The Many Uses of Cardboard

Don’t put your old cardboard boxes in the recycling bin just yet because Dutch designers Alrik Koudenburg and Joost van Bleiswijk might just need to use them for a few more of their unusual designs, like the cardboard office interior they designed for Nothing, the new Amsterdam-based Creative Agency.

Nothing is about the power of ideas. About how a single idea can transform nothing into something. They decided that using a cheap throw-away material to build a unique and memorable workspace, was a good way to materialise their company’s philosophy.

The two designers created the interior of Nothings office using over 5,300 square feet of reinforced cardboard and the 1500 separate pieces were slotted together without glue or fixings.

The office features walls, tables, shelves, beams, desks and even a staircase, all made from nothing but cardboard!

The end result is spectacular and definitely something to marvel over. Who’d of thought cardboard, of all things?!

Etsys Handmade, Vintage Office

If you love any and everything hand-made then you will definitely find the Etsy Headquarters to die for! Etsy is a social commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies. So it’s kind of like crafty cross to eBay and Amazon.

Etsys office is located in the DUMBO [‘Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass’] neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, which is the perfect location for this crafty social commerce company.

DUMBO is an arts-focused neighborhood full of renovated buildings that were once factories or warehouses, but they now are home to a growing community of studios and vibrant web companies.

The office is all on one floor, with most folks sitting out in an open floor plan. Some of the furniture and materials used in the space desks, conference tables, kitchen flooring and cabinetry were items created and installed by Etsy sellers.

Etsys motto, Live Handmade, is obviously taken seriously by their staff — all of whom are craftspeople and artists in their own right — because they took the redesign into their own hands and successfully created [and located] an office that reflects Etsys handmade and vintage spirit.

From Old Shipping Yard to Designing Hot Spot

Urban Outfitters, with help from Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle, took four dilapidated historic buildings in Philadelphia’s Navy Yard and transformed them into an award winning Corporate Campus of recycled and renovated buildings. The clothing and housewares retailer was the first major non-ship building corporation to move to the Navy Yard and their newly designed headquarters received the 2010 AIA Honor Award for Architecture.

The Navy Yard once operated to produce naval vessels as well as construct, repair, and scrap decommissioned ships. Now the Anthropologie, Free People, and Urban Outfitters retail brands’ design studios and offices are housed in each building.

They aimed to preserve some of the buildings factory characteristics by maintaining the industrial materials and large open spaces with ample natural lighting. Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle succeed in creating an environment where Urbans employees can enjoy to spend their time.

The employees at Urban Outfitters find the new headquarters spectacular. The companys employee turn over rate is down 11%, which emphasizes the importance of providing a work environment where employees feel comfortable, relaxed, and inspired in order to keep those creative juices flowing.

An Urban Influenced Office Fitout

That rugged, western inspired office space located in Seattle’s hippest and coolest neighbourhood of Capitol Hill belongs to Urban Influence.

Although you typically won’t find any cowboys or gun-slinging vagrants lazing around these parts, their office sure looks like it’s home to a few. They specialise in the creation of authentic brands for various companies, and who would know more about branding than cowboys and their livestock?

Rugged office fitout
Urban Influence’s warm and woody office fitout.

Although Urban Influence recently moved into their new home, and the construction and design of the space isn’t entirely completed, the office looks spectacular so far.

They’re located in a big, open loft with an abundance of natural lighting, pendant lighting, exposed brick, old wood beams, and polished wooden floors. The furniture, however, is quite modern so the contrast is quite striking.

The space has a very rustic, old west inspired appearance, and the creators even opted to use custom-made tables for their employee workstations as to preserve the specific look they were going for.

I visited the property with a close friend of mine who does office fitouts in Melbourne and we were both impressed with the very warm and cosy feel of the rooms. My favourite aspect of the office was the conference room, where they have used reclaimed stable doors to give the office even more of that cowboy inspired feel.

I felt like jumping on a horse or something similar. In fact, they added the names of the horses that used to call that stable home to the doors, just so no one forgets what those doors were previously used for.

Solving the Office Blues

I recently visited a friend in the states and went on a tour of some amazing sites while I was there. Located in a historic building in Minneapolis is the newly renovated office of Mono, an advertising agency who works with the likes of Apple and Herman Miller.

The building once housed a print shop and car dealership before it sat vacant for nearly 20 years until Mono’s co-founder Chris Lange, Lazor Office and Flatpak House joined forces to create a workspace that is simple and open in design.

Mono is located in a neighbourhood known for funky shops, eateries and slick apartments. However, they fit right in with their very distinguishable, boldly coloured blue door,  which upon entering leads visitors down a path of finished concrete floors that still have flicks of colour from the old print shop.

The same blue from the entrance door can be found accenting the office’s bright white walls, as well as on ceiling beams and office doors, including a refinished barn door that slides open to reveal a modern conference room.

My favourite part of the office has to be Monos modern twist to the traditional office cubicle. The work pods that surround the heart of the office are playful, bright, and airy.

They still allow for privacy but eliminate feelings of isolation that are common with the more traditional cubicle.