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Public Space

Not all design inspiration comes from private homes and apartments. Public spaces, which are often created by top architects and designers, offer a wealth of stylish décor and design ideas for your own home. 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.

Daodao Coffee built by HAD Architects& EPOS in Japan as a relaxation space in the middle of a busy day

By • 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.

The coffee shop is an interesting place to look at the moment you walk through the door. This is primarily because it is at once decorative and also minimalist. This might sound oxymoronic but let us explain; the visual interest of the shop lies in the fact that the very structures or furnishings and the way space is divided is so visually pleasing already that hardly any decor need be added (besides some lovely greenery, of course).
The coffee shop gets quite a lot of traffic thanks to its location in the centre of Intime City Commercial District, but the layout and generally respected atmosphere of nearly spa-like calm, which is supported by the materiality of the place, ensures that one’s ability to do something quiet like read remains in tact no matter how many people come in to order coffee.
Covering a modest 65 square metres, the coffee shop stands two storeys high, which is part of what lends certain spaces to an extra quiet atmosphere. Knowing that different people visit coffee shops for different reasons, designs intentional created some spaces that are more conducive to groups that want to talk, and some, slightly removed, that have a singular comfortable but isolated seat for, say, someone who would like to enjoy a coffee and study outside of their desk at home without interruption.
Another interesting element of the shop is that, despite its aura of a spa that is flooded in natural daylight, all of the lighting on the top floor of DaoDao Coffee, and most on the bottom floor except near the windows, is actually artificial. The intention was to used clean white LED lights and light wood that reflects well but not too harshly in order to create a gentle glow that resembles daylight as closely as possible.
Even though the designers were aiming to establish different spaces for different people and purposes, they hesitated to actually divide space; they didn’t want to create a cubicle-like scenario that might make anyone feel isolated. That’s why you see structures change and seat or table make ups vary from place to place. The division is mental and visual, based more on atmosphere and common sense functionality than in being told which area is separated by which purpose.
The light wood materiality that encompasses most of the shop was a choice made for more than just its ability to reflect light in ideal amounts. The goal was to create a calming space and provide some contrast to the dark metal frames and support details, as well as the artistic looked punched metal panels that do give the space a touch more physical privacy than others.
In contrast to all the seating space present on the top floor, the first floor is slightly more open concept and easier for fast movement. This is where people on the go come in simply to grab refreshment and leave, or where tired shoppers sit on the stools by the window for a brief moment until their friends arrive to meet them and they move elsewhere within the shop or perhaps move on all together.
This side bar provides customers and shoppers a stunning view of the square just outside the shop’s windows. In fact, the draw of having such a vantage point while one rests with a drink for a few brief moments is often what draws otherwise fast paced individuals through the doors to pause and breathe before continuing about their day. Plus, the coffee is great!
For those who venture upstairs and stay much longer, there is a self service desk where customers can fetch and serve lemonade and different coffee and drink ingredients free of charge, simply to encourage them to stay as long as they please. The owners regard this as beneficial even if a person only buys one drink because the space is designed to be enjoyed and shared and perhaps they will feel encouraged to come back another time.
For those who truly are seeking a place outside home that is much more cozy and private, but without being totally devoid of other people, there is a singular seat in a quiet corner. This is understood to be for someone who wishes to concentrate even though they wanted to enjoy the world and some public space while they’re at it.

Photos by ARCH-EXIST

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Remedy Partners Offices redesigned by Amenta Emma Architects for comfort and growth

By • 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

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Unity Headquarters by Rapt Studio

By • May 28, 2019

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

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Fujitsu Offices by Billard Leece Partnership blend Japanese company’s values and local Australian influence in Melbourne

By • 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.

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Kane World Food Studio by Bogdan Ciocodeică created in Bucharest with a mixture of materials and an emphasis on greenery

By • 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

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Shipping Container Carpark by Archimontage Design Fields

By • 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

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Chinese daodaocoffee created by HAD Architects& EPOS to blend design, experience, and good coffee in one place

By • 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

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Architectural teams at Studio 11 design their own office in Minsk

By • 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

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Community-oriented Skender Construction Offices by Perkins+Will created to inspire collaboration

By • Apr 18, 2019

In the bustling urban area of downtown Chicago, Perkins+Will has recently completed a workspace renovation for the Skender Construction Offices that’s designed to inspire its employees to work a little differently than they might be used to!

Compared to their old space, these new offices are much more community-oriented. They have a much more open layout throughout the entire office space, fostering an easier time working together amongst employees when necessary. Project partners can find a common area or a secluded corner to discuss their work in or industry associates and clients can meet with experts in interesting, less traditional places that the regular “stuffy office” might not offer.

Besides just renovating an older space, the company actually moved their office as well, meaning the entire area around the office is also new to their staff. Of course, this requires a touch of adjustment, but it mostly signals a fresh start in their vibrant new workplace. This move was part of the ongoing positive evolution that Skender sees for their company and its employees.

To start, designers actually met with company leaders and their employees and let the people who will be using the space at ground level weigh in about what kinds of changes they wanted to see and how their needs might be met even better than they are already. This discussion process gave company representatives at all level some small hand in the office’s new redesign.

The central feature of the new space is a sort of workplace social hub at the heart of the office. This is where staff, from their private work areas, are easily and quickly connected to a thoroughly collaborative environment with plenty of space for different groups to work in at once.

Extending off that central space are three smaller but still spacious and very diverse spaces that might be used for a number of multifaceted purposes. These range from group meetings, break time, private moments, or simply a change of scenery. Sometimes industry events and town hall meetings are even held in the new meeting rooms at Skender. At any given point, the new spaces might house up to 600 people quite comfortably.

Lighting and decor play a huge role in the atmosphere of the office as well. Large windows provide natural light but interestingly shaped and clean, white LED lights are placed throughout the office for function and decor as well. The furniture, which is quite decorative, hits somewhere between homey and mod, giving employees a day to day change of scenery but also a sense of familiar comfort.

Because the office is so unique in its open concept and collaborative tenets and layout, several industry and client related tours have actually been requested and lead since its completed. This has allowed an increased networking opportunity for all professionals involved while also letting the companies show off their fantastic new space.

Photos by Hall + Merrick Photographers

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Net Marketing Offices created in Tokyo by DRAFT Inc. as a comfortable work environment for employees of a rapidly growing company

By • Mar 15, 2019

Net Marketing Offices, located in Tokyo, Japan and recently created by DRAFT Inc., are a shining example of design techniques in fostering productive, comfortable work spaces that prioritize employee experience, making their work day more enjoyable and benefitting their work ethic.

In this space specifically, designers and clients went out of their way to establish an explicit work and leisure balance. Perhaps the clearest example of this was their inclusion of an in-office relaxation spa that employees are encouraged to use as they need! This space even offers licensed acupuncture. Between that and the way the office presents versatile and creative options for workspace depending on one’s style, as well as easy access to calming natural light, makes working in this office feel a lot less like… well, work.

Net Marketing is a company that hit its stride and grew very rapidly indeed, which is part of the reason designers and clients wanted to incorporate an element of relaxation into the average fast paced work day. The work spaces of the office are divided across two separate floors, with a third floor above that hosting a space specifically designed to help employees unwind and refresh when necessary. Each person might choose where they feel best working that day.

The open space on the third floor is a versatile one. Some might use it as a quiet break area, but many others visit the space for personal working time or group work. The office occasionally hosts events there as well. In the event that an employee feels as though they need further relaxation to benefit their productivity, they can seek out the office’s acupuncture services or even use the spa area to take a short nap. Health and wellness are an explicit priority here.

Because the nature of the work done in the office requires a high instance of group work, designers aimed to created a space where meetings, large or small, can be conducted easily, comfortably, and efficiently. Communication was a huge priority as well. This is why the team established a layout that enables employees to switch simply and freely between places, working styles, and atmospheres.

In addition to their own personal desks, employees in this office are provided with and free to use a number of other work spots, such as sofas, modern seats in nooks and corners, and standing counters. This setup also lets people easily interact with each other, enabling a free flow of information between them and making for smoother group processes. Of course, in such a free space, there is always a sense of respecting each other’s work styles and need for quiet or conversation, letting people collaborate better but also opt out of engagement when necessary.

In order to let as much natural light reach as many of the office’s rooms and corners as possible, designers chose to divide what spaces are delineated using glass partitions rather than opaque walls. This allows sunlight to travel from room to room as the day goes on. Rather than framing these partitions with harsh black lines, the team opted for brown and neutral shades in their supports to make things feel more casual and less hardened and industrial.

To bolster the use of quite natural materials in the space (you’ll notice heavy accents of wood and mortar, for example, plant life has also been incorporated into the office’s decor scheme and aesthetic. Besides being proven to improve prolonged indoor experiences, greenery helps amp up that casual, spa influenced theme and sense of comfortability.

Photos by Katsuhiro Aoki

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Sydney’s Raine & Horne Offices by PMG Group designed to encourage employees to embrace new ways of working

By • Mar 15, 2019

In the heart of Sydney, Australia, innovative designers PMG Group have created a fantastic office space for the real estate company Raine & Horne as part of an initiative to encourage their employees to embrace new ways of working.

From the outside of the project’s plans, one of the primary goals was to bring employees out of their offices and into more open spaces in order to facilitate a more flowing, collaborative work environment that cubicle style offices simply aren’t built for. Besides that, the team wanted to create a space that blends company history and a familiar, trusted brand with bright, modern spaces and aesthetics.

Upon entering, visitors can already tell that the office is bright and fun. Natural light reaches every corner and highlights a wall of prints featuring historical moments in local real estate, showcasing to clients that the business evolves quickly with the market but still knows its roots. Nearby, a lovely and casual deck area is available for staff and clients to enjoy in their spare time.

In keeping with the natural light and the way it brightens up the space, designers chose to incorporate a lot of greenery into areas of the office. These are dotted around the more formal workspaces and the slightly more casual meeting areas, including the window seating, break booths, and tiered group seating. Many different kinds of group meeting spaces are available depending on what the employees need for the task at hand.

In the areas that are actually designed for more private work, the colour scheme is neutral and natural in a way that is quite calming. This contrasts well with the pops of colour you’ll find in more public areas of the office. Wooden elements and reclaimed timber add a sense of warmth and familiarity. Some spaces have received a more dramatic update than others; the bathroom, for example, was once compared by an employee to the one at “grandma’s house” and now it’s one of the most modern spaces in the place.

The emphasis on keeping an historical aspect in the space continues beyond just the entrance in a beautiful way. Printed graphics, artifacts, and local memorabilia dot the social spaces and line the walls near the tiered seating, private work zone, and throughout several meeting rooms.

Photos by Oliver Ford Photography

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Japanese Nagasawa Coffee by ARII IRIE Architects

By • Mar 11, 2019

Located in Morioka, a city in the Tohoku region of Japan, is the brand new Nagasawa Coffee, a shop that was designed by ARII IRIE Architects to incorporate the process of making its product into an actual part of the whole purchasing experience.

When the owners of the original shop came up with the idea of moving it into a bigger space so they could include a recently purchased 1960s vintage roaster in the decor scheme, a much bigger plan started to form. They ended up developing the vision of a whole new shop where guests become privy to the actual process of roasting and making their coffee from scratch, more like an open workshop space than just your average coffee shop.

When the designers came onto the project, they sought a way to enable the clients’ vision in the simplest, most space efficient way possible. A primary element of this minimalist but pleasing spatial concept is the big terrazzo table where most of the customer service is completed. This table is 6 metres long and 1.5 metres wide, making it quite sizeable indeed.

Despite being large, this service table is, in fact, space efficient because it is so multipurpose and so much can centre around it. besides being a service counter and a table to sit at, the desk is also an active tabletop where live roasting takes place, with packaged, unroasted, and roasted beans are all stored, displayed, and prepared within full view of the customers’ curious eyes.

The new shop, despite having a bigger square footage, is still decently small; in fact, it has a lower ceiling than the previous space. This doesn’t interfere with customers’ ability to enjoy the space at all, but designers still wanted to counteract that visually in order to keep the space feeling balanced rather than short. This is why they’ve kept them primary counter quite low.

The counter isn’t quite low enough to grab anyone’s attention for its lacking height, but it does create a sensical space between its tabletop and the ceiling, which is only 2.8 metres high. Situating the tabletop where most customers’ attention will be fixed lower draws their eye line downward and away from the ceiling. Additionally, the lower height makes the primary counter feel like a bit more of a stage on which a dance of some kind is taking place.

Across from the ever-important counter is where the vintage roaster we mentioned previously lives. It is on full display and curious customers are encouraged to look at it up close and take in all its mechanics and details. Between the counter and the roast sits a long, lovely smoothed granite table that guests might use as social and communal space. Slightly more individualized seating can be found at the front of the store, near the edge of the counter.

Thanks to the difference in look and aesthetic between the vintage roaster and the clean-edged, modern looking furniture, like the table and its accompanying minimalist stools, the whole shop is bathed in a stunning contrast between vintage and contemporary. The effect is nothing short of stunning and that, combined with the experience of witnessing the entire coffee bean process, really makes Nagasawa coffee stand out.

Photos by Kai Nakamura

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Converted historic house becomes Belgian Bed and Breakfast Entrenous thanks to Atelier Janda Vanderghote

By • Mar 11, 2019

Next to the lovely green grasses of Citadel Park in Ghent, Belgium, a beautifully historic house was recently converted by innovative designers Atelier Janda Vanderghote. Now it’s the stunning Bed and Breakfast Entrenous!

This impressive and inviting B&B, which presents guests with a unique blend of classic architecture and modern lines and decor, features three sizeable guest rooms. On the outside, the home’s original facade has been restored with a sense of reverence for its historical aesthetic. The inside, however, has been entirely renovated in terms of style and decor, with several necessary updates for longevity, but the layout and general structure is much the same, giving the original historical aesthetic some ongoing presence.

In the same way that old meets new in this lovely B&B, there’s also a strong sense of public meeting private. The lower rooms where a family might usually meet to eat and bond are social spaces here, where guests share space and spend time together. On the top floor, however, large private bedrooms provide visitors with their own space to sleep and unwind.

Throughout the house, concrete plays a large role in decor and theme. It is exposed in the walls and beams, for example, contrasting well with wooden detailing and pops of brightly coloured paint in some rooms. The concrete involvement makes the inside of the house feel solid and safe.

Around the back of the house, another type of blending takes place. Here, a glass facade makes the public spaces near the back of the B&B and the sunny, inviting backyard feel cohesive. Here, a wooden exterior decorates the rear facade, giving the yard a different feel than its other side where the concrete is bare. This frame, which has an alternating window-like pattern to it, also provides a bit of extra shade and privacy to the exterior sides for the private rooms on the top floor.

In terms of decor, you’ll once again experience both contrast and blending. Firstly, you’ll notice that all of the floors on the ground level are smooth concrete but, as you move upstairs, you’ll find that the floors here are wooden instead. As far as blending and cohesiveness is concerned, the colour blue is what ties the whole home’s interior together. Whether it’s a chair, a shelf, or a painted accent wall, you’ll find at least one element in each space that centres the colour and ties the home together.

Photos by Tim Van de Velde

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Darling Ukrainian Five Flowers shop designed by Nottdesign

By • Mar 4, 2019

Nestled into the ground floor of a multi-story commercial building, the Five Flowers florist (say that five times fast) boasts beautifully large windows that face right onto the bustling Ukrainian sidewalk out front. Thanks to Nottdesign, the store’s interior matches the cheer and charm of what it sells since its recent renovation!

Five Flowers is located in Óblast de Dnipropetrovsk, where it sits in a slight relief into the floor, lowering it slightly below the street’s pavement. This seemingly unimportant detail actually made it simpler for design teams to divide the store into two volumes; a warm area for customers and business and a cold zone for storing flowers that need less balmy temperatures to stay fresh.

The warmer zone of the store is located closer to the entrance because the dealings that happen in that space are less affected by temperature changes that occur when the front door is opened, depending on the weather outside. This zone is an open space that includes a greeting area, a table for bouquet making, and several spots to display stunning indoor flowers like the ones clients might purchase and display in their homes.

The cold zone of the store is more isolated to achieve temperature control. It sits at the back of the store, raised slightly above the ground (which is, as we mentioned before, slightly depressed compared to street level). This room helps keep certain kinds of flowers fresh and perky, particularly if their stems have already been cut.

In terms of aesthetic, this space is clean, minimalist, and very neat looking. It’s got a slightly industrial inspired feel to it with its emphasis on concrete and black piping and this contrasts beautifully with the delicate nature and fragility of the fresh flowers set on display in both the warm and cold zones.

Materials aren’t the only thing that create contrast in the space; designers also chose to get creative with shape! This can be seen in the way that the clear cut lines of things like the desk play visually against the round tables in the display area and the spiral staircase just past the door.

In keeping with the fact that they sell something natural, designers chose to keep the bulk of the material finished in Five Flowers quite natural as well. Grey porcelain stoneware interacts with bronze shades in the details. The neutral colours of these things allows the flowers that are set out on display to pop in a way that’s cheerful and uplifting!

Photos by Serhii Hotvianskyi

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Resources Publicis Russia office space created by VOX Architects to provide a true experience in design and texture

By • Feb 27, 2019

The company Resources Publicis Russia is a collaborative effort between several designers. Located in Moskva, the goal of their Resources office is to act as a media holding department for various teams and individuals. They recently decided that, for the sake of clients and employees alike, the aesthetic and atmosphere of their offices should complement the quality of their repertoire. That’s how they came to work with VOX Architects!

The first goal of the design team was to create something that could be both eye catching and also professional looking. Since this particular department often deals with matters of important business and finance, teams felt it was important to keep things serious and impressive looking, even as they aimed to establish a decorative and comfortable sense of space as well.

Situated in the Bolshevik business centre, this office occupies 870 square meters. Designers wanted to convey the eclectic and forward thinking minds and attitudes of the employees involved with the company on every inch of that space! They chose to do so using expressive textures and colours in unique, attention grabbing combinations.

Perhaps the thing the catches the eye the most upon entering the office is the front desk, which is shaped and painted to look like a solid gold bar. This was the central piece that the rest of the office was designed around. In the air around the desk, you’ll notice lamps hovering around the reception that are shaped like little clouds. This combination of images might seem random, but consistency is created by the fact that both of these things are mirrored in the drawings all across the walls.

Moving from the reception area into the working spaces, you’ll notice a fluid, open format. This allows employees of any kind- be they special departments, IT techs, or top managers, to collaborate and communicate freely. In addition to uniquely shaped lamps that give the space character, the open office spaces are well lit naturally thanks to large windows that are double glazed for good insulation.

Another unique feature of the office is the conversation area. This is a space generally understood as being a good break or collaborative meeting space, while the others are saved for quite or private work time. Noise is controlled despite the open format layout thanks to sound-absorbing panels built right into the walls. Employees often conduct meetings or video conferences by these panels.

Of course, any good workplace that truly values productivity and employee morale knows that break time is pivotal as well as work time! That’s why designers included several coffee points throughout the office. This way, brief or longer breathers can easily be taken between working sessions, actually helping to keep people on track when they’re at task. Besides the coffee points, employees also have access to a full kitchen and several informal or social areas that boast comfortable couches and even hammocks!

Despite all these impressively modern features, the original building the office is built in is actually an historical one for the area. For this reason, designers chose to preserve several original elements, like many of the walls and the already-built loft style of the office’s main shape. Many of the industrial looking functions on the ceiling are new as well; rather than masking or moving them, designers chose to simply paint them blue in order to mimic clear morning skies. This themed is extended beyond the vents and pipes by the presence of colourful columns and stripes on several walls that were inspired by the sunrise.

Photos by Sergey Ananiev

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Woolston Community Library created near an historic ferry terminal by Ignite Architects

By • Feb 25, 2019

On the water’s edge in Christchurch, New Zealand, innovative design teams at Ignite Architects recently finished a public project called the Woolston Community Library. This library is perched on an old, traditional transport route between the village or Christchurch itself and the old ferry terminal.

The aptly named Ferry Road was the home of the original Woolston Community Library, first built in 1871. After the severe earthquakes that took place in Christchurch over the course of 2010 and 2011, many buildings in the area were rebuilt, but the Woolston Community Library was one of the very last to receive its transformation.

In its transformation, designers aimed to keep the aesthetic and atmosphere of the new library in line with that of the larger area. Woolston is a working-class town with a cozy, residential feel to it that has been there seemingly since the beginning. The town used to be the epicenter of several of New Zealand’s industries, including rubber, gelatine, and glue. The library sits on the other side of residential growth from the factories that still remain there today. Designers on this project aimed to build a new version of the library that stayed authentic to the style and feel of the town and the original version.

The building’s design has three main areas: a stunning outdoor courtyard, the main library, and a diversely used community hall. Where a driveway used to sit, a pedestrian street has been established in order to connect the main road to the brand new carpark. There is also a pedestrian street connecting the library to a daycare centre, making the whole space even more useful for modern urban families.

In direct reference to the original building, the new library is made from clean red brick, like much or the current and remaining local architecture of Christchurch is. This new building’s facade, however, is a slightly more modern take on traditional craftsmanship in that it features intermittent protruding bricks for awesome visual detail. These designers made sure to source all their bricks locally, solely from brick manufacturers in the South Island of New Zealand.

The outer courtyard presents a stunning blend of asymmetric brick, exposed steel beams rising high over the benches, and a timber canopy that’s referential of the historic buildings still left in the area. Rather than being fully exposed, the seating area there is shaded by a singular Japanese maple, which extends its branches out from where it’s planted in the centre of the courtyard.

The two main internal spaces of the library are more diverse than they first appear. This is thanks to the way folding glazed doors are featured along the longest walls of each, allowing them to be section off from or opened onto each other and the courtyard. This creates a fantastic blending of indoor and outdoor space and gives group using the library for different things more flexibility.

Natural materials like brick, timber, and concrete follow you through the doors of the library and into its main spaces, but visitors experience more contrast here. That’s thanks to the bright pops of colour featured in the kids’ area! Even the regular adult sections bear some pops of their own thanks to wall art provided by local artists whose work reflects Woolston’s industrial history in vivid detail.

Perhaps the most diversely equipped space in itself, even before you move the walls around, is the community hall area. It’s an open room that featured peg-boards, its own AV system, and spring floors, making it great for events and community gatherings of all kinds. The hall even has its own accessible and fully equipped kitchen, as well as large, clean bathrooms.

Overall, the building is truly unique for the way in which designers managed to simultaneously pay homage to the history of both the site and the wider area while also keeping the project itself quite cost-effective despite meeting the community’s public hall and resource centre needs. The involvement of personality-filled style and employment of local craftsmen in the building and decor processes were a fantastic added bonus!

Photos by Stephen Goodenough

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Nutritional company’s Loja Alimentar offices created by Ateliê de Arquitetura Líquida

By • Feb 21, 2019

In the city of Juiz de Fora, in the Minas Gerais region of Brazil, innovative design company Ateliê de Arquitetura Líquida recently completed an office transformation for nutritional company Loja Alimentar. This company provides nutritional supplements and natural food products to hospitals and the general public alike, concentrating on authenticity, ethical ingredients and production, and clean eating.

Originally, the two streams of product within the company were distinct from each other and the building of this office was the first step in sort of amalgamating the running of the two under one head. As a result, designers helped figure out the best way to brand and communicate the goals or two different target markets in the same physical space when clients visit for meetings.

The first part of the storefront and office space (this unique spot functions as both) is dedicated to products aimed at hospitals. Stark white finishes are featured heavily here, mimicking the medical atmosphere that hospital working clients might be used to. At the same time, more neutral finishes like wood and even a splash of colour here and there is included to keep things from looking too clinical and divergent from what the brand itself offers and represents.

Across the space, clients walk themselves through a transition from medically influenced atmospheres to the roots of where the company started; whole and natural foods and supplement products. A visual and material transition happens here as the white elements in the decor and furnishings become less and less and the wooden finishes take their place.

Besides establishing a dual aesthetic that suits each of the companies markets alike, designers aimed to maximize storage and make organized used of every single space available. This is evident in the lovely recessed shelving units visible on almost every wall. Designers chose to make these from a blend of metal and woodworking, using local raw materials wherever possible according to whichever suited each side of the store best.

Of course, colour and material wasn’t the only area of decor the team concentrated on. They also sought to create a sort of personalized mosaic that communicates the goals and focus of the brand by creating custom stickers affixed to white tiles on one accent wall. This whole section boasts the company’s signature colours, looking like an art piece and a branded display all at once.

Despite the element of medical sphere targeting, Atelier really did want to keep their space warm and friendly feeling. Two primary elements helped with this. Firstly, the wooden veneer traveling from the floor, up the walls, and straight across the ceiling served to warm the space up by leaps and bounds. Additionally, great lighting to highlight the products was provided by clean, white LED lights set right into the shelves, rather than shining down from the ceiling and making the whole space at large look a little too blinding.

Besides the storefront, the building bears some more private working spaces as well. Across the division of public and private, you’ll find a pantry, meeting room, office spaces for business workings, a private staff toilet, and storage. The aesthetic and decor choices follow the same schemes as you see in the public storefront, creating a sense of consistency between the two aspects of the business. Just in case this blended sense between the two becomes distracting on a given day, however, a set of recessed sliding doors can be pulled shut to create a sort of makeshift wall.

Photos by Bruno Meneghitti

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