Life At The Office?

Spartan office furniture, mouse-grey wall-to-wall carpets and a dying plant – most office spaces are dreary. The coffee table book entitled “WorkScape” shows that offices can actually be really attractive

The architects at Hassell and Lend Lease Design designed the headquarters of the ANZ Financial Group in Melbourne

Where do you work best? At a quiet desk or comfortably seated on your sofa, in a modestly furnished room with a great view or at a busy Café? In the best case scenario your workspace should contain everything you need to work effectively and feel well. “WorkScape” demonstrates innovative and exceptional solutions. With generous series of images and floor plans Sofia Borges presents more than 30 examples of business facilities and companies all over the world planned and implemented by famous architects.

According to Borges, work should correspond to what one really wants to do. It is part of an individual’s personality. The era of strictly nine-to-five jobs is a thing of the past as are standardized work spaces. Humans are not machines, they need an inspiring environment, the architecture says. “The more time people spend at the office, the less time they have for their hobbies and themselves.” The challenge is to close this gap when designing modern workspaces, to avoid “people becoming frustrated”.

The presented projects range from facilities for large syndicates to offices for small start-ups, and truly do not look like workspaces in the classic sense of the word, but appear as places to relax and enjoy. Daum, a South Korean IT company, for example, purposely located their headquarters on a deserted volcanic island instead in the hectic metropolis Seoul. The building designed by Mass Studies perfectly blends into the volcanic landscape, the complex offers child care and areas for quiet relaxation. If you wish to clear your head, do some gardening. Daum considers outdoor activities an important part of their work.

Sofia Borges, Sven Ehmann, Robert Klanten (Publ.): WorkScape: New Spaces for New Work, Gestalten Verlag, ISBN: 978-3-89955-495-3, 240 Pages, 39.90 Euro

The co-working offices for NeueHouse in New York are reminiscent of living rooms, where the borders between leisure time and work, between public and private seem to disappear. A transparent curtain elegantly floats around the conference room at the headquarters of Schlaich Bergermann and Partner Engineering in Stuttgart. On the other hand, the headquarters of Urban Outfitters has a temporary feel: the label is housed in a former factory hall and happily mixes old and new elements. The mobile phone company dtac in Bangkok offers a specially marked area across the office floor to encourage running.

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dtac House, designed by Hassell

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Hurley Headquarters, designed by Hurley

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NeueHouse, designed by The Rockwell Group

Representative foyer or comfy tea kitchen, whole foods cafeteria or readers’ corner – they are not expenses but investments for the company, Borges quotes pioneer and education expert Ken Robinson. The question remains whether businesses simply want you to spend as much time as possible at work, as “colleagues become a second family and the office itself becomes a second home.” On the other hand, a workplace with atmosphere, where you feel at home, definitely has its merits. Seriously, who really likes mouse-grey carpets and neglected plants?

In any case “WorkScape” provides an exciting insight into the world’s most attractive offices and documents the change in our working environment and new definition of workspace. The beautiful and elaborately put together coffee table book is perfect for anyone interested in these issues, whether on a professional level or simply out of curiosity.

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AOL Headquarters, designed by Studio O+A

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Transformadora Ciel, designed by Rojkind Arquitectos + AGENT

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Hayden Place, designed by Cuningham Group Architecture