Sometimes working 9-5 in that bland, box-shaped office can get you down. Maybe what you need is a waterslide, or a giant shipwreck in the auditorium, or a nuclear bunker?
The Swedish internet provider, founded in 1994 by Oscar Swartz, is a key service, that’s for sure…but wait until you’ve seen their office. It looks like something from a Stanley Kubrick film – a sci-fi lair of sorts. The office, designed by Albert France-Lanord is built in a former anti-atomic shelter in Stockholm. It used to serve as a nuclear bunker during the Cold War and also was the homeplace for the WikiLeaks servers. Just think…if there was a nuclear holocaust…the Swedes will still be able to check their Facebook profiles. It is located 30 meters under the granite rock of the Vita Berg Park and offers 141,000 cubic feet of space for high-tech offices and computer pods. The first thing you’ll see when entering the space is two massive German submarine engines that automatically start in the case of a shut-down. There are also two huge, soundproof glass tubes that hover in the air of the bunker that serves as two meeting rooms. The office space is called Pionen. The choice of lighting in Pionen was a real issue in the development of this space, so it seems every corner of this space radiates the warmth of over a million light bulbs and electrical sockets. Such a cool idea for an office!
Just bare with me for a sec and let me tell you the awesomeness of this office in only three words. Three. Storey. Slide…I know, right. Mind blown. The office features designer aesthetic. Garden walls, techno work-spaces, play-rooms and open-plan spaces. Located in Toronto, Canada, the Corus Entertainment business is something you just have to see to believe. It currently has 5,000 workers slaving away (I say ‘slaving’ lightly – more like playing away). I mean, its portfolio is huge, and so is its office! It’s also home to the Cartoon Network channel, YTV and Teletoon. The Corus Entertainment group brings together unique culture and vision. It must be a laugh to work there. It’s a place for inspiration – so it’s no surprise that this company has gone to enormous lengths to make sure that the creative process is enriching for the workers. They’ve achieved this via the design of Corus Quay – their company headquarters – which is a massive, spacious workplace, full of enjoyment, creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. With huge, looping slides instead of stairs, a gorgeous ‘vertical garden’ which turns one of the walls into a tropical paradise, an indoor picnic area and themed TV studios, it turns expectations on their head, and blazes a bright trail for others to follow.
First opening its office in 2006, the Google offices in Tel Aviv, Israel definitely make going to work an absolute pleasure. This office space spans over 500 work spaces and includes three restaurants, a slide, a games room, a Lego room, a music room and even an orange grove! Who needs an orange grove at work? Google does, that’s who! Its new office cater to a new wave of engineers, sales and marketing. The space was designed by Swiss design team, Camenzind Evolution and Israeli design teams, Setter Architects and Studio Yaron Tal. The new office space offers eight floors in the Electra Tower in central Tel Aviv. Each floor is themed differently, creating a unique environment for each different role. The first floor, nicknamed Neve Tzedek, is heavily influenced by Europe in the late 19th century. Rustic-looking windows, flower-pots lining the hallways. The second level is called The Beach and (don’t lie) we all fancy the idea of lounging on a deck chair at the beach whilst at work. You arrive on this floor via a waterslide! This floor is dedicated to techsupport, so it’s no surprise that lifesavers hang from the walls. They are the lifesavers of the company!
“There is clear separation between the employees’ traditional desk-based work environment and those communication areas, granting privacy and focus when required,” says Stefan Camenzind, founder of Evolution Design, who designed the interior. You’ll never want to leave work! The building is incredible, to say the least. Picnic tables, trees and incredible design decorate the walls…Pinball machines and Nintendo Wii’s in the boardrooms, massive Lego blocks, vending machines and a gym and swimming pool are other features offered in Tel Aviv’s offices.
With its 12,000 employee entourage, Apple’s latest offices in Cupertino, California are certainly the creme de la creme of office spaces. From the outside, it looks like a giant O-shaped spaceship sent down from another galaxy. Apple Park is Steve Job’s post-humonious lovechild, costing an estimated USD$7 billion dollars to build. Designed by the British design firm Foster + Partners whose previous projects were Wembley Stadium, Canary Wharf Underground Station, Stansted Airport, London’s Millennium Bridge, and the Hearst Tower in New York. This office space houses a 1,000 seat auditorium, a 9292 square meter fitness gym, 3.2 kilometers-worth of running and fitness tracks, 1,000 bicycle lanes, an orchard, a meadow and a pond. Most of the energy from the offices come from an on-site low carbon Central Plant. One of the main features of the offices are massive 45 foot glass panels that section off the work spaces. With its tech-savvy aesthetic and suave style, the Apple offices are ones that seem to have surpassed expectations, being labelled as the newest and most attractive offices in the world.
Lego is a childhood treasure of mine. I remember having massive Lego sets in my bedroom when I was a child. Hogwarts from Harry Potter, the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars…the list went on. So writing this piece on the Lego offices offers me a certain type of nostalgia. Located in Billund, Denmark, the offices incorporate a sense of fun and unity, as you’d expect from the company. It’s like a big funhouse full of lucky buggers who play for a living. Rosan Bosch and Rune Fjord designed the space saying that “The idea of scale is challenged with design elements such as huge grass wall graphics and a giant LEGO man and tables with built-in bonsai gardens, thus playing with perception and scale – who is big and who is small? Where does work stop and imagination start?” On the inside, it has aerial walkways that resemble lego clouds and animated, big characters that lurk behind every corner. Collaborative spaces also are mixed in the open meeting rooms. Private rooms with individual offices, enclosed meeting rooms and a “Fun Zone” where Lego’s tiniest employees test new models help development between the workers. This layout incorporates a sociable aspect to the working experience and reminds workers to utilize and appreciate life’s finest moments of play.
This 75,000-squarefoot design-facility houses numerous themed set offices. including a pirate ship, treehouse and giant robot, in which creative personnel design and develop new products and really showcase. Pretty awesome for a place of work, am I right? Based in Pittsburgh, California, the Inventionland offices are certainly immersive work environments where ideas are created and imaginations runs wild. Created and opened by George Davison in 2006, this creative building has soared into popularity by being the centre of its entertainment hub. The company’s ideas are conceived at the Inventalot Castle, take flight inside Davy’s treehouse, become real inside the Animation Attic and race away around the Inventionland Motor Speedway. It even has a cupcake shop, caves, castles and giant shoes to sit in! Inventionland was first a bare warehouse, so it’s amazing to think that it’s now a place that brings together inspiration and creativity.
Facebook Menlo Park
Spread over 230,671 square meters, Facebook certainly hit it out the park when it comes to simplistic but classy offices. Everybody knows Facebook. Everyone has a Facebook. Worth an estimated NZD$707 billion, it’s no surprise its HQ is the coolest thing you’ll ever see. It has its own bike hire business (so you can bike around work), a repair shop (if you crash said bike), lolly-shops, frozen-yoghurt, two restaurants, a barber’s, doctors, physiotherapists, and chiropractors. Mark Zuckerberg must be happy with his latest office space, opened in 2015.
Designed by award-winning architect, Frank Gehry, it’s an explosion of colour and art. Paint splatters on the walls in a massive geometric mural by Maya Hayuk, a psychedelic piece by Jen Stark. You’d expect the building to be as designed as a massive thumbs-up, or an F with a blue background – but it looks more like a shed on the outside. Inside, the ceiling is bare, exposing wires dangling from the ceiling. You enter this amazing office via a Narnialike tunnel that is fully tech-savvy. There’s also a tram that runs every half hour. The coolest thing, I reckon about the Facebook offices is that vending machines are dotted around everywhere. In these vending machines, however, are little treasures that a worker might have left at home. Phone chargers, headphones, keyboards, even laptops are there for any workers disposal. In the words of the great Mark Zuckerberg: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” There is a risk in this office. A risk of getting too ‘out of hand’ with an office space. Facebook took a risk and it certainly paid off.