Our Top 5 Installs That Aren’t Restaurants

Take a look at these five office installations that anyone would jump at the chance to work in.

By GR Chair

Gray upholstered Harper chairs in cafe.

One of our New Year’s resolutions? Try new things. Which means stepping outside of our comfort zone and stepping into new spaces, like offices. Companies like Facebook, Google, and more recently WeWork, have redefined the world of office interior design, taking us far away from grey cubicle walls to bold rooms inspired by pop art and local icons.

This shift toward a more inspired office interior design direction isn’t merely for aesthetic pleasure. Talent attraction, talent retention, and increased productivity are the main drivers for the change. With unemployment rates near an all-time low and a large population of the workforce set to retire in the next few years, companies are voraciously trying to appease a younger, tech-oriented generation of workers while simultaneously improving productivity.

According to a trend report from HOK, “Buildings [design] can improve overall productivity and performance by as much as 12.5 percent or reduce them by as much as 17 percent. That’s a 30 percent swing between employee performance in the best and worst buildings.”

Take a look at these five office installations that anyone would jump at the chance to work in.

Hurdle chairs with wood base in cafe space.

1. High Moon Studios

High Moon Studios is the gaming studio behind “Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.” The company recently relocated to a 30,000-square-foot headquarters to accommodate their rapidly growing team. Their new office space needed to reflect their passion, creativity, and embrace the company’s non-traditional, gaming culture. The open, studio-like space houses 175 employees including an expansive hospitality area are flooded with breakout spaces, sliding wood doors, and a very strategic use of color and bold graphics. Collaboration, creativity, and a desire to create a sense of family were key factors in the office’s interior achieved by LPA Inc.. Large communal tables surrounded by our Brady Backless Stools in the company’s signature blue accent color create a memorable, welcoming place for visitors and quick meetings.

2. EP + Co

Based in Greenville, South Carolina, advertising agency EP + Co. wanted an office space that reflected their innovative nature but also their South Carolina roots. Gensler expertly blended natural materials like concrete floors and raw wood beams with rich textiles and curated technology spaces. Shown above is the large “social hub” featuring our Siren Barstools with a farmhouse table that the employees at EP + Co. actually built by hand as well as two small breakout rooms featuring our Reece Chairs in all black. Within the almost 40,000 square foot office there are both multi-use spaces as well as dedicated rooms for social media monitoring, packaging, product sampling, and in-house print shop. The whole space feels homey while still being refined and impressive.

Cafe space at LinkedIn corporate office.

3. LinkedIn

LinkedIn executives had a goal to consolidate the company’s headquarters into a comprehensive walkable Sunnyvale campus that would encourage collaboration and finally get the R&D teams together under one roof. This vision led the massive social media company to acquire the three buildings on Maude Street. The 500 seat cafeteria with seven distinct food stations is just one of the attractions you’ll fall in love with at the 950 and 1000 Maude buildings, outfitted with Reece chairs and barstools.It should come as no surprise that our products feel very much at home in the hospitality or cafeteria spaces within large scale office interiors like LinkedIn.

4. LinkedIn Middlefield Campus

Google originally started the renovations of the Middlefield campus, which was designed with SERA Architects, a Portland-based design firm. Halfway through renovation, Google and LinkedIn agreed to swap properties to allow both companies to grow more successfully toward their goals. Soon after the swap, LinkedIn took over the project and worked alongside SERA Architects to make small changes to the design that would help the space feel more “on brand” without causing major delays on the already two year long project.

“The idea there is to create a great design experience, a place where people would want to be, a place where people would be able to connect with each other,” said Stuart Colby, principal and director of workplace at SERA. Mission accomplished, the space is centered around a manmade meadow that was once a parking lot. In the cafeteria large windows capture the flood of natural light that pours into the space, giving employees an oasis in the city.

Harper upholstered seating.
Black Harper chairs in cafe setting.
Black Leo Chairs in corporate office.

5. Tyson Foods - Emma Street

HOK designer, Mackenzie McCulloch, transformed the Emma Street location for Tyson Foods. Because one size doesn’t fit all, as we’ve learned from years of pitching “open plan” offices, it’s necessary to provide balance in design. It’s imperative to offer up open plan options but also create activity specific spaces like breakout rooms, private phone booths, and more collaborative, social spaces. McCulloch maximized the utility of the space by creating small “in between” spaces or activity settings for quick, impromptu meetings by pairing our Leo Chair with a small cafe table throughout the main hallways.

As companies try to curry favor with the millennial generation by transforming their office spaces into energizing, collaborative social hubs that feel more like home than the dreary, cubicle-laden rooms of the past, we’re seeing more “restaurant-like” cafeterias (with restaurant-like trends) and more residential feeling breakout areas.

Keep in mind, while comfort is key for these spaces, these are still high traffic environments where durability and performance reign supreme (cue Iron Chef theme song). If you’re looking for modern chairs and tables that look just at home in a restaurant as they do an office, than download our newest LookBook for inspiration.