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The Unconventional Guide to Work

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20 Ideal Office Spaces for Creative Agency Employees

Have you ever woken up to your alarm in the morning and thought, “Oh, no, not another day at the office!”

Leaving your comfortable bed and dragging yourself into rush-hour traffic to the office can be a real drag, even if you love the work you do. But what if your office featured beautiful natural surroundings, a three-storey slide, a running track, skate park, or a DJ booth?

There’s so much more to an office than just desks and a coffee machine. An office is a space for people to come together and share ideas, to socialise and to learn from each other. These 20 companies have got the right idea, and have sought to create unique and beautiful office spaces that encourage and facilitate employee collaboration, enjoyment, and empowerment.

Which of these 20 beautiful office spaces would you like for yourself?

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1. Google Office - Zurich

You couldn’t write a list about beautiful office spaces without including Google. The company has a huge focus on creating vibrant, fun places to work. Google’s rule that no worker should be more than 100 meters away from food means there are kitchens in every corner, as well as the onsite cafeteria where staff are fed 3 meals a day (included free as part of their employment). 100m too far to walk? No worries, you can take the slide or fireman’s pole. Need to relax? Chill out in the library or aquarium.

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2. TBWA Hakuhodo Office, Toyko, Japan

As an advertising agency, TBWA Hakuhodo wanted their office space to convey their brand message – “we think differently”. So they teamed up with Klein Dytham Architecture to create a zen-like office space that’s ethereal, playful and stunningly beautiful. Lined with trees and grass, the office space itself features warm hardwood floors that bring the outside in. The office itself is a former bowling alley located in an entertainment complex, so above and below the space employees can enjoy bowling, golf, and other recreational activities.

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3. Facebook – Palo Alto, California

Following the trend of other major tech companies, Facebook’s Palo Alto office is a unique mix of functional spaces and fun features. Using Facebook to poll employees (because, who wouldn’t?) about what they really wanted in an office space, Facebook set out to create a beautiful space where employees could work hard and relax. A DJ booth looks out over a beautiful relaxation space and skate park.

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4. Selgas Cano, Madrid

Of course, no one understand the benefits of a beautiful workspace better than architects, so is it any surprise that the office of Selgas Cano architects is so stunningly serene. Half buried, the office looks out into a forest. The designers wanted to focus less on the latest gadgets and trends and more on creating a serene space that mirrored and celebrated the natural environment. Cosy and comfortable, with bold splashes of colour, this looks like a fantastic place to meet clients and design beautiful buildings.

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5. YouTube, San Bruno, California

The web’s biggest online video-sharing company was acquired by Google after only two years in business, and the search engine giant swept in and made over their offices in their uniquely grand and experimental way. The concept behind the YouTube office design is that if employees are relaxed and stimulated, they will be better equipped for thinking up creative solutions and ideas. So employees at YouTube can enjoy free food, an onsite gym and swimming pool, gaming, an indoor putting course and free Segway roaming throughout the complex.

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6. Corus Quay, Toronto, Canada

Called Toronto’s “smartest building”, no list of beautiful office spaces could be complete without a glimpse into the Corus Quay office. Designed to bring together more than 1000 workers who used to be spread across 11 sites, the office is about maximising productivity and keeping the workforce engaged with the company to help it grow. The office features bright colours, Big TVs, relaxation areas and social lounges, boardroom tables in the shape of ice hockey rinks (well, this IS Canada), and a five storey atrium complete with a three storey slide.

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7. White Mountain Office, Stockholm, Sweden

Designed by Albert France Lanord Architects, the White Mountain office is porbably one of the most beautiful and majestic workspaces in the world. This Swedish ISP is located in an abandoned anti-atomic shelter 100 feet below the streets of Stockholm. Curved glass walls and modern spaces fit perfectly inside the raw, hewn rock face of the old shelter – a stunning, and unusual marriage of nature and industry. The space truly looks like the lair of a James Bond villain.

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8. North Advertising, Portland, Oregon

A relaxed and modern office space created by Skylab Architecture, North Advertising’s office is the ideal place to exercise one’s creativity. Subtle and clever use of colour brings this space to life and makes it warm and inviting. It seems Skylab are anxious to live up to their name, as the defining feature of the North office is the second-storey meeting room that seems to float above the open plan workspaces below. Polished wood floors add a warmth to the space.

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9. Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ljubljana, Slovenia

We travel to Slovenia to find our next architectural office wonder – the Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a building like no other. On the roof level a panoramic garden surrounds the entire structure, making anyone inside feel as if they are in the middle of the forest, instead of in the heart of one of the country’s largest cities. White sculptural shapes create the structure of the building, and glass forms most walls and surfaces, creating a flowing, space that encourages creativity and invigoration.

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10. Comvert, Milan, Italy

Alternative clothing label Comvert have created a space that brings their brand experience to life. The company found this abandoned cinema with space enough to house their offices, warehousing and The Bastard Store in the front. But the cavernous cinema space offered the scope for another feature – an indoor skate bowl suspended above the warehouse. This office is the dream workplace of any skateboarding enthusiast.

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11. Long Barn Studio, Nicolas Tye Architects, England

You can tell a good architect if you show up to his office building of a meeting and discover it looks like this! The Long Barn Studio is the office of Nicholas Tye Architects, and it combines everything the company is famous for – sustainability, integration in and awareness of the surrounding environment, comfort and elegance. The long design with its full glass walls seems to float on the field, and the timber cladding feels like an extension of the surrounding trees. Inside, subdued lighting and comfortable open-plan spaces, combined with walls of natural wood and the wide vista from the windows acting as a kind of natural artwork, the space manages to feel cosy and comfortable.

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12. Lego, Denmark

Could you imagine a company that’s more fun to work for than Lego? The company’s policy is to encourage staff to fuel their imaginations, and their lights and colourful office certainly achieve that. Spaces are designed so that anyone in the office can play with the lego to create something new, and different sized meeting rooms encourage groups of all sizes to come together. If you can think of a better job than using your imagination and playing with lego all day, I’d like to hear it!

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13. LivingSocial, Washington, D.C.

Much like Groupon, LivingSocial are a daily deals company who are growing rapidly, and they need a space where their staff can work hard but enjoy some fun and relaxation at the same time. The building is a beautiful melding of old and new, with exposed brick walls and old shutters next to state-of-the-art games machines, modernist couches and pop art photographs of donuts. This is another one of those tech spaces where they expect hard work, but the workspace is definitely NOT all work and no play.

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14. Pixar, Emeryville, California

Now one of the world’s most successful animation studios, Pixar have brought us the lovable characters from films such as Wall-E, Finding Nemo, and Toy Story. Like their brand, their office reflects a sense of fun. The workspaces are a hive of activity where employees can enjoy games of ping pong or pool, or collaborate in shared spaces adorned with figurines from the films. Micro offices allow serious work to be done.

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15. Saegeling Medizintechnik, Germany

Saegeling Medizintechnik are responsible for manufacturing some of the most innovative medical and hospital equipment available on the market today. A poster child for that infamous German precision and perfection engineering, it’s no surprise that the company’s head office should be a building of such modern elegance. Sultry curves lead the eye around the walls, and wide, white spaces bring a sense of serenity. A pristine, modern building filled with technological gadgetry that echoes the products they design.

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16. Zappos, Las Vegas, Nevada

If you live outside the US, you might not have heard of Zappos. They are the largest online retailer of shoes in the world, and they’ve got where they are because of their phenomenal customer service policies. Now owned by Amazon, their Nevada headquarters has become an example of their focus letting the individual shine. Unlike most offices which are now open-plan, Zappos employees have cubicles, and they’re encouraged to decorate their cubicles however they like. Toys, hanging flowers, trinkets and unusual décor grace every corner – but don’t take my word for it. You can actually take a free tour of the Nevada office and see what makes the Zappos brand so successful.

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17. Red Bull, London

Red Bull are a brand with a real focus on the here and now – supporting youth culture through sponsorship of athletes, and creating some of the most cutting edge marketing campaigns of the last five years. So it’s no surprise that their office is a master of modern architecture. Sleek, modern and full of surprises, The three-storey office features bold architectural spaces, lounge-like collaboration hubs and even a carbon slide.

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18. ThinkGarden, Milan, Italy

The second building on our list from Milan, ThinkGarden have truly embraced their brand in their office design. While they accept that in order to accomplish their work, employees need to be indoors, ThinkGarden have done their best to bring nature inside with them. Picture plants, trees and flowers in every corner, beanbags shaped like stones, organic shapes and non-linear spaces, and walls covered in murals of lush forests and cosy woodland. A space where you can get close to nature without getting mud on your shoes.

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19. Fornari Group Office, Milan Italy

The third entry on our list from the city of Milan, the Fournari Group Office looks more like a deck on the starship Enterprise than a company headquarters. The 35,000 square foot building was converted from a historic porcelain workshop to its current modernist, fluid state. Sweeping counters and flowing shapes create unique and often optically misleading spaces. Is this the office of the 22nd Century?

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20. DTac HQ, Bangkok, Thailand

DTac is one of Thailand’s leading telecommunications companies, and they’ve gone out of their way to create a comfortable and appealing workspace for their 3,200 employees. The DTac office is now the largest in Thailand, occupying more than 650,000 square feet. Some of their 22-floor space is dedicated to pool tables, a running track, and concert and performance spaces. A massive circular library amphitheatre has been designed for reading and socialising, and the piece-de-resistance is an open rooftop terrace for surveying the Bangkok skyline.

Would you like to work in one of these offices? What features of your own office make it a wonderful (or a terrible) place to work? Let us know in the comments!