Wilson, the Chicago-based manufacturer of sports equipment, wanted a way to design a space that would channel the energy of professional sports players into the creative energy of its employees. Specifically, the architects wanted to align the "energy and teamwork common to all sports, and promote creativity and innovation in all department." Creative displays of Wilson products—including a tennis ball chandelier and a pyramid of footballs—are displayed artfully throughout the office, and are even used by employees in the midst of prototyping new products. (Continued)
A byproduct of manufacturing hundreds of thousands of footballs and tennis balls is, as one might expect, a whole lot of scrap material. Rather than throwing out the excess material, the designers repurposed leather, felt, and other materials in order to create textural accent walls. The result? "Whimsical, sculptural presentations of the sporting goods feature the product in memorable ways," wrote jurors of the 2008 Society for Environmental Graphic Design competition.
Built in 2005, the Tel-Aviv offices of Boeing, an American jet manufacturer, were designed with one thing in mind: Making employees and visitors feel as though they were flying. "Situated in the lofty heights of a Tel Aviv office tower, the Boeing office embodies the spirit of the company," Auerbach Halevy Architects & Engineers, project's architects, write. "The sophisticated mix of transparency and natural light, straight lines and horizontal divisions, bright colors and minimal joints—allows the skyline to dominate interior views, creating an ambiance of cockpit and business class." (Continued)
In order to look forward into your company's future, it's sometimes helpful to first look backward. By showcasing a visual history of your company's products, employees and visitors can get a sense of the direction of your brand's vision—and may even stoke new, and innovative ideas. Boeing, for example, has dedicated cubby-holes (which are smartly designed as airplane windows) to show off the airplanes, helicopters, and jets that has made the company a giant among its industry.
Do the floors of your office have their own distinct personalities? At Getty Images in London, interior design firm Bluebottle decided to give each floor a color pattern—riffing off the idea of a color spectrum. "By incorporating the fire doors into the colored panels to each central core, each floor is given an identity, linked together through the spectrum of a singular color per floor, graded tonally from light to dark," the firm writes. (Continued)
Known for its vast photo library, Getty wanted to showcase the work of its best photographers in its office. But rather than take the traditional "gallery" route, the firm collaborated on a 16-meter-high collage of photographs, which they call a "fully curated piece of illuminated art." The designers describe it as "a mix of creative, editorial and archive images in color and black and white, juxtaposed and seemingly random, a floating exhibition of historical, abstract, [and] beautiful imagery."
One of the core tenets of adidas, the sports equipment retailer based in Germany, is the idea of "team." So with that notion in mind, KINZO architects designed a unique modular furniture system and interior offices that are literally built to help collaboration. "All parts are functional and aesthetically designed to work together: furniture that works as a team," KINZO designer Chris Middleton says. "Knowing that adidas's designers, product developers, distribution and marketing strategists work together in teams, we have created a system which can accommodate all the necessary products and working materials, from filing systems to sweatpants or soccer balls." (Continued)
It's easy to be cynical that the only way to have a truly "cool office" is to have the backing of a giant corporate expense account. And while that's certainly at least partially true (the best architecture firms come at a high premium) there are little things your company can do to make your space reflect your brand. For instance, adidas office designers used goal-like mesh netting to separate spaces, a clever allusion to the company's soccer brand. It also installed perforated walls, which give the space a sporty, utilitarian vibe. So the real key to a cool office? Creativity—not cash.