Ever increasing numbers of board meetings are moving from the boardroom to the internet, enabling members to meet even when they’re scattered to the four corners of the globe. However, according to a recent study, the majority of business executives believe that face-to face meetings are still a crucial part of building more meaningful and profitable relationships.
Despite this, it seems that only recently have companies woken up to the notion that a boardroom need not be boring; indeed, that to be conducive to creative thinking it should be anything but...
Where once peering through the glass top of a Norman Foster Nomos table at parts of your colleagues traditionally, and often mercifully, hidden from view was considered somewhat daring boardroom behaviour, many companies have finally taken on board the idea that if the purpose of a meeting is to generate new ideas, then the environment in which this is supposed to happen should, perhaps, actively encourage such creativity.
Given the staple requirements of an adequately lit enclosure housing a sufficiently large table and the requisite number of chairs, it’s easy to see how the basic banality of so much ubiquitous boardroom design has bludgeoned its way into so many offices over the years.
Here, though, and without even mentioning the likes of Pixar and Google, we celebrate five companies who have, by dint of rethinking either furniture or environment, dared to be different by adding a whiff of delight to the impending drudge of the next meeting.
Nykredit headquarters, Copenhagen, Denmark
Boardrooms are no strangers to the box within an open-plan box concept, but the headquarters of Nykredit, one of Denmark’s leading mortgage banks, takes this concept to new, and gently vertiginous three-dimensional extremes.
The 10-storey glass structure beside the harbour is one of Copenhagen’s largest office buildings and features a dramatic atrium flooded with natural light, from the third and fifth floors of which are cantilevered three glazed meeting rooms.
Boys and Girls advertising agency, Dublin, Ireland
The protected nature of Dublin’s Georgian heritage is a double-edged sword for a company like Boys and Girls; you get the gravitas and the postal address but you’re effectively not allowed to do more than polish the brasses without planning permission.
“Our brief was succinct – playful but not juvenile,” recalled abgc Architects. “And our proposal included a boardroom table consisting of 22,742 pieces of Lego clicked together with no glue, in a random pattern, under a glass surface.”
Bahnhof AB – Pionen White mountain offices, Stockholm, Sweden
Not every boardroom could withstand a hit from a hydrogen bomb.
But, for the high-security data centre of one of Sweden’s largest ISPs, located under 30 metres of solid granite beneath Stockholm’s Vita Berg Park, the offices’ former function as a nuclear shelter pretty much guarantees it.
Sealed off from the world by entrance doors 40cm thick, and boasting simulated daylight, greenhouses, waterfalls and German submarine engines, all this underground lair lacks is the requisite super-villain.
Saatchi & Saatchi, Bangkok, Thailand
A playful spontaneous atmosphere, that some would refer to as anything else but a work place, was exactly the approach taken by Saachi & Saachi’s creative director.
‘I wanted a space that inspires, is genuinely fun to come to every day, and that didn’t take itself too seriously,’ he said.
In a relatively tight 400 square metre office space and with an economical budget, the design leaves much of the space open, accented by strong visual elements, such as a bicycle made for 1 8
Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia
The Panoramic Garden of CCIS is the outcome of the transformation of a large summer banquet terrace and current VIP boardroom into a lush indoor garden space with dramatic swooping garden beds and plants throughout.
Behind a glazed structure inspired by the cross-section of a plant leaf, a sinuous ribbon of tropical greenery partitions the space into several areas that may be used according to the type of event and the number of partipants
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