For its first satellite office in the United States, The Leading Edge, a boutique strategy and research firm, wanted to turn a Manhattan office space's top floor into something original. It settled on a whole lot of open space.

At least of half of the floor is used for an open workspace: Four long translucent tables seat four people. Employee perch on office chairs with vibrant crimson cushions.

In other parts of The Leading Edge's office, custom-designed light fixtures that resemble thin tree branches dangle from the ceiling. There's also a narrow room for making private phone calls that features a green hounds-tooth-like pattern.

A few walls are painted black. Employees sometimes use chalk to jot quick notes down, or to leave a funny joke ("I can't think!") for their coworkers on those black walls. The key: Making sure the jokes are work-appropriate, we'd presume.