Offices

Offices

April 2 2009



Sometimes you come across an environment that really lets the merchandise or content (such as people, merchandise or furnishings) stand out. This 2,000 square-meter jewelry-case – the head office of the venerable fashion house Escada in Munich, Germany – is a luxurious example of this.

Completed in late 2008, the location hosts the international fashion media and buyers who gather here to view the latest Escada collection each season. The three dominant areas – entry court, lobby and interior courtyard – are separated by transparent facades. This creates a visually stunning, 75 meter-long runway that flows right through the center of the entire building.



Escada commissioned the Parisian architecture studio Carbondale of Michigan-born Eric Carlson to design the architectural public face of its head office, including the entry façade, entry court, interior courtyard, lobby and furniture.


 
Carlson graduated from Kansas State University School of Architecture in 1986. Before co-founding the Louis Vuitton Architecture Department in 1997, he worked in the offices of Mark Mack, Oscar Tusquets and Rem Koolhaas, He established Carbondale in Paris in 2004. Carlson is known for his work with luxury brands including the Louis Vuitton buildings in Roppongi, Tokyo, the LV Maison in Paris, the 360° Watch Museum and the corporate headquarters of Tag Heuer in Switzerland. - Tuija Seipell



Photographs by Jimmy Cohrssen


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Offices

March 30 2009



Giorgio Borruso Design of Marina Del Rey, California, designed the new airy and fluid headquarters for Milano’s Fornari SpA (Fornari Group).
 
Located in the Navigli section of Milan, the 35,000 square-foot building was converted from the historic porcelain workshop of the centuries-old Richard Ginori brand.


 
The Fornari family’s road to fashion fame started in the mid 1940s from footwear manufacturing. It entered the fashion apparel business in 1998 and has since flourished in other fashion, design and lifestyle brands, including the Fornarina fashion concept stores across Europe and the U.S.
 
The main entrance of the headquarters on Via Morimondo opens to a space lit by color-changing LED lights that seems to suck the visitor gently into the reception area. The open space is flexible, airy and fluid with rounded corners, curved edges, transparent partitions and unexpected waves of color. The hard and exposed concrete floors and steel structure contrast beautifully with the wavy feel of the new walls, partitions and staircase.


 
There is also a slight, vertigo-inducing sense of controlled imbalance, of not being completely sure what is floor, what is ceiling and what is wall. This was the intention of Giorgio Borruso designers describing the result as “Giving the illusion that there is no gravitational force; that you can walk on any surface; you can rotate the system ninety degrees, and it still works.”
 
The Italian architect and designer Giorgio Borruso is known for experimenting with and testing the boundaries of form, shape and structure throughout his career. He has won awards for product design, retail design, architecture and interior design. His famous retail work includes the tortellini-shaped shoe fixtures for Fornarina and the cocoon-like fitting rooms for Miss Sixty. - Tuija Seipell



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Offices

March 13 2009



Ogilvy & Mather’s Guangzhou office has been selected as one of the recipients of the third annual China's Most Successful Design Award 2008, sponsored by FORTUNE China magazine and China Bridge International.
 
Designed by M Moser and Associates, Ogilvy & Mather’s office is the first interior design project to receive this award. Aiming to offer its current and future staff an environment that inspires creativity Ogilvy & Mather allowed M Moser to go all out with the theme “Carnival of Ideas.”


 
The height of the space and the central staircase create a background for a theme park of environments that flow freely and openly from one to another.
 
This is Ogilvy & Mather’s expanded office, relocated from the business hub of Guangzhou to the edgier arts and culture region in the city-fringe, with views across the Pearl River toward the historical Sha Mian district.
 
Michael Lee, Ogilvy’s Shanghai & Southern China COO, was quoted as saying that although the commute time has doubled for many staffers, they still love coming to work because the new environment is so much fun.


 
In a media release, M Moser Associates’ director Wendy Leung is quoted as saying that although seeing the workplace as a strategic tool to support business goals is a new concept in China, it is gaining recognition as a serious trend.
 
In operation since 1981, M Moser has offices in 11 countries, specializing in workplace environments including design, strategic planning, engineering and construction.


 
The 25 winners of China's Most Successful Design Award 2008 include cars, other products, and retail and office spaces. - Tuija Seipell

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Offices

February 11 2009



Atelier Exquise is a showroom, design studio, kitchen and a small apartment for Exquise Design in Paris. Exquise is a team of three female designers focusing on designing contemporary lovetoys.

The new space is a meeting place for creatives where they can cook both ideas and food. Designed by Stockholm-based Electric Dreams, the space starts with white walls, ceiling and floor. To this simple backdrop, spurts of electric and luminous pinks, blues, purples, greens and yellow, add a feel of lightness and delight.



Electric Dreams is an architecture and design studio established in 2006 by product designer Joel Degermark and architect Catharina Franklander. Their design work ranges from cool and sleek retail interiors to lush and crazy installations. Degermark’s Cluster lamp for Moooi and the team’s fantastic, multiple concepts for the Swedish brand Monki — purchased in 2006 by H&M — are examples of the duo’s many talents. - Tuija Seipell



Offices

November 19 2008




When the investment group All Capital wanted a power space for their high-powered meetings in Amsterdam, they engaged two local creative firms that had the right vision. Architectural office Eckhardt en Leeuwenstein created the meeting and lounge areas that are prestigious and opulent without being pretentious or stuffy.

Themed around the playful concept of being under a spotlight, the spaces feature gigantic, round, black lamp shades spray-painted gold inside. These power lights appear to cast spot lights and create shadows everywhere in the space. The fake ovals of light and shadow on the floor, walls and furnishings are created by altering the colors and textures of the finish.



The golden ovals also define specific areas and soften the angles of the black-stained ash wood desks and cabinets. In addition, the gold and silver ovals scattered about can be interpreted as coins - highlighting the business of the client. All existing ornamentation and detail of the building was painted white.
 
The All Capital boardrooms and lounge opened last month in the historic, 17th-century building, De Gouden Bocht located by one of the most famous canals of Amsterdam, the Herengracht (=Gentlemen`s Canal).



i29 was established in 2001 by Jaspar Jensen and Jeroen Dellensen. Their style is characterized by a dramatic absence of extras or gimmicks, and by frequent use of clear blocks of color and lots of white. Their projects, mainly in Amsterdam, include schools, retail shops, restaurants, hotels and private residences.
 
Architect duo Rob Eckhardt and Goos Leeuwenstein has a long history of distinctive projects from public spaces to restaurants, entertainment venues and residences. They've created offices for Publicis, DDB and Eigen Fabrikaat, film studios for Jurriaan Eindhoven, and interiors for Restaurant Bordewijk. Eckhardt became known early in his career as a furniture designer with the disco stool Dolores as his first success in the early 1980s. He even operated a retail store that sold his furniture, including the 1983 Groeten uit Holland chair and the 1982 Karel Doorman chaise lounge. - Tuija Seipell




Offices

October 2 2008



Trust Melbourne (the city that holds Design close to its bosom) to be the home of the latest initiative from ANZ Bank; a Breakout & Learning Centre designed by Hassell. As the title suggests, this large, flexible, multi-purpose space is designed to encourage creativity, however it is in the execution that the freedom from constraints of a “normal” office environment is apparent.  Forget about boring corporate colours, obvious branding and drab office furniture (in the style of hit series “The Office”).  



The use of unexpected materials and contradictory colors in the space and its furnishings produces startling results. Plywood, paint and patterned rubber with industrial raw finishes are topped off with a pop of fire-engine red and frog green! Various-size meeting rooms are equipped with state-of-the art technology to enhance the group experience. Perhaps my favorite design features are the “Tree of Knowledge” and the “Giant Foot”. Just like in a fairytale, the tree grows between floors in a natural raw shape reminding us that the childlike imagination is where creativity is ripest. Beneath the tree, the Giant Foot reminds us about reality and perception.  — Kate Vandermeer



Offices

August 25 2008



If you are reading TCH while working, stop for a moment and consider your surroundings? What is your environment like? Are your surroundings in tune with what you should accomplish? Some of us work in our homes while others stare at their computer monitors all day in a multitude of places referred to as “work.”



Our environment has a direct impact on our work and on how we feel about our work. From the time you sit down with your Monday-morning latte to the moment you make the mad dash to the elevator late on Friday afternoon, innumerable stimuli affect your every action and reaction.

Can you gaze out, or better yet, open a window to let in fresh air? Is your concentration broken each time a nearby coworker turns on the external speaker when he answers the phone? Do you spend most of your day away from your workstation? Are the meeting rooms and common areas in your office inviting and inspiring?



Fortunately, designers have become increasingly ingenious when designing office space, but the ones making the decisions at the top deserve praise as well. We’re noticing more and more collaborations between designers and organizations that unquestionably result in satisfaction throughout the staff.



The focus of attention has started to shift. As leaders, we expect employees to produce more, better, faster, cooler. But we often spend all our time and energy ‘evolving our brand,’ and don’t pay much attention to work environments. If we changed the workspace, we’d probably start seeing more of what we want. Creative environments foster and attract creative minds.



Designers have figured it out — change the cube, evolve the thinking. Designers collaborate with interior architects and now the focus is on the entire space. How can we use space better? How do we create an interesting working environment? What if we did something really unusual? Like creating workspace inside a giant pipe — or a series of pipes?

Designers have now also been paying attention to elevators, stairwells, bathrooms, meeting rooms and other social spaces. These previously ignored and undervalued spaces are becoming an integral part of design strategies — and not just to look good, but also to function well. By adding colour, neon, digital interiors, irregular shapes and patterns — cool stuff to look at, to touch, or to sit in or on — we’ll heighten the senses and draw out creative thinking.



We know at least some of you have benefited from our previous take on innovative workspaces, aso now we're now on the hunt for more of the best creative offices for our third book - "World's Most Creative Office Environments.”  Email us at [email protected]This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or nominate yourself if you think you’ve got what we want. - Andrew J Wiener

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Offices

June 11 2008



Great interior design isn't just limited to private homes, the retail world, hotels and public spaces such as art galleries. Smart employers are realizing that a creative workspace inspires greater productivity and...you guessed it, creativity. Since we first identified this trend last year, we've seen many more great examples - so much so that we've decided to launch a whole new section on creative work environments around the globe. Like this great space designed for KULT offices, located in a former school atop Mount Sophia in Singapore, the inspiration for this PR and advertising agency was to return to the uncertainty and excitement of the classroom laboratory. Remember the fascinating hours spent in the school lab - setting fire to stuff, cutting slimy things, peering into microscopes, sniffing foul liquids, adding just a little bit more of that to this to see what happens? Kult staff step into their office through a large cut in the wall, which creates an other-worldly effect as they leave reality behind every morning. A central island work-space is illuminated by a spectacular, suspended light ceiling. This techno element is balanced by the ubiquitous views of nature, delivered by windows situated above each desktop along the entire length of the office's walls. A contrasting color scheme of black and white brings it all together creating a modern space that blends harmoniously with the natural environment.



We're so inspired by cool creative office design that we're going to make the subject of our next book: The World's Coolest Creatives Offices; the second in a series which kicked off on The World's Coolest Hotel Rooms, this week. If you know of such a cool creative environment please send us a tip. By Lisa Evans.

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Offices

June 2 2008



At the end of last year we filled you in briefly on the evolution of office design from autonomous, uninspiring closed spaces to the ubiquitous cube and finally the latest incarnation of creative, motivational and dynamic workable environments.  And now we’re back to tell you about one of the latest projects from the architecture and design firm Camenzind Evolution: Google Zurich.

And what is truly remarkable about this project is that Carmenzind Evolution delivered exactly what Google desired, while not exceeding the costs of many conventional interior office fit-outs.  The design team began by working closely with Google through the pre-design process by interviewing all 350 employees with the intention of incorporating their ideas into a new workspace.  Because many companies spend excessive amounts on furniture and finishes that have nothing to do with how the employees work and interact within the space, the final design resulted in elements from which the so-called ‘Zooglers’ would benefit most.



Stefan Camenzind, the design firm’s founding partner, reveals the essential considerations that led to the innovative creation for the new office space in Zurich: staff knows better than a management committee what works best based on personality types; flexibility of space allows employees take ownership and feel like they belong; communal areas can and should be outlandish and inspiring; bold, clean colour will successfully change the character of the room; cash is always well-spent on an extraordinary coffee machine rather than on soda or junk food; and finally, it’s OK and even recommended to splurge on a few signature items rather than going all out on carpet, furniture and chairs, all of which can amount to spending too much on the stuff no one notices anyway.



Keeping all that in mind, let’s dissect Google’s new EMEA Engineering Hub located within walking distance of Zurich city centre in the ‘Hurlimann Areal.’  The building was originally a brewery that has been converted in to a vibrant mixed-use development of residential and commercial spaces, including shops and a spa hotel. The Google offices comprise seven storeys of 12,000 square metres of floor space for up to 800 employees.

A diverse team of Zooglers was assembled and represented the entire staff by approving and rejecting nearly every aspect of the interior fit-out.  Carmenzind Evolution was never given a specific design brief, but instead followed the directions and recommendations given by the steering committee.  Another unique element included in the design process was the involvement of a psychologist who administered a survey to each employee identifying both emotional and practical requirement of the Zooglers.



The final design strategy involved the creation of highly functional, yet somewhat basic individual workspace surrounded by proportionally larger, highly stimulating communal areas and meeting spaces.  Open-plan workspaces were created for 8-10 employees, whilst glass-partitioned offices were built for smaller work teams allowing for both transparency and light from the outside, as well as creating the required degree of privacy from within.  And because the average Google worker moves workstations twice a year, each area has to be exceedingly flexibly and adaptable. 

Every floor is individually themed and colour-coded allowing for effortless orientation.  The fifth floor, the history floor, was designed to resemble an old library parlor.  The meeting room has large overstuffed sofas and chairs, dark, velvet curtains, a fireplace and a chandelier.  The fourth floor is the green floor — the environment floor.  The communal spaces have large, cocoon-like meeting areas amidst a forest of tree trunks.  Zooglers can slide down a pole from the floor above into the space.  And the third floor’s theme is Switzerland.  The floors have carpets that look like snow, and ski gondolas have been converted into meeting spaces.  Igloo Satellite Cabins allow work teams to close themselves off to their surroundings and attend videoconferences with peers around the world. 



Other noteworthy communal areas include an aquarium water lounge where workers can chill out in foam-brick-filled bathtubs; a massage spa and a games room to play billiards, foosball and other video games; the Milliways cafeteria accessible via a large spiral slide where chefs use local produce to offer fresh meals; and a fitness studio offering group yoga and Pilates classes.  And as each communal area is dispersed throughout the seven floors, Zooglers are encouraged to circulate and explore thereby increasing their interaction and communication with co-workers from every department. 

We have to admit we’re huge fans of socially-inclusive design processes — and the design team at Carmenzind Evolution were dedicated to insuring the wants and needs of each Google employee in Zurich were met — and usually even exceeded.  Google, of course, is a highly innovative and effervescent company where their new relaxed work environment will undoubtedly inspire and motivate Zooglers to keep the company moving forward while conceiving provoking initiatives. By Andrew J Wiener.





Offices

April 8 2008



Diane von Furstenberg Studio’s new headquarters fits perfectly in New York City’s fashionable Meatpacking District, also known as the Gansevoort Market Historic District. The new, six-story building is wedged between two historical, landmarked facades that resemble the wall props in Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba. One corner of the structure is topped by a Olot, Spain-made faceted glass sphere that is part of the penthouse suite and seems like a gigantic diamond fallen from the sky.

In the design, New York-based WORK Architecture managed to combine old and new, light and dark, openness and enclosure, artistry and practicality. The building houses DVF’s flagship store, a 5,000-square-foot showroom and event space, offices and studios for a 120 people, an executive suite, and a penthouse apartment.



Inside the building, the chief feature is the “stairdelier,” a wide stairway that connects the floors and distributes light throughout the building. Flexibility characterizes all of the public areas. Pivoting walls and built-in unfolding “steamer-trunk” structures allow for a wide use of the space for fashion shows, photo shoots, events and parties.

WORK was founded in 2002 by Beirut, Lebanon-born Amale Andraos and Rhode Island native Dan Wood. Many of their projects are in New York, but their work includes everything from a master plan of an Icelandic town to a theatre stage set, from low-income housing towers in New York to a luxury residence in Panama, plus retail, office and residential projects around the world. WORK is also designing 14 DVF stores in 11 countries.

Diane von Furstenberg was born in Brussels, Belgium, 61 years ago. She started her fashion designer career in 1970. Famous for her wrap dresses, which she started creating in 1973, she has become a veritable fashion icon. She is also the current president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, the non-profit association of America’s fashion heavy-weights. By Tuija Seipell
 
See also Creative Work Environments

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