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Total Office Design

Fifty offices you wish you worked at in one comprehensive book

by Graham Hiemstra in Design on 13 September 2011

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Focused on the intelligent collaborations between architects and interior designers, Total Office Design explores contemporary workplaces that are as visually striking as they are functional. The book categorizes the offices by budget—small, medium and large—with comprehensive floor plans, insightful texts and nearly 425 vibrant photographs accompanying the 50 total spaces.

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The smaller offices show that size doesn't matter. One clear standout is the creative solution Dutch architects Alrik Koudenburg and Joost van Bleiswijk devised for the temporary 100-square-meter workspace of Amsterdam-based agency Nothing. Limited to a €30,000 budget, the office is built primarily from industrial strength cardboard. The inexpensive, recyclable material was laser cut and assembled simply by slotting the pieces together, without the need of any chemicals or glue and further pushing the boundaries of sustainable office design.

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We are still impressed with the skate ramp at Comvert's cinema-turned-office in Milan, but another mid-size favorite we found in the pages of Total Office Design is the striking South Korean subsidiary of Berlin-based company Platoon. As a organization that aids in cultural development, Platoon's Seoul office reflects their enthusiasm for sustainable construction. Architects Graft + Baik Jiwon designed the space from modular shipping containers, but avoided the typically tinny and claustrophobic effect of the metal units by replacing the walls with floor-to-ceiling glass. By using the containers as an exoskeleton, they were able to make a bold statement about repurposed design while keeping the project under the $2 million budget.

Also worth noting is our personal favorite is the headquarters of Milan board sport company Comvert. This cavernous old cinema was transformed into a joint retail space and lofted wooden bowl for skateboarding.

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With an exterior reminiscent of dazzle camouflage used during WWI to confuse enemies, the impressive facade of Copenhagen's Saxo Bank HQ makes it our top pick from the large-scale office designs. The 200 million DKR budget allowed studio 3XN to spare no expense on the interiors either, which takes a calmer approach more on par with quintessential Danish style. A combination of wood, steel, stark white walls and high ceilings encourages "interaction and knowledge sharing throughout the company."

Total Office Design sells for £25 through Amazon.

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