Not all work spaces were created equal. While some do the nine-to-five in a clinical cube farm, others spend it zipping up and down slides, skateboarding between meetings and fitting in a climbing wall session over lunch. Life just plain isn’t fair. Here are some of the most kick-ass and well-designed office spaces in the world. Warning: This list may make you want to dust off your CV and get a new job in Taipei.
Acne Studios, Stockholm
Swedish design powerhouse Acne Studios has a thing for banks. The label’s Stockholm flagship is located in the former bank where hostages were taken in 1973 and the phrase ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ was coined. Meanwhile, its headquarters since 2007 has been this converted bank that dates back to the 16th century in the Swedish capital’s Old Town. Ka ching.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? So when designing its Californian command centre, skate brand Volcom decided to make a 3,500 sq ft indoor skate park the centerpiece. Par for the course, expect to see staffers kickflipping between meeting rooms, which are rendered in materials like raw wood, fibreglass, metal and fabric – all sourced straight from the streets.
Ever wondered where your crisp, white Stan Smiths came from? The answer is this equally crisp, white space occupied by Adidas. The German sports firm’s Bavarian base (yes, the home of beer festivals and lederhosen) is clinical in the best possible way. Measuring a massive 670,000 sq ft, it could house 12 football pitches, or as is the case: one football pitch, a fitness centre, climbing wall, basketball court and volleyball court.
Bikini House sounds like something Hugh Hefner might build, but it’s actually the beating heart of Converse’s European operations. A little over a year old, the minimal black-and-white office has been modelled on skate halls, with exposed vents, raw-look wood work surfaces and polished concrete floors. The look spreads all the way up to the penthouse showroom, which boasts its own roof terrace.
Abercrombie & Fitch, Ohio
You’d be forgiven for picturing the headquarters of Abercrombie & Fitch as having the same dark nightclub environment its stores were once famed for. In fact, the sprawling summer camp-style ranch in Ohio is an oasis nestled deep in the forest. To grab the best and brightest talent, like design chief Aaron Levine, the retailer spent around $130m (£106m) building the campus, complete with light-filled wooden barns, fire pits and grassy meadows.
H&M Logistics Centre, Taipei
Finance and logistics aren’t the sexiest departments to work in, so Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M decided to make up the shortfall with an uber-cool office on the outskirts of Taipei. Set among the mountains, the Scandi-style space uses wooden partitions with arch-shaped cutouts to separate different workspaces, which are then brought together with a communal courtyard and outdoor plaza offering stunning views.
Famed for its directional buy of independent and luxury brands, Canadian multi-brand retailer Ssense needed a space that reflected its cool factor. Situated on the top floor of a former textile factory, the office – situated in Montréal’s garment district – is a minimalist’s wet dream. The crude industrial shell uses refined materials to contrast against the exposed concrete, metal pipes and columns.
G-Star Raw, Amsterdam
Resembling what used to be an aircraft hanger, this 140-metre-long glass box is home to Dutch denim dons G-Star. The mind-blowing Amsterdam headquarters sits behind a 20-metre-high sliding glass door, which retracts to reveal an industrial space big enough to host production, parties, and fashion shows.