The task of designing Microsoft’s office in Minsk, Belarus, was handed over to KL Studio architects. This was our second collaboration after working on their offices in Skopje, Macedonia. We were already familiar with Microsoft’s workplace design guidelines that explicitly promote the company’s belief that the working space is for the employee and visitor, and that their branding is more than just about logos and colors.
Throughout working on the design inspired from the regional context, we maintained the strong and consistent Microsoft visual brand, while subtly acknowledging pride of location. During the merging of the client’s contemporary needs with the regional historical context, we tried to avoid literal representations of the local culture and stereotypes creating a unique mixture between the design directions from Microsoft and local patterns, colors and atmosphere.
Considering both the Visitor and the Employee experiences we designed the office space with two diverse look and feel schemes. In the reception, hallways and the Hub area we created more welcoming and moodier atmosphere with many layers of detail, furthermore in the more formal work space we designed a clean and bright space, with enough layers to make it feel personable. In order to achieve these atmospheres, we combined both: carefully selected pieces of furniture from diverse brands and our own custom designed furniture, which was hand-made locally in Minsk.
During the work on the Microsoft project in Minsk, we were collaborating with multiple corporate stakeholders, together with the project management (Source 8) we were able to communicate and organize multiple companies (IT, A/V, security, etc.) coming from different countries. The requirements for the necessary equipment was planed and integrated in the project, all the problems that came during the construction phase were quickly overcome without impacting the schedule, the functionality and the look of the office space.