Crafting Corporate Environments: Showcasing Top-Tier Office Interiors
As organizations increasingly recognize the profound impact of physical space on employee productivity, morale, and corporate identity, the quest for excellence in office interior design has garnered unprecedented momentum. Studios such as SelgasCano, Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA), and Acquilano_ stand at the forefront of this movement–pushing boundaries and redefining paradigms. This article delves into their visionary approaches—showcasing how top-tier office interiors are intricate choreographies of light, form, and human interaction. We also consider the growing impact of sustainability in workspace design–from local sourcing to passive energy approaches.
How Workplace Environments Have Changed
The COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on how we approach office design—prompting a significant shift in workplace strategies and priorities. Of course, the biggest change is the implementation of hybrid, remote, and flexible work models. The pandemic forced many organizations to adopt remote work—demonstrating that employees can remain productive outside of traditional office spaces.
Workspaces are being reimagined to support a blend of in-office and remote work—with an emphasis on providing employees with the choice and flexibility to work from different locations. This has led to the creation of flexible workstations, hot-desking arrangements, and collaborative spaces that cater to varying work styles and preferences. Enhanced health, safety, and wellbeing are other post-pandemic foci.
Health and Wellbeing
As we all remember, the pandemic brought attention to the mental and emotional well-being of employees. Office designs are increasingly incorporating elements to support wellness, including natural lighting, ergonomic furniture, spaces for relaxing pauses throughout the work day, and biophilic design elements.
Workplace designers and architects are increasingly integrating biophilic design principles into their projects. This involves bringing nature into the workplace through the use of plants, natural materials, and outdoor green spaces.
Biophilic design has been shown to improve productivity, reduce stress, and enhance overall well-being. It also promotes a connection to the natural world—fostering a greater appreciation for environmental sustainability among occupants.
Companies are recognizing the importance of creating environments that promote a positive and inclusive workplace culture—where employees feel valued and supported in their overall well-being.
Sustainability goes hand-in-hand with healthy workspaces. Workplace interior designers and architects are increasingly focusing on sustainability and eco-friendliness in their designs to create healthier and environmentally responsible workspaces.
They opt for sustainable, low-impact materials such as reclaimed wood, recycled metals, and low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and finishes. These materials not only reduce the environmental footprint but also contribute to better indoor air quality. Additionally, the use of sustainable materials can help divert waste from landfills and encourage responsible sourcing and manufacturing practices. They also work with local artisans and manufacturers that have expressed commitment to environmental responsibility and have explicitly stated their sustainability goals.
Designing workplaces to be more energy-efficient is another top priority for architects and designers. Architects integrate energy-efficient lighting systems, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems, and insulation to reduce energy consumption. Natural daylighting is maximized to reduce the need for artificial lighting.
Renewable energy sources like solar panels are often incorporated into the design to generate on-site clean energy. Moreover, smart building technologies are used to monitor and optimize energy usage—providing a more sustainable and comfortable environment for occupants.
The post-pandemic office is evolving to be a more adaptable and holistic environment that meets the changing needs and expectations of the modern workforce. These spaces are also more playful–filled with personality and panache. While some retain the industrial look favored by tech companies in the early aughts, many office spaces designed in the 2020s are inspired by residential interiors.
Five Talented Workplace Designers Crafting Contemporary Corporate Spaces
From the vibrant Second Home Hollywood campus office space and the Pallotta TeamWorks offices to the ANZ Australia workspace and gallery, below are some of the most innovative corporate interiors around the world. Some are warm and cozy. Others are bold and energizing. All are masterfully executed.
Though the following architects and designers are best known for designing commercial interiors, some also craft residential spaces. Click on the following images to learn more about each architect or interior designer by exploring their Instagram accounts.
Studio SelgasCano is an architecture firm based in Madrid, Spain. Known for its innovative and experimental designs, the firm was founded by the husband-and-wife team of José Selgas and Lucía Cano in 1998. Together, they have created a body of work that blurs the boundaries between architecture and nature—often incorporating organic forms, vibrant colors, and innovative materials into their designs.
Studio SelgasCano is known for pushing the boundaries of traditional architecture with experimental and unconventional designs. They often incorporate translucent materials—such as ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) and colored plastics—to create visually striking and immersive spaces. Many of their projects are designed to harmonize with their natural surroundings.
The firm also adds natural elements—like vegetation and landscape features—into their designs to create a seamless connection between the built environment and the natural world.
The firm’s designs feature playful and whimsical aesthetics. Bright and bold colors, irregular shapes, and unconventional geometries are common elements in their work. This approach gives their projects a unique and memorable character.
Studio SelgasCano’s work has garnered international acclaim and recognition. Some of their notable projects include the Serpentine Pavilion in London (2015), the Second Home Hollywood campus in Los Angeles (2019), and the Plasencia Auditorium and Congress Center in Spain (2017), among others.
While pushing the boundaries of architectural design, the firm also places a strong emphasis on sustainability. They strive to create buildings that are environmentally responsible and energy-efficient.
Studio SelgasCano’s design for the 2015 Serpentine Pavilion in London was a notable milestone in their career. The pavilion featured a colorful, chrysalis-like structure made of translucent ETFE material—creating a dynamic and immersive space for visitors.
Pictured above, the Second Home Hollywood campus in Los Angeles is another iconic project by the firm. It features a series of interconnected, colorful, and translucent workspaces nestled among lush gardens—creating a unique and inspiring environment for entrepreneurs and creative professionals.
Studio SelgasCano’s work is characterized by a commitment to pushing the boundaries of architecture while maintaining a strong connection to nature and the environment. Their designs often challenge conventional architectural norms and provide a fresh perspective on how built spaces can interact with their surroundings.
Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA)
Clive Wilkinson is an architect and designer known for his innovative approaches to workplace design. Originally from South Africa, Wilkinson established his eponymous architecture firm Clive Wilkinson Architects (CWA) in Los Angeles, California. Before establishing his firm in Los Angeles, Wilkinson had professional affiliations with several renowned architects—including Frank Gehry. Over the years, Clive Wilkinson Architects has received numerous awards for their innovative designs. This recognition solidifies Wilkinson’s place among the leading designers of modern workspaces. To this point, CWA was recently identified as one of Indesign Magazine’s “7 Leaders of Wellbeing in 2022.”
If interested in the evolution of workplace design or modern architectural approaches to creating collaborative environments, Clive Wilkinson’s work provides rich material for exploration.
Aesthetic and Philosophy
Clive Wilkinson is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking designs for office spaces. He’s played a significant role in reimagining the traditional office environment. His designs often promote collaboration, openness, and flexibility.
Wilkinson’s approach to design places emphasis on creating environments that foster community, collaboration, and interaction. He believes in breaking down the conventional barriers of office spaces and instead focuses on open environments, communal spaces, and flexible work areas.
One of the most famous projects by Wilkinson is the Googleplex, Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California. This office was a game changer in how tech companies thought about their workspaces. Other clients include Microsoft, Nokia, Pallotta TeamWorks, the advertising firm TBWA\Chiat\Day, and Santa Monica College Center for Media and Design–the campus of which is pictured above.
Acquilano Design Studio is a design firm based in Denver, Colorado that specializes in interior design and interior architecture. Founded by Andrea Monath Schumacher, the studio is known for its creative and innovative approach to interior design and has received recognition for its work in both residential and commercial spaces.
Andrea Monath Schumacher is the founder and principal designer of Acquilano Design Studio. She has a background in interior architecture and design and has led the studio in creating unique and personalized interior spaces.
Acquilano Design Studio works on a wide range of projects, including residential homes, apartments, and commercial spaces. Their portfolio includes private residences, restaurants, hotels, retail spaces, and more. Over the years, the studio has received recognition and awards for its interior design work. Their projects have been featured in various design publications and magazines.
Aesthetic and Philosophy
The studio is known for its commitment to creating interiors that reflect the individual tastes, lifestyles, and needs of its clients. They work closely with clients to understand their vision and preferences, resulting in highly personalized and customized designs.
Acquilano Design Studio pays meticulous attention to detail in their projects—from selecting furniture and finishes to considering lighting, color palettes, and spatial arrangements. This attention to detail contributes to the overall quality and aesthetic of their designs. Spaces are bold, colorful, and a bit eclectic. Many have a retro or poppy feel.
Note Design Studio
Note Design Studio—often simply referred to as “Note”—is a renowned multidisciplinary design studio based in Stockholm, Sweden. Founded in 2008, the studio has gained international recognition for its work in interior design, architecture, product design, and graphic design. Note is known for its innovative and human-centric approach to design—which combines Scandinavian design principles with a contemporary and artistic sensibility.
While based in Stockholm, Note has worked on projects around the world, including Europe, Asia, and the United States. Their designs have been featured in international design exhibitions and publications. Some notable projects by Note Design Studio include the interiors of hotels, restaurants, retail spaces, and private residences. They have also created furniture and lighting collections for various renowned brands. Most recently, Note partnered with Fogia Collection to release a collection of chairs called Mono.
Aesthetic and Philosophy
Note Design Studio operates at the intersection of various design disciplines. They work on a wide range of projects—including residential and commercial interiors, furniture design, lighting, textiles, branding, and more. This multidisciplinary approach allows them to bring a holistic perspective to their work.
The studio places a strong emphasis on creating designs that enhance the human experience. They strive to make spaces and products that are not only visually pleasing but also functional, comfortable, and emotionally resonant. This approach results in designs that are user-friendly and engaging.
Note’s design ethos is deeply rooted in Scandinavian design traditions, characterized by clean lines, simplicity, functionality, and a focus on natural materials. However, they infuse their projects with a unique and contemporary twist—often incorporating bold colors, unexpected textures, and innovative materials.
Innovation and Sustainability
Note Design Studio is known for its willingness to push boundaries and experiment with new ideas and materials. They often collaborate with artisans and manufacturers to create custom pieces and explore innovative techniques, resulting in one-of-a-kind designs.
Sustainability is an important consideration in many of their projects. Note is committed to environmentally responsible design practices and often works with sustainable materials and production methods. As the firm notes in this post on their Instagram account, “We believe that sustainable building practices are essential not only for the environment but also for the communities that we serve.”
Note recently partnered with Stora Enso–one of the world’s largest producers of renewable and sustainable wood and paper-based products. Stora Enso has a rich history dating back several centuries and has evolved into a modern and innovative forest industry company. The company has set ambitious sustainability goals—including achieving carbon neutrality and minimizing its environmental footprint. It’s a natural partnership for Note Design Studio.
Foolscap Studio is a well-known design and architecture firm based in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 2009 by Adele Winteridge, Foolscap Studio has gained recognition for its innovative and human-centered approach to interior design and architecture.
Adele Winteridge is known for her innovative and creative design solutions. She is unafraid to push the boundaries of traditional design—experimenting with materials, textures, colors, and spatial arrangements to create unique and memorable interiors. Winteridge currently serves as an Advisor of the Asia Designer Communication Platform.
Under her direction, the studio has worked on a diverse range of projects–including flagship retail stores, hotels, resorts, cultural institutions, galleries, collaborative workspaces, and residential interiors. Foolscap’s approach to design often results in spaces that are not only visually striking but also functional and emotionally resonant. Pictured above is the ANZ Australia workspace–which was recently shortlisted for the 2023 Idea Awards.
Aesthetic and Philosophy
Foolscap Studio is known for its focus on creating spaces that prioritize the well-being and experiences of the people who use them. Their designs often incorporate elements of psychology, sociology, and anthropology to understand how spaces can better serve the needs of occupants.
The studio employs a multidisciplinary team that includes architects, interior designers, strategists, and graphic designers. This allows them to offer a holistic approach to design, considering not only the physical environment but also the brand, culture, and user experience.
Foolscap often collaborates with other designers and furniture makers on workplace solutions. For example, the studio recently created this customizable, modular lounge system–called the Soufflé–alongside sustainable furniture company Grazia & Co.
Innovation and Sustainability
Foolscap Studio is known for its innovative and creative design solutions. They often push the boundaries of conventional design—experimenting with materials, colors, and spatial arrangements to create unique and memorable environments.
Like many contemporary design firms, Foolscap Studio places an emphasis on sustainability and environmentally responsible design practices. They work to incorporate sustainable materials and practices into their projects, helping clients reduce their environmental footprint.
Other Innovative Workplace Designers to Watch
Other corporate interior designers whose work was pictured in this article include Mind Manifestation, Pernille Lind Studio, and Daytrip.studio.