During these past decades the nature of the modern work place is rapidly evolving. Due to researchers’ exploration of the impact of interior working spaces on productivity, creativity, and well-being, working styles are significantly changing. Microsoft’s workplace design guideline explicitly promotes 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. As it appears, this global brand has gone beyond itself and towards the customized comfort of their employees and visitors from all over the world.
The task of designing Microsoft’s office in Skopje, Macedonia, was handed over to KL Studio
architects and we delivered an interior design which focuses on the experience of the place and the expression of local values and culture. Entering a new building in Skopje’s center, and in order to de-homogenize the already standardized office space, we started by removing the plasterboard ceiling, which exposed the concrete slab, and by “re-designing” the entire flooring.
The office floor was covered with carpeting tailored according to ethnic Macedonian (carpet) patterns, which were reproduced in a large scale and with an adapted color pallet. In a play of function and meaning, the vintage carpet bearing the genuine pattern was displayed as an artwork in the reception area. In this manner the infiltration of Macedonian ethnographic design patterns was subtly done and literal representations of archetypical cultural signs were skillfully avoided. Another key element of the office is the kitchen area – designed to imprint a bistro brunch/lunch feel to a compact and modern home kitchen. The whole office has a home-office feel as spaces are designed open and dynamic, and the furniture suggests a laid-back friendly atmosphere. Leisure, literally, fills the air. Basically, that is how we collaborated with Microsoft in the evolving design of the everyday work place, this time with a “local touch.” To achieve this atmosphere, we combined both: carefully selected pieces of furniture from diverse brands and our own custom designed furniture, which was hand-made in Skopje by local craftsman.
The custom designed “3D-grid-like-plant shelf” and the metal lockers. We also included wall-papers with faded photographs of Skopje’s modernistic – iconic concrete buildings built during the reconstruction of Skopje after the devastating earthquake of 1963 and usually embedded in the local collective memory as representatives of solidarity and team work for a better future. The budget for the Office Space was really tide, since we were supposed to integrate the demolition and the hole building of a new office space which was build from scratch. Together with the Project Management and the Contractor we were able to find quick solutions for all the problems that considered the budget without impacting the final look of the office space. We have a long experience not only in Designing the Projects, but also in the process of the Construction which enables us to make projects that are on budget and rational but are also creative and innovative.
Courtesy of KL Studio Architects. All rights reserved