The Chicago-based software company 37Signals, whose co-founder Jason Fried is an Inc. columnist, sought an office environment that would encourage collaboration among employees. Working with architects Brininstool, Kerwin, and Lynch, the company devised a plan for a long row of "team rooms" with clear glass walls and magnetic chalkboard panels. For bigger meetings, employees use an auditorium that seats, fittingly, 37 people.
To achieve that light, airy quality for their offices, architects from the Lehrer Architects Office selected a sprawling, 50-year-old, 7,400-square-foot building in Los Angeles to transform into a haven of tranquility. The company spent only $20 per square foot too, proving once again that less is indeed more.
Shaped like a giant disc, the Yandex offices in southwestern Russia used materials like wood and cork to achieve a natural feel despite its location on the 15th floor of a brand new office building. Za Bor Architects, the principal firm for the office’s design, showed how form can truly meet function: Wood panels on the office walls serve as soundproofing.
As its name implies, WorkPods Zurich offers a series of identical pods for individual workers or freelancers. But the space is not as static as it would seem to be. Designers Meury Architektur built OpenSystems so that the floor-to-ceiling glass doors can slide down, and each personal cubicle can be removed to create an open-plan space.
Nije Gritenije is a Dutch foundation that supports local and regional entrepreneurship, so it makes sense that their offices are a paradigm of creativity. Amsterdam-based FLATarchitects designed 20 workstations and a conference room that can be adapted and customized to a user’s specific needs, like desks that change shape with just a few pulls and cranks.
Why wait for the elevator when you can take the slide? Corus Entertainment’s headquarters in Toronto is a study in smart design (with a LEED Gold-targeted building), and a model for a quirky aesthetic to bring out the creativity in its employees. "It's all about fun," says John Cassaday, Corus's founding CEO.