The 'office space as adult playground' is dead. Which is to say that it is very much alive, but it's now en vogue to reject the kooky converted warehouse and all its cookie-cutter whimsicality. Case in point: Brooklyn-based architecture firm INABA's "normcore" design for Red Bull's Chelsea workspace.
Generically whitewashed and refreshingly insignia-free, the space has a gallery-like feel throughout, with polished concrete floors, and color provided by tinted glass partitions and midcentury furniture. In a statement, INABA emphasized that the space is "dialed back to reset the focus of the experience on the basic architectural qualities of scale and light," while going against the prevailing theory that workplace productivity shoots up when your office doesn't feel like one.
INABA further states that by keeping space undefined, they left the office with greater potential to meet the changing needs of a large company:
"Acknowledging that offices and technology are evolving quickly and the future functions of the work environment are unpredictable, the architects composed a layout of spaces with distinct, fixed features. The three types of spaces are large open zones, medium-sized enclosed areas, and small rooms."The office currently hosts 60 employees, but could accommodate twice that without any renovations. It's a wonder that many workers can stay sane without any orange grove lounges, or a gesture as grand as a wall of blue hair! (Not.)
A recent piece in Businessweek contextualizes the design as fitting for the low-key company, which doesn't give interviews, and has its headquarters in a "low-slung, unmarked building" in the small Austrian town of Fuschl am See. Speaking to the magazine, firm principal Jeffrey Inaba calls the space the direct antithesis of "the new [office design] standard" or creating a "a physical experience that reinforces the brand attributes the company has successfully established in the digital environment."
This, he calls "not exactly the architectural equivalent of normcore, but it's a similar response." Being off-trend is so on-trend right now.
· Red Bull's INABA-designed office is the "antithesis" of trendy workspaces [Archinect]
· Red Bull's New York HQ Is Office Normcore [Businessweek]