Office Design

4 Unexpected Office Designs That Inspire Their Employees

David Spence
September 1st, 2016
colorful modern office

Current office design trends are ruled by flat colors, sleek layouts and the maximization of open spaces. This creates a clean and professional aesthetic that works for many companies. Some organizations, however, have decided to step out of these patterns and implement unique design concepts that suit their workplace culture and values. These designs won’t work for every company, but facility managers can draw inspiration from these ideas when planning their next office design change.


Biophilic design

office design meeting room plants

Connecting with nature can be a powerful tool to drive workplace focus and creativity—and many offices go beyond the usual desk plants. For example, Selgas Cano Architecture and Google have offices that keep workers constantly in tune with elements of the natural world.

These companies have incorporated parts of biophilic design by creating visual and physical connections with the outdoors.

There are simple ways to integrate nature into your workplace, such as skylights, green spaces and more plant life spread throughout the office.

Playful elements

Dropbox's music room

Traditional office culture considered work and play as opposites of each other, but companies have quickly changed, adopting recreational equipment like foosball and ping pong tables. While a foosball table isn’t always the answer, playfulness has a strong positive impact on the personal development of adults and children alike.

Playing helps people develop cognitive skills, blow off steam and strengthen relationships. Adobe’s climbing wall and Dropbox’s music room are a few examples of how companies have introduced a sense of play into their corporate environments.

Although many businesses have started to acquire more recreational equipment for their offices, it’s important to encourage a culture of play to make sure employees feel comfortable taking a break every so often to relax and interact with their coworkers.


Collaborative creativity

whiteboard with colorful markers

Decorating an office space is a great opportunity for your team to flex their creativity. For instance, Facebook has incorporated art into their offices, allowing employees to get involved with the use of whiteboards and creative spaces spread throughout the workplace.

Besides whiteboards, sticky-note wall art can be a fun and simple way to allow your team to let off steam and decorate their work environment.

A level of office customization can provide a personal touch and help employees contribute to their work culture in a visual way.

Colorful inspiration

mccann erickson office

The use of color plays an important part in how an office functions. Many companies have used vivid and highly contrasted colors throughout their spaces.

Google’s offices are notable for this approach, which is even reflected in their logo color scheme. McCann and Erickson’s office, designed by Tom Dixon, also implements an eye-catching palette.

That said, the overuse of bright colors can be distracting and unpleasant to the eyes—facility managers looking to implement colorful design in their offices should take extra time to consider different variables such as lighting conditions, employee opinions and tasteful schemes (calming greens and blues rather than distracting reds, and accents of bright colors rather than entire walls painted in one strong shade).

The definition of what an office space should look like has expanded, leaving a lot of room for creative and unique ideas to flourish. Achieving a personal aesthetic requires careful considerations and a nuanced understanding of the workplace, but companies who forego more traditional designs can create a space that fits their values and culture.



Photos: Roman Dementyev /, hxdbzxy /, Bruce Damonte / Geremia Design,, Tom Dixon