Photo: Cool Hunter
When is an office not just an office?When you wonder if the ceiling is the wall and the wall is the floor.
Or when you are sitting IN a desk designed for a more intimate view of your co-workers.
These are just two examples of offices that will make you reconsider your choice of work space.
Click here to view these vertigo-inducing office spaces →
This post originally appeared at The Cool Hunter.
This streamlined and crisp office environment in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is the work of Sergey Makhno's design and architecture firm. The play between soft and hard, round and angular, plain and colourful creates a sense of whimsy and energy, but does not overpower the space.
Makhno and his partner Vasily Butenko have used their own distinctive furniture throughout the interior. The wine-coloured, square-form Origami chairs in the small meeting room contrast beautifully with the azure walls and simple, white table.
Black, padded Blobby office chairs give a soft touch to the sparse individual office areas.
The shiny blue rounded sofas add a playful touch to a flexible, multi-use area.
Large companies with thousands of employees often give just a cursory nod to creating an appealing, exciting and comfortable workplace. Enter the thousands of pool tables and vending machines that are supposedly making work more fun.
Lucky for its 3,200 employees, one of Thailand's leading telecommunications firms, Total Access Communication PCL under the dtac brand, did much more.
In June 2009, dtac gathered its massive team from six separate buildings and relocated them to the newly designed dtac House in Bangkok's Chamchuri Square office tower.
Now under the same roof for the first time ever, the dtac team occupies 62,000 square metres (about 662,000 square feet) on 20 floors, a move that marks the largest-ever office lease in Thailand's history.
Australian Hassell won the competition to design the space and align it with dtac's vision. Hassell created an open and flexible environment with natural wood, natural light and purpose-built spaces.
Some of the highlights include a massive circular library amphitheatre, and an entire Funfloor with indoor soccer, table tennis, running track, and concert and performance spaces.
Other custom-designed spaces include the Conversation Pit, the Freeform Meeting, the Picnic Table and the Dining Room, all created to encourage informal, face-to-face meetings. An open terrace atop the building overlooks Bangkok's skyline.
It is easy to imagine that employees used to this environment would find it difficult to adjust to a boring row of cubicles ever again, in spite of the pool tables and vending machines.
Upperkut, a young communications agency, takes up residence in the basement of a fully operational church, Saint-Jean-Baptiste Church, in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood of Montreal, Canada.
How do you design the space without compromising the dynamic and fun character of the agency, and without altering the ceilings and other acoustic components of the building?
Montreal-based designer, Jean de Lessard, solved the problem by relying heavily on colour and large-scale graphics that echo Uppercut's website. The 380-square-meter space was divided into four areas: president's office, project managers' area, studio and multi-function room.
The result is a colourful, functional space with a slightly scruffy feel that reiterate the vibes of both Upperkut and church-basement life.
In 1984, Vodafone was a tiny UK startup. Today, it is one of the world's leading mobile telecommunications companies with activities around the globe. Vodafone's well publicized Portuguese headquarters is located on Avenida da Boavista in Porto (Oporto), the namesake of Port wine and Portugal's second global city after Lisbon.
Indeed, the outer skin reminds us of a slightly unfinished origami project that will eventually become a scale model of a museum.
PostPanic is a creative design and animation studio, but it is also a production company that animates, produces and directs its creations in-house.
PostPanic produces mainly commercial projects for the international advertising, retail, broadcast and music industries. Clients include Nike, MTV and Coca-Cola.
When PostPanic decided to move to a new large facility located in Westerdoksdijk, a new high-density district in Amsterdam, it commissioned Mentjens to come up with interiors that would accommodate the various production and design teams, and also be flexible enough to suit a staff whose numbers can fluctuate from 14 to 40 depending on the workload.
Mentjens used the distance between the massive concrete columns as the defining theme of the space's other dimensions. The production room, meeting room and staff room are all as wide as the distance between two columns, and the studio on the mezzanine level is two spans wide.
Patrick Tighe, principal of Santa Monica's Tighe Architecture, may hate space-age references. But, here we go: Tighe's work for Moving Picture Company's (MPC) Los Angeles office IS space-agey. With its pod-like central spaces, curving ledges and white drywall expanses, it evokes memories of retro space movies.
But it all fits. The U.K-based MPC is in the business of computer animation, colour-grading and digital effects, so you wouldn't want colour, hard edges or natural light to mess with that. MPC is known for its work on the past six James Bond films, Slumdog Millionaire and commercials.
In turn, Tighe's residential and commercial work is characterised by roofs shooting out at angles, curves sweeping, horizontal planes slanting. Your eye follows these lines easily and accepts the direction. A goal that MPC is most likely familiar as well.
Sometimes you come across an environment that really lets the merchandise or content (such as people, merchandise or furnishings) stand out. This 2,000 square-meter jewelry-case -- the head office of the venerable fashion house Escada in Munich, Germany -- is a luxurious example of this.
Completed in late 2008, the location hosts the international fashion media and buyers who gather here to view the latest Escada collection each season.
The three dominant areas -- entry court, lobby and interior courtyard -- are separated by transparent facades. This creates a visually stunning, 75 meter-long runway that flows right through the centre of the entire building.
Escada commissioned the Parisian architecture studio Carbondale of Michigan-born Eric Carlson to design the architectural public face of its head office, including the entry façade, entry court, interior courtyard, lobby and furniture.
Carlson is known for his work with luxury brands including the Louis Vuitton buildings in Roppongi, Tokyo, the LV Maison in Paris, the 360° Watch Museum and the corporate headquarters of Tag Heuer in Switzerland.
Ogilvy & Mather's Guangzhou office has been selected as one of the recipients of the third annual China's Most Successful Design Award 2008, sponsored by FORTUNE China magazine and China Bridge International.
The height of the space and the central staircase create a background for a theme park of environments that flow freely and openly from one to another.
This is Ogilvy & Mather's expanded office, relocated from the business hub of Guangzhou to the edgier arts and culture region in the city-fringe, with views across the Pearl River toward the historical Sha Mian district.
In operation since 1981, M Moser has offices in 11 countries, specializing in workplace environments including design, strategic planning, engineering and construction.
The 25 winners of China's Most Successful Design Award 2008 include cars, other products, and retail and office spaces.
While most of us must accept sitting just AT our regular desks, the creatives at Hamburg's Syzygy agency get to sit IN their swanky, new desks. Thinking up ads and interactive campaigns for clients such as Chanel, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda and Fujitsu, will most likely go a whole lot smoother when your workplace is custom-designed for you.
The sleek, white bullpens are not as inflexible as they may seem. On the contrary -- the various configurations are endless, but the desks always join together and form a whole. This allows for close cooperation and reinforces the feeling of everyone being in the same boat. The flexible desks also make it possible to turn tight and tough-to-utilise spaces into productive working environments.
Located in the Navigli section of Milan, the 35,000 square-foot building was converted from the historic porcelain workshop of the centuries-old Richard Ginori brand.
The Fornari family's road to fashion fame started in the mid 1940s from footwear manufacturing. It entered the fashion apparel business in 1998 and has since flourished in other fashion, design and lifestyle brands, including the Fornarina fashion concept stores across Europe and the U.S.
The Italian architect and designer Giorgio Borruso is known for experimenting with and testing the boundaries of form, shape and structure throughout his career. He has won awards for product design, retail design, architecture and interior design. His famous retail work includes the tortellini-shaped shoe fixtures for Fornarina and the cocoon-like fitting rooms for Miss 60.
The new space is a meeting place for creatives where they can cook both ideas and food. Designed by Stockholm-based Electric Dreams, the space starts with white walls, ceiling and floor. To this simple backdrop, spurts of electric and luminous pinks, blues, purples, greens and yellow, add a feel of lightness and delight.
Electric Dreams is an architecture and design studio established in 2006 by product designer Joel Degermark and architect Catharina Franklander.
Their design work ranges from cool and sleek retail interiors to lush and crazy installations. Degermark's Cluster lamp for Moooi and the team's fantastic, multiple concepts for the Swedish brand Monki -- purchased in 2006 by H&M -- are examples of the duo's many talents.
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