The notion of what an office is supposed to look like continued to morph in 2016. There was a lot of hand-wringing, too. Are coworking spaces the office of the future? Or is their rise cause for concern? Is there a comfortable in-between that combines the benefits of a flexible work environment with those of a more structured one? Or is the seeming prevalence of non-traditional offices all hype?
One thing is for certain: An economy in an ever-constant state of flux means that the rules for what an office should be are flying out the window—at least in the sectors of tech and design. What has emerged are workspaces that are specifically engineered to promote productivity, but not of the generic kind. Innovation is key, and companies are using physical spaces to engender that, however impossible the task may be. We present forthwith the most exciting office spaces of 2016.
The 84,000-square-foot space called Atrium is located in Camden Market and is decorated with the British designer’s sleek wingback chairs and pendant lamps made with perforated metal. Not a shabby place to set up a laptop.
Old buildings often find new life as offices, as is the case with the former Royal Bank of Canada. Startup Crew Collective restored the ground floor, turning it into a majestic coworking space that also comprises the company’s headquarters and a cafe.
Here’s another impressive conversion, this time by way of New York, where the Brooklyn Navy Yard once launched ships and is now launching software startups. Originally built in 1902, the 84,000-square-foot space, now reborn as New Lab, supports firms working in urban technology, energy, robotics, connected devices, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and the built environment.
When Rapt Studio redid the 300,000-square-foot home of beloved file hosting company Dropbox, it established disparate zones as “neighborhoods” inspired by the diversity of cities. Moss balls hang from the ceiling of the mirrored, double-height lobby, a karaoke bar offers musical respite, and a library inspired by Italian movies from the 1970s boasts groovy arches.
Normally, an all-white office would make us shudder, but design and innovation consultancy IA Collaborative’s new 20,000-square-foot space offers a breath of fresh air. That’s mostly due to the enormous skylights and a massive roof deck that acts a refuge in the middle of the city.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) must have gotten the memo long before everyone else did, as the London office outfitted itself in “greenery,” Pantone’s Color of Year for 2017, with bright green carpeting matching the plastic shell chairs and various other accents throughout.
Though it’s small—and has cubicles!—the colorful office of Spanish design firm Masquepacio certainly packs a punch, proving that the more things change, the more they stay the same.