There is only one place to begin a round-up of the coolest offices in the world: Google’s corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California. People find Google’s HQ so comfortable, that a number of employees decided to make the ‘Googleplex’ campus their permanent address for more than a year. With perks like free meals, nap chairs, haircuts and a laundrette, it’s easy to see why they thought they’d save on rent and other personal costs for a while.
Back across the pond is Google’s European HQ situated in Dublin’s historic docklands area. The campus, built to resemble a bustling city environment, has over 47,000m² of unique office space. Of the four buildings on campus, the tallest is the newly constructed 14-storey ‘Google Docks,’ which is also the tallest commercial building in Dublin. Each floor has a theme representing one of Google’s business values, such as ‘search,’ ‘@home’ and ‘be green.’Robbie Shade, Flickr La Priz, Flickr
In addition to state-of-the-art office space designed to encourage creativity and innovation, the European campus houses five restaurants, 42 micro kitchens, communication hubs, phone booths, game rooms, a fitness centre, a 25m indoor swimming pool, wellness areas, tech stops and over 400 informal and formal meeting rooms.
Bringing things back In London, energy drinks company Red Bull boasts swanky office space in the heart of Soho, a neighbourhood known for being cool and quirky. Centre stage is a giant slide, which certainly makes it quicker to get away at the end of the day! With a ping-pong meeting room, floating staircases and a roof-level glass-box extension showcasing spectacular views of London’s West End, who wouldn’t want to work there?
Red Bull wanted its three-storey office to symbolise its longstanding affiliation with adrenalin sport. Employees arrive by lift to a top floor public reception and social zone, before descending through the building. With plenty of death-defying open spaces carved out of the interior and thrilling vertiginous views, the morning ritual of getting to one’s desk is enough to get the adrenalin going. The building design also includes a three-storey video wall, and the floors are fused together with a continuous carbon-fibre element, which sweeps and glides throughout the building, creating a sense of free movement.
In this cool office round-up, we can’t overlook Citrix’s state-of-the-art office in Raleigh, North Carolina. Recently transformed from an abandoned warehouse, the 170,000-square-foot environmentally sustainable workplace is designed to stimulate creativity, collaboration and productivity.
The unique spaces in the workplace range from open booths in high-traffic areas that invite passersby to spontaneously collaborate; to conference areas made out of retrofitted transatlantic shipping containers; to meeting spaces in a rooftop garden that remove the employee from the day-to-day frenzy of the office environment and inspire creativity.
Other office highlights include a racquetball court, basketball court, fitness centre, yoga studio, bocce ball courts and a bicycle exchange program. The adaptive reuse building also includes a 55-foot-long living wall covered in vegetation, and a two-storey ceiling with shades that adjust to natural light.The Living Wall, Citrix Office in Rayleigh, USA
If you’re a creative type or inventor, you might not feel cut out for the office environment, so how about working in a theme park instead? The Inventionland design factory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is set up to be the world’s most creative workspace. Its 70,000-square-foot space is divided into 16 different ‘sets,’ each with a unique theme of its own, including a pirate ship, race track, Disney-style castle, and a tree house with a waterfall. You really have to see it to believe it.
Bahnhof Data Centre, Stockholm. Photo credit: Flickr, Amber Case
Bahnhof Data Centre
In another life, I would have loved to be a spy. That’s why this underground hideout in Stockholm, now home to Sweden’s largest ISP, is a personal favourite of mine. This newly opened high-security data centre, which was formally a nuclear bunker, has greenhouses, waterfalls, German submarine engines, simulated daylight and can withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb. It also has a space-themed, suspended conference room and a sub-tropical light fog to create an extra air of secrecy.
If being at one with nature appeals to you, then Spanish architectural firm Selgas Cano has what might possibly be the world’s most tranquil office. Situated in the middle of a forest, the half-sunken office gives employees a real bug’s eye view. The office takes the form of an aerodynamic tube, with a long window on one wall that extends into part of the ceiling. Acting as both a window and a skylight, the glass wall floods the office with natural light, eliminating the need for artificial lighting during the day.
And finally, let’s look at something completely different. Cool offices don’t need to leave a large carbon footprint. Amsterdam-based advertising agency Brandbase used 270 wooden shipping pallets to create an ingenious temporary office space. This low-cost solution is economical and sustainable, and showcases the agency’s creativity. Even the coffee coasters are made from pallets.