Fast Company

How To...Design An Office For Collaboration

Studio O+A knows how to shake up the cubicle farm. With a client list that includes AOL, Facebook, and Microsoft, the interior design firm creates unconventional work spaces that encourage freer, more effective collaboration. Director of design Denise Cherry offers insight on three of O+A’s coolest designs.

1. The Cabanas

Where: Square’s offices
“The staff needed a place to go away from their desks to have a quick conversation,” Cherry says. So O+A built in what it calls cabanas: open-air cubby structures. “They’re upholstered on three sides, so they deaden noise, but you can still be part of the activity of the office.”

2. The Meat Locker

Where: Quid’s offices
O+A crafted a mini-conference room made of plastic vinyl strips for the software company. The heavy material filters light and sound without imposing the formality of a traditional conference room. Plus, “there’s a tactile, playful way to enter the space,” Cherry says. “You can push through any main point around the sphere.” Quidders came up with the clever name.

3. The Open Staircase

Where: Evernote’s offices
The business occupies both the fourth and fifth floors of its building. To connect the two levels, O+A built a grand, open staircase smack in the middle of the floor plan. Cherry says there’s a psychological difference between traversing Evernote’s “communicating staircase” and traipsing up or down the standard stairway.

Photos courtesy of Jasper Sanidad

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