Ten of the most innovative office buildings in the world
For many workers, going back to the office can be a less than exciting prospect, but there are offices, and then there are offices!
The world’s most innovative offices may be geographically spread, but they share some common themes. These inspirational, innovative office spaces consider every worker’s needs. They craft out areas for creativity, acknowledge the importance of interaction and wellbeing and provide the tools for collaboration.
This selection of the world’s most innovative offices spans a wide variety of designs, but each ably reflects their company’s purpose and goals.
The Google Office – Zurich, Switzerland
Let’s start with the big G, famous for innovative office spaces. Google is fun and fresh and home to an army of dedicated employees. Zurich has a variety of amazing office space but the Google office is fun and creative, providing all employees with the perfect space to mix business and pleasure.
In the Google office it’s said that staff should be no more than 100m away from food at any time, and in the many kitchens, the chefs provide three meals a day, free of charge. Once inside the office you can take the slide or fireman’s pole to skip from one floor to another or focus on some quiet time in the library or the aquarium. If you get the opportunity to join the Google team and work in the office, you’ll need to follow their eight Google rules …
- Stay simple
- Great just isn’t good enough
- Give value for free
- Protect your market
- No hype necessary
- Don’t take yourself too seriously
- Don’t be evil
Image: Business Insider
The Spotify Office – Stockholm, Sweden
According to Spotify “nothing in Stockholm is too trendy”. Instead, their offices embrace simple elements of Scandinavian tradition—including nature—which place a focus on people and productivity. The offices are sleek, modern, and welcoming for visitors and staff alike. From meetings and presentations to ping-pong tournaments and artist studio sessions, there’s plenty of room for all who enter to create, collaborate, and inspire.
Spotify’s office features an arcade, a lush café-lounge, a karaoke room, a theatre, on-site recording studios and actual arts-and-crafts tables. The whole building oozes creativity and collaboration. The interior hosts expansive meeting rooms and social spaces, crafted for conversations. Staff can choose to work from a range of flexible zones and choose from free-desks or fishbowls, or focus rooms, or the rooftop, with expansive views over Stockholm.
According to Katarina Berg, Global Head for Human Resources, the offices are “an extension of our culture and part of our employer branding strategy.”
Image: Protect My People
Indoor Skater Bowl at Comvert Office – Milan, Italy
When you convert an old cinema building into an office and warehousing complex, what should you do with the extra ceiling space above where the audience sat? Turn it into a skate bowl – naturally.
Alternative clothing company Comvert chose an old, abandoned cinema building to house their new headquarters in Milan. The workspace was large enough to house their offices, a shop and a warehouse all under one roof and the ceiling space was used to create a suspended skating bowl.
The 1400 sq m workspace is in keeping with their alternative, trendy image and provides a space for their staff not only to work but to play also. Next time you’re in Milan why not pay a visit to their imaginatively titled Bastard Store and check out the offices for yourself.
The YouTube Office – San Bruno, California
YouTube is a phenomenal success story. It was purchased by Google in October 2006 for 1.65Bn and in 2020 recorded revenues of $19.8B. Like its parent Google, YouTube has invested heavily in making a statement with its office space. The YouTube office in San Bruno has huge open plan floors. Amenities include free Segway riding, gaming, swimming, a gym and of course, indoor putting!
By blending the working environment with so many leisure activities, YouTube hopes that staff will be sufficiently relaxed and inspired to come up with new ideas and maximise their collaborative experiences with colleagues.
The spacious lobby area features a giant video wall and elements of biophilia support employee wellness, whilst complimenting the natural wooden textures throughout the space. Floor "medallions" encourage visitors to interact with the digital installation. Each medallion is a graphic representing one of YouTube's core values. When you step on one, it triggers a reaction on the digital wall. The impressive lobby shares the ambitions of the YouTube video platform, being designed to foster creativity, exploration, and discovery.
Image: Business Insider
The SelgasCano Office – Madrid, Spain
In complete contrast to those huge US office playgrounds, we’ve featured this amazing office space from Spanish architecture practice SelgasCano. Designed by architects Jose Selgas and Lucia Cano of SelgasCano for their own office, this incredible workspace is half underground and half above ground set in a forest near Madrid.
A 20mm thick, curved window made of transparent acrylic forms the north-facing wall of the main tunnel-like space. The opaque, south-facing aspect is constructed from a 110mm thick, insulated, fiberglass and polyester sandwich, offering shade from direct sunlight. A hinged opening attached to a weighted pulley mechanism at one end of the building allows varying degrees of natural ventilation.
The result is a truly unique space in which to work, light and airy, with clean lines and colourful details. If you like to get close to nature, this office is hard to beat.
The Pallotta TeamWorks Office – Los Angeles, California
The 47,000 Sq Ft Pallotta TeamWorks office in LA can certainly proudly wear the label of “innovative office space”. The privately owned company produces multiday fundraising events for non-profit organisations and wanted to keep office overheads to a minimum. The budget for their new HQ was limited to just $40 per square foot and the designers were challenged to think differently.
It was decided to locate the company’s work areas in air-conditioned “breathing islands” in loosely enclosed tents, within the unconditioned warehouse. They decided to use converted shipping containers as private offices and corner anchors for the tented structures. This innovative design and striking colour scheme create a fun working environment that is both cheap to construct and to run.
The project yielded considerable savings over conventional office builds and reinforced the company’s message of promoting responsible, sustainable ways of living and working.
Image: Clive Wilkinson Architects
BMW Welt Office – Munich, Germany
BMW say that their BMW Welt office in Munich is “completely unique – both inside and out”, and we can’t disagree. The facility combines futuristic architecture with fascinating insights into the present and future of mobility. BMW Welt is much more than an office complex, it houses exhibitions, events and features a range of culinary opportunities.
The office design is planned to promote cross functional working. There are focus areas for when quiet time is needed and a range of facilities which promote collaboration and socialising. BMW Welt is an exciting space, blending elements of nature with an industrial feel. There are bright colours and textures to stimulate the mind and carefully crafted office areas designated for each stage of work.
BMW Welt is presented on a huge scale, and should you get the opportunity to visit this impressive facility you can enjoy it’s auditoriums, lounges, business centre, terraces and business club. The curvaceous Double Cone Hall (illustrated) gives you a flavour of how special this innovative workspace is.
The Meta Facebook Office – Palo Alto, California
Gloriously situated in Menlo Park on the edge of San Francisco Bay is Facebook’s HQ. It’s set on a sprawling campus and to some feels more like a town than an office. Known as “MPK” by its occupants the site contains over 30 buildings and covers more than 250 acres.
When Facebook set about designing its office, it asked its employees what they would want from the office. Unsurprisingly the result is a superb working environment with ample space to work, rest and play. The offices are vast, airy, open plan designs complemented by fantastic relaxation areas, a skate zone and DJ booth.
A new building MPK 21 was completed in under 18 months and connects to the existing building (MPK 20), via an ornate sunken garden. A mixture of staggered seating and tropical plants provides a range of flexible workspaces for employees. A central courtyard in the middle of the new structure forms the "town square" of the workplace, complete with restaurants, amenities and redwood trees.
An events space is under construction, that will host 2,000 seats for Facebook gatherings and a new 8,000 sq m park is also being created. The new buildings include a number of sustainable and environmental features, like a water recycling system, photovoltaic solar panels on the roof, and an abundance of glass to reduce the use of artificial lighting. The campus has been designed to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification. All we can say is “Wow”.
DTAC HQ Office – Bangkok, Thailand
DTAC (Total Access Communication Public Company Ltd) is Thailand’s third largest GSM mobile phone company. They decided to bring their six separate Bangkok offices under one roof and in so doing created the largest office lease in Thailand’s history, occupying c.650,000 sq ft.
The rationale given by the company for this bold move was to become the employer of choice and to enhance cooperation and communication, strengthen common goals, increase creativity.
The new office spans 22 floors and reflects the company’s desire to “play and learn”. Among the design highlights are the huge circular library amphitheatre, a “fun” floor with indoor football, table tennis, running track, concert and performance spaces. For those creative, collaborative moments, staff can use the Conversation Pit, the Freeform Meeting, Picnic Table, or Dining Room – all designed to encourage face to face meetings.
The final touch is a stunning roof terrace with spectacular views across the Bangkok skyline.
Image: Economic Times
The Red Bull Office – Soho, London
When Red Bull set about creating their London HQ in 2018, they chose to convert five old pubs into one joined 8,000 sq ft office. It was a massive project and an opportunity to create a unique and different office with plenty of space and interesting features set within a Grade I listed building.
The office is home to around 100 employees, mostly in their 20s, who come to collaborate and work together creatively in an inspiring workspace. Whilst the majority of the workspace is open, vibrant and buzzing, the fifth floor has more enclosed spaces and is reserved for quieter, focus work.
There are many great offices in Soho, but few can boast the facilities on offer at Red Bull. There are music studios, performance areas, a gaming space, comfortable lounge, and an interconnecting staircase across five floors. Not to mention the reception area which turns into a bar at night.
With a workspace that truly represents the energy and ethos of the Red Bull brand, they have managed to create a workspace in London that truly “gives you wings”.
Image: Office Snapshots
Image: Office Snapshots