Maybe bold, bright, fashion-forward offices aren’t the right fit for every company, but it wouldn’t be the worst thing if more of them looked like this. For a redesign of the LOQI European headquarters in Berlin, architecture and design firm Studio Aisslinger leaned into the fun and dramatic, infusing the neutral, mostly gray and white space with saturated hues and unexpected shapes. Best of all, the design is adaptable and highly functional.
Masterminded by Tina Bunyaprasit and Werner Aisslinger, the design speaks to LOQI’s identity as a manufacturer of totes, weekend bags, pouches, and reusable masks created in collaboration with modern and contemporary artists (along with the requisite Klimt, Van Gogh, and Hokusai). The American-born international company needed new work and activity areas that gave its team the flexibility and autonomy to choose when and how they worked, all within a sustainable and stylish space.
The result is every bit as “lively and inspiring” as the designers intended, “breaking through the gray schematism of standardized workstation units.” Occupying a roughly 10,000-square-foot facility with high vaulted ceilings and an industrial character, the office has specific zones dedicated to different purposes like holding small private discussions, taking calls, chatting with colleagues, and accommodating large meetings. None of these uses are set in stone, of course, and the lines between them are always permeable.
Yes, the facility consists of one big open room of the sort that a lot of workers hate, but it’s no cubicle farm. The circular meeting zones, with their heavy velvet curtains on rails, break up the space and help absorb distracting sounds. Couches are tucked away against walls, set behind adorable gabled privacy pods with bubble windows. Nobody’s going to get away with curling up in one of these to surreptitiously take a nap, but they look like a nice way to get some peace and quiet when you need to concentrate or recharge.
“The cycle of a sustainable production and lifestyle is seen less as an urgent necessity than as an opportunity; recycling and upcycling not only as a daily office routine, but as a design impulse,” Studio Aisslinger states. “Striking fabric curtains, transparent folding screens, materials, and colors moderate the transition between the different working areas.”
“Sitting at one’s desk or standing at a high table, debating the most recent project at a round table or thinking through an inspiring design, secluded in the work capsule that shields all noise from outside – flexible and open, the room adapts to the respective needs, creating space for playful creativity, for that dance of mind and body that is needed to gain new ideas.”
The pods, step-shaped lounge areas, and abundance of primary colors almost give this office the feel of a playground for adults, but that doesn’t mean it’s childish. On the contrary, the effect is lighthearted, dynamic, and uniquely suited to LOQI’s artistic spirit. Plus, in keeping with our new pandemic-induced consciousness about personal space, there’s a full six feet in between each zone, giving every employee ample room to breathe. Wide corridors, movable partitions, and touchless controls all contribute to a workspace that’s safer than average (and hopefully adequately ventilated, as well).