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. Shoot 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 • 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
UK office of parenting company Mayborn Group Offices created by Ben Johnson Ltd to reflect their playful values
By Courtney • 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
Innovative AstraZeneca Offices created by SpaceInvaders to provide a unique and engaging space for employees
By Courtney • 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
By Courtney • 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
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.
Photos by Ian Ten Seldam and Damien Kook.