More Than A Cubicle: 5 Offices You Wish You Worked In

Business.com / Business Solutions / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

From creative playgrounds to environmental marvels - unique spaces from around the world that will fill you with office envy.

You will spend a whopping 92,120 hours working in the course of your life. 

That equates to over one-fifth of all the hours you will spend awake. Yep, that’s a lot.

Considering it’s so much, the majority of offices are very basic. Plain white walls, a few Ikea desks (usually one more than really fits in the room) and that’s it. But it could be so much more.

And, at some companies, it is. There are lots of “cool” or “stunning” offices out there and a lot of startups seem to compete to offer the weirdest perks you’ll never actually use. Those aren’t the kind of offices I’m talking about.

I’m talking about more than just a few funky colors and fancy chairs. I’m talking about truly unique offices. See what I mean below.

Related Article: Feng Shui & Fuzzy Feelings: Creating Company Culture Through Office Design

White Mountain - Stockholm, Sweden

White Mountain data center in Stockholm Sweden
Offices inside White Mountain data center in Stockholm, Sweden

Live out your super spy daydreams in what looks like a Bond villain’s lair. Do it discreetly, though, because this is actually a data center housed in a former nuclear bunker in Stockholm.

This striking yet somewhat forbidding design was dreamed up by Swedish architects at Albert France-Lanord. According to their website, “the starting point of the project was to consider the rock as a living organism. Desks are interspersed with lush greenery, serving to soften the effect of the solid rock.

According to their website, “the starting point of the project was to consider the rock as a living organism. Desks are interspersed with lush greenery, serving to soften the effect of the solid rock.

 

LEGO - Billund, Denmark

Inside the Lego office in Billund, Denmark
Inside the Lego office in Billund, Denmark

Appropriate to their product, LEGO’s office maintains a playful environment, with slides and unimaginably vast amounts of LEGO. Designed by Rosan Bosch and Rune Fjord, this is an ideal space for dreaming up new LEGO products. Every product that gets released by LEGO started its life here, where the prototype was hand sculpted by a designer.

Designed by Rosan Bosch and Rune Fjord, this is an ideal space for dreaming up new LEGO products. Every product that gets released by LEGO started its life here, where the prototype was hand sculpted by a designer.

According to Rosan Bosch, the office places an “emphasis on fun, playfulness and creativity, where the physical design lets grown-ups enter a child’s fantasy world.”

He also discussed the way the office plays with scale in a way that encourages creativity, saying “A striking graphic design on the wall with giant blades of grass and an oversize LEGO man strike a contrast to the bonsai gardens with tiny LEGO people that are built into the tables. One’s sense of scale is challenged – who is big, and who is small?”

“In this physical design, children’s fantasy world becomes a part of everyday perception and defines a setting for creating new designs for games and play. The new LEGO PMD is a children’s universe where the imagination can be unleashed – for children and designers alike.”

Inventionland - Pittsburgh, USA

Inside the Inventionland office in Pittsburgh, USA
Inside the Inventionland office in Pittsburgh, USA

Another office that might take you back to your childhood, Inventionland features an indoor treehouse and lagoon. This is a deliberate attempt to fire a childlike creativity - Inventionland invents more than 2,000 items a year and licenses them out to major companies such as Toys ‘R’ Us and Walmart. Their lab-coat-wearing employees are known as “creationeers”. 

Creationeers work in themed environments which reflect their work. For example, electronic products are developed inside a giant robot. Inventionland was also the subject of its own reality TV show on the History Channel in 2011.

Selgas Cano - Madrid, Spain

The Selgas Cano office in its leafy surroundings in Madrid, Spain
Inside the Selgas Cano office in Madrid, Spain

If you go down to the woods today... you might find some architects hard at work. As you might expect, this Spanish architectural firm designed their own office. The design aims to connect staff to the natural world and provides them with plenty of natural light - a huge window-cum-skylight runs the entire length of the building, reducing the need for artificial light. 

Reached by a short flight of stairs, the building is half underground, which makes it very well insulated. This keeps the interior both cooler in summer and warmer in winter, adding the office’s green credentials. 

Powerhouse Kjørbo - Oslo, Norway

Powerhouse Kjørbo outside Oslo, Norway

Solar panels on the building can generate over 200,000 kWh each year (double what the building requires, with the excess being supplied to the power grid) and geothermal energy is used for heating. Powerhouse Kjørbo also makes use of careful insulation and shading to reduce the need for heating or air-conditioning.

Related Article: Health, Happiness and Office Design

The building is the result of a collaboration between architects Snøhetta, construction company Skanska, environmental organization ZERO, aluminum supplier Hydro and property management firm Entra Eiendom.

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