Odd Offices: 13 Wacky Outside-the-Box Workspace Designs

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Unless you happen to work at Google, your conventional office space is going to seem awfully boring compared to the slides, disappearing desks, submarine-inspired meeting pods, turfed running tracks and other unusual design choices at these 13 highly creative workplaces.

Monolithic Chair-Free Office

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There are no chairs to be found in this faceted office space full of sloping geometric surfaces – workers have to either stand, perch on benches or lounge. Not that they’re complaining. Developed by design studio RAAAF and visual artist Barbara Visser, the workplace design is entitled ‘The End of Sitting.’ “The installation’s various affordances solicit visitors to explore different standing positions in an experimental work landscape.”

Wave-Like ‘Superdesk’

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One single desk surface weaves and undulates through the office for a digital creative industry like a ribbon, rising up in spots to create arched entrances to tucked-away work areas. The glossy, gleaming ‘Superdesk’ by Clive Wilkinson Architects seats all 125 employees of The Barbarian Group and transforms what would normally be considered furniture into architecture complete with roofs. The undersides of the desk offer storage, and occasionally reach heights that are tall enough to create private little alcoves.

Shipping Container Offices

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Clive Wilkinson and Associates also created an incredible shipping container-based work environment for Pallotta Teamworks in a new and entirely empty 47,000-square-foot warehouse in Los Angeles. The firm had to do the project on half the usual budget for such a space, making it difficult to even fully air-condition it, so they came up with a creative solution: seven tented villages or ‘breathing islands’ that are climate-controlled while the rest of the space is not.

Disappearing Desks

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There’s no danger of overworking yourself at Amsterdam design studio Hedergroen: once office hours are up, staff desks simply disappear. Computers, paperwork and other desktop items remain in place as the desks raise up to the ceiling on steel cables. When morning comes, they drop down again, resting on rolling cabinets for stability.