Microsoft Just Got A Whole Lot Trendier!
Last year we wrote a piece that finally welcomed Microsoft into the “cool offices” club and whilst they very much deserved their place it has now been cemented in this Studio EM club with their latest installment based in Redmond, Washington. Their new campus was designed by O+A and is very different to the one we featured in Vienna and perhaps even cooler.
The office of the future, as envisioned by O+A and Microsoft, is an amalgam of classic industrial textures, vanguard technology, and a mix of heads-down and heads-up environments. Staff divisions are invisible—everyone sits together, creative juices flowing freely. Spaces are built to address a variety of workspace needs – small focus pods address the need for concentrative space, studios create open spaces for collaboration and meeting rooms come in both formal and informal typologies.
Evoking its lushly wooded setting and a playful nod to Seattle’s grunge-era denim and plaid, Building 4 embraces a sense of community and connection with Microsoft’s long history in the Pacific Northwest. Literal garage doors open up all-hands areas and reference the beginning of many start-ups. To transform Building 4 into a campus-wide hub, we created a bike workshop/coffeehouse complete with espresso machines and bicycles to rent out for a ride on the trails surrounding the campus.
For us we love this concept of a “heads-up environment” where staff divisions are invisible as this is something we try to practice, everyone is an equal and has an equal say in the creativity behind our projects and as such the working atmosphere needs to be an open forum in order to get “creative juices flowing freely”. The grunge era design feature comes across brilliantly in this project and it very much suits this heads up environment but for me it’s the openness of this space and the continuous flow along with the funky urban backdrop that enables this latest offering from Microsoft to join the illustrious elite at the Cool Offices Club. Check out the images below credited to Jasper Sanidad to see if you agree.