of their otherwise busy days.
They began by analyzing what kinds of different customers they might get in the area and what each of those people’s specific needs might be. This helped them develop ways to put together a space that provides all kinds of diverse things to people whose days function differently despite all involving a moment taken to enjoy a good coffee.
Changeability is a huge part of the plan that makes this particular coffee shop so innovative and unique to experience. Different parts of the shop, for example, provide different seating types and spatial experiences, while others can actually be altered and moved around by customers in order to give them whatever kind of layout or comfort they’re looking for.
Materiality played a huge role in the experience as well. In a space that wants to prioritize serenity and relaxation, atmosphere is everything. That’s why locally sourced light wood was the perfect thing to establish an almost spa-like aesthetic within the coffee shop. Natural lighting from very high windows adds to this effect, keep the space bright but cheerful rather than abrasive.
In reality, the coffee shop is actually quite open concept, with very little physical division of space taking place. Instead, designers opted to make things visually and conceptually clear in terms of which spaces are intended to serve which functions, allowing customers to mentally identify spaces for seating, socializing, studying, and so on based on how they’re laid out and where they’re situated.
Wood plays a role in this division of space too. Parts of the shop that are intended to be more casual, relaxing, and social are built in all wood while areas that are supposed to feel more individual and private feature black perforated panels that partially shield them from more public spaces where groups might gather.
Although both floors are free to be interpreted by whatever visitors happen to venture into then, designers had a sense of the uses of each one from the outside. The bottom floor of the shop is intended to be a more social, public space where busy office workers or tired shoppers might take a quick seat and socialize for a bit while they rest their feet and chat before moving on again.
The upper floor, on the other hand, is geared more towards those who would like to stick around and seek a bit of solace in the place, getting some privacy and within a public atmosphere so that they still get out of the house, but without being overly disturbed or distract while they do things like read a book, work remotely, or study for school.
The coffee shop also features an external bar. This is designed for people who have arrived for their coffee date a little early but are still awaiting someone else to join them. Sitting at the bar gives customers a pleasant view of the square outside the windows, which is impressive as the shop is quite close to the entrance of the Commercial District, making it an easy landmark meeting place.
The shop even has a self-service desk! This sits on the upper floor and presents customers with the option to fetch themselves lemonade and various coffee or tea ingredients for free, making it the perfect spot to host small, quiet meetings or prolonged individual sessions where one might want more than one refreshment while they’re there.
The most private point of the coffee shop sits in the upper corner of the top floor. Here, a space that’s specifically designed for one person seeking a quiet spot outside their home to work or think has been set up. Designers chose to actually raise this small area even a little higher than the rest of the second floor, giving it a true but very comfortable sense of quiet seclusion.
Photos by ARCH-EXIST
By Courtney • May 10, 2019
In the city of Minsk in Belarus, a team of young, vivacious architects at the firm Studio 11 have recently finished designing their entire own head office space, right at the heart of the city.
The layout of the brand new Minsk office consists of a networking of rooms. These are two primary workrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a high tech bathroom, and a final room for storing materials and samples. The office’s interior is interesting and unique because, going into it, designers did not nail down any specifically planned or concrete aesthetic or scheme; they let it develop gradually through the process, giving it an atmosphere that feels organic and looks fluid.
Because it was created directly by those who work there, this particular work place is literally a physical manifestation of the personal and business philosophies of its employees. Their personal stamps and influences can be recognized throughout the rooms, mimicking the techniques and styles that are typical of the company’s client projects and have become like a signature.
A great example of this is the ceramic module; a space that bears a lot of personal meaning to those working in the office because the concept was originally developed and built in its first iteration for on of the company’s first widely recognized interior projects. This sense if personal connection with a workplace adds a cozy layer that is at once motivating and relaxing.
Now that it’s finished, the interior scheme bears large modernist influences. It is also clad with classic and more contemporary art and has a few splashes of trendy elements here and there. The materiality is intentionally quite functional, mimimalist, and sterile looking, but the colour pops of chosen local furnishings and art pieces warm it up.
Throughout each of the rooms, even, where decor differs, there is a common thread that emphasizes the raw and beautifully impure. This is evident in the way most of the concrete surfaces have been left with all their natural pores and cracks. The ceiling, as well, is similarly unfinished and unpolished and yet contributes beautifully the the overall aesthetic.
To suit the grey of the many concrete elements but still keep the place bright and friendly, the walls have been painted a grey tinted blue on the lower half, giving each a horizontal stripe. In most rooms, the curtains reflect this same hue, adding dimension and continuity throughout the spaces. Other colours in paintings, greenery, and pops of decor reflect or contrast with this central shade accordingly.
Perhaps the most central piece of the office is the salmon coloured kitchen island that sits right in the middle of the kitchen, which in turn is in the middle of the office. This means that most of the other spaces in the workplace are organized around it, making it a kind of anchor within the colour and decor schemes.
Besides the way designers chose to decorate their work spaces with art from local creators, they also incorporated samples of their own, featuring many of their influences and typical materiality choices right there where they can be seen by all. These art pieces and samples, in partnership with plants and greenery dotted around each room, create a sense of cosiness in a modernist office that might otherwise feel loud and echoing.
Photos by Dmitry Tsyrencshikov