While many of the offices I’ve covered on Design Studio 210 have belonged to creative agencies, there are just as many unique workspaces in more corporate sectors like banking and investments. Take Office Herengracht, an investment group in capital stock. They wanted a self-proclaimed “power office” that made them stand heads above the competition and really reflected their success. With this in mind, they enlisted the help of not one, but two architecture companies.
In a collaboration between i29 Architects and Eckhardt & Leeuwenstein Architects, the office was transformed into a series of boardrooms, lounge areas and working areas that “place every board member in the spotlight in a playful way.” The architects succeeded, with strategically placed oversized lamps illuminating each workspace and lounge chair. What I really love, however, is the whole atmosphere of money and power. Firstly, the office itself is situated in a historic 17th century building on one of the most famous canals in Amsterdam, de Gouden Bocht. This already evokes a richness and a sense of grandeur before you even get a look inside.
Then there’s the interior. It’s decorated throughout in three of the most luxurious colours in office design – black, gold and white. Then if that isn’t opulent enough, the playful oval shelving and circular lampshades lined with gold paint look purposefully like gold coins. Even the boardroom desk looks like it’s been constructed from bars of gold! It’s a classic piece of great office branding, illustrating their part in the investment and stock trading sector and letting clients and visitors know they’ve come to the right business. It even continues through to less formal office areas.
While the sense of power here is a little more muted, the use of black and white still communicates luxury and is something I often see at the headquarters of high fashion houses. Making the room appear bright and airy while at the same time textured with black shadow, it’s an imposing yet successful room. There are even wall sculptures and white marble floors that make the space seem more like a museum or ancient Greek temple!
I call the space “imposing” in the most positive way though – it’s sure to seep into the mood of employees to make them want to work harder and maintain this reputation of success. This need for hard work is also made easier by the long and interconnected seating. It’s great for co-working and collaboration as well as socialising!
I think this is the perfect office for a company in the investment sector. Exuding wealth and success without any arrogance, the strategic and adventurous design completely encapsulates their company ethos. What do you think?