GHD, makers of the must-have hair straightening irons (many a woman's best friend, let me tell you) have just joined the cool offices club. The company's new 15,600 sq ft head quarters in Leeds is more space ship than corporate office. And that's exactly how they wanted it, according to UK firm Carey Jones interiors, who designed the futuristic space, which features a "catwalk" in the reception area.
The objective of the two-year long project was to capture GHD's sense of style and uniqueness in the market place and translate that into their HQ's design. Mission accomplished. - Lisa Evans
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
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.
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.
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