The perfect creative workplace?

Can the design of your workplace aid creativity? A new book, The Creative Workplace, suggests yes, and offers a wide selection of examples guaranteed to give you office envy.

The Creative Workplace, from Roads Publishing, serves as part inspiration, part design porn for those who are keen to create a unique office environment, and along the way hopefully encourage the production of great creative work.

As Rob Alderson writes in the introduction to the book, “creativity is difficult to define and almost impossible to describe”, but this hasn’t prevented countless companies trying to break it down to a formula that can be rolled out in the design of a workplace. Break out spaces, gourmet cafés for staff, table football: these have become the clichés of advertising and design companies around the world. They may not guarantee excellent work but they will please staff and impress visitors, which is almost as important.

“For creative agencies and design studios, workplaces are part of their brand identities, helping to attract and retain both creative talent and commercial clients,” writes Alderson. “But there is a definite sense that there exists a direct cause and effect between the spaces people work in and their productivity, creativity and outlook.

“People will always shape their spaces to give them an advantage, building an atmosphere that helps them think and work in the best possible way,” he continues. “Scientific studies support this idea that getting into the right frame of mind is crucial, and this is as true for the 200-person advertising agency as it is for the lone illustrator.”

Featured in the book are over 50 examples of creative offices from around the world, most of which will make you look at your current surroundings with new, somewhat bitter eyes. Many are placed in beautiful settings, which certainly give them a certain advantage, but all have stunning interior design too, as the selection we have picked below demonstrate. Read on, and then call that interior decorator.

Mamiya Shinichi 3
Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio in Nagoya, Japan
Above, and top: Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio in Nagoya, Japan. Photographs: © Toshiyuki Yano

An architectural firm in Japan, Mamiya Shinichi Design Studio was built in 2013 and takes up 250 square metres over several levels. “We got the idea from a safari park. There are no fences in the safari park. We considered that if we could work in a free atmosphere, we would be able to develop our personalities and it would be better for creating good ideas.”

marketing and data consultancy firm Ekimetrics in Paris
Above: marketing and data consultancy firm Ekimetrics in Paris. Photographs: © Arnaud Schelstraete

Ekimetrics’ office is located in 19th century palace in Paris, which features frescoed ceilings and golden mouldings. “The concept was to play with these constraints and break the codes of standardised office spaces by creating places that reflect the innovative team spirit.”

Five AM 4
Belgian design studio FIVE AM's mobile office space
Above: Belgian design studio FIVE AM’s mobile office space. Photographs: © STØR

FIVE AM design studio has a main office in the centre of Kortrijk in Belgium, but this caravan serves as a mobile space. “#dojowheels is a mobile training facility, or dojo, as a working tool, which is a perfect reflection of our vision.”

Casa Rex in São Paulo
Above: Casa Rex in São Paulo. Photographs: © Rafaela Netto

Casa Rex design house has offices in São Paulo and London. The Brazilian space features exposed brick and raw materials. “The clearest reactions occur in the reception area, a room that almost looks like a demolition site. That always makes a positive first impression.”

Random Studios 1
Random Studio in Amsterdam
Above: Random Studio in Amsterdam. Photographs: © Kasia Gatowska

Production and interactive design studio Random Studio in Amsterdam features a lot of greenery inside the space. “The plants allow for nature to be present – it feels somehow right and less like work this way.”

Ricardo Bofill de Arquitecture 3
Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura in Barcelona
Above: Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura in Barcelona. Photographs: © Lluis Carbonell

The offices of design and architecture firm Ricardo Bofill Taller de Arquitectura are based in a former cement factory on the outskirts of Barcelona. “Seduced by the contradictions and the ambiguity of the place, I decided to retain the factory and, modifying its original brutality, sculpt it like a work of art.”

MER Architects Code Concept Linus Berglund
MER architecture and consultancy firm in Stockholm
Above: MER architecture and consultancy firm in Stockholm. Photographs: © Mårten Ryner

MER architecture and consultancy firm in Stockholm encourages its staff to engage in flexible working. “Visitors tend to be surprised by how an office layout can be used as a strategic tool from a business perspective… Today, our office is one of our best marketing tools.”

Selgascano 4
selgascano's offices in Madrid
Above: selgascano’s offices in Madrid. Photographs: © Iwan Baan

selgascano is an architectural partnership between José Selgas and Lucía Cano. Their offices are situated amongst trees in downtown Madrid. “What we sought to do with this studio was quite simple: to work under the trees.”

The Creative Workspace is published by Roads Publishing, priced £25.

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