From vintage bank vaults to military bunkers, old cinemas and converted warehouses, some of the world’s coolest offices crop up in the most unlikely places.
Creativity and technology combine to develop smart spaces that optimise existing building features, as well as inspiring ideas and nurturing a happy workforce.
Here are Commercial Real Estate’s top 10, in no particular order. Don’t forget to show the boss.
1. Bastard Store, Milan
The name of the company, Bastard Store, proves that cool can be a curse. The company makes snowboards, skateboard accessories and clothing, so it stands to reason there would be a skate bowl, known as “the Bastard bowl”, suspended above its headquarters in a converted cinema in Milan, Italy.
Photo: Bastard Store/Facebook
2. dPOP!, Detroit
American company dPOP! designs workplaces for creativity and collaboration and believes a happy, productive workspace is essential for attracting and retaining geniuses.
Their own space in downtown Detroit – a repurposed 1920s bank vault “furnished like a palace” – more than fits the brief.
3. Atlassian, San Francisco
Enterprise software group Atlassian, founded in Sydney in 2002, has fun and creative workspaces to match the tech wunderkind reputation of its leadership team, as well as generous perks for staff including a family holiday after five years of service.
So it’s no surprise the company is regularly named on lists of the best places to work.
The company has offices in Sydney, London, Amsterdam, Austin, Manila, Yokohama and San Francisco, a vast converted warehouse in East SoMa (pictures below) that has reportedly been used previously as a disco and a church.
4. Bahnhof, Stockholm
Bahnhof is a Swedish internet service provider, so security is a big part of its business.
And there aren’t many places more secure than a converted military bunker, especially when one of your most well-known clients is Wikileaks.
Not only are the data centres well protected in Pionen, the former civil defence facility buried in a mountain near Stockholm under 30m of granite, they’ve managed to optimise the space – and look after employees’ circadian rhythms – with plenty of glass and simulated daylight.
5. Thinkgarden, Milan
Co-working space Thinkgarden bills itself as a creative business lounge and promotes a relaxing environment for its staff by combining foliage and function.
Stark white furniture is offset by the plentiful indoor gardens, with every available space taken by plants and trees.
The company aims to let employees isolate themselves from the hustle of the city without giving up their link with the world.
No cool office list is complete without Facebook, which has long been a pioneer of office design innovation.
The company encourages its teams to make workspaces their own. We reckon this space in the London office is a great Kombi-nation for work and comfort.
Even the plumbing looks good at Facebook’s engineering office in Boston …
Photo: Patrick Rogers Photography
7. ASB Bank, Auckland
ASB Bank has a reputation for nurturing innovation and embracing technology.
The company follows activity-based working principles at its North Wharf head office in New Zealand, working in business unit “neighbourhoods” or open spaces known as “boathouses”.
These concepts provide a choice of work settings and inspire a sense of identity, community and transparency in line with the work aspirations of ASB, says architect BVN.
The fit-out is designed so conversations cannot be overheard by passers-by, even from open-plan zones.
Photo: John Gollings
8. Trivago, Dusseldorf
If work sometimes has you climbing the walls, Trivago has the solution – a climbing wall at its headquarters in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The hotel booking site, one of the world’s biggest, does not stick to office routines and prides itself on cutting-edge technology and a social office atmosphere. The gaming consoles, foosball tables and fully stocked beer fridges no doubt help with that.
9. Fishburners, Sydney
Co-working spaces are on the rise in Australia. Populated with socially savvy tech types with creativity to burn, they boast some of the most innovative premises. Fishburners, a Sydney-based community of tech startups, is no exception.
While there are foosball and ping-pong tables, funky motivational murals, designer chairs and well-stocked drinks fridges, the main focus is on nurturing a close-knit community to share skills and ideas.
10. WeWork, New York
New York-based office space provider WeWork is reportedly setting up its first Australian office in Pyrmont, Sydney.
Its offices are as diverse as its locations – the company has more than 50 offices worldwide – from beanbags and a hunting lodge theme to a game parlour on a Soho mezzanine.