A peek inside Swatch Group Moscow’s office washrooms

Colourful, bold and brimming with character, the office washrooms at Swatch Group Moscow make a statement about the company's creative background.

Swiss manufacturer Swatch Group is famous for its luxury brand watches and attention to detail and as such, ABD architects were entrusted with the task of creating new offices where elegance meets clean design.

While the reception area embraces minimalism with a light colour palette and wood panelling, the office washrooms tell a different story.

Starting with the most intimate space, ABD architects were given free reign on the restroom design. The result is a set of individual washrooms (complete with toilet and sink), each boasting a unique design and personality that brightens up the workplace.

Abstract patterns, illustrations and splashes of colour lend beauty to the tiling while the flooring is kept to a unifying grey. The architects also found pre-existing artwork from artists who had previously worked with Swatch and integrated it into the design. Smart, innovative and inspiring – everything an office washroom should be.

All photos: ABD architects

Cowork, colive, collaborate – an ode to shared spaces

More than just shared spaces, coworking and coliving spaces promote shared values.

It is no coincidence that "co words" have been mushrooming in recent years. Today, coworking, coliving, co-housing and collaborating are on everyone's lips.

This collaborative model of working and living is nothing but the reflection of a modern society growing around shared spaces like ivy grows around a tree. It is a clear sign that millennials want interaction, communication, and synergy.

Why is coworking so popular?

WeWork Moorgate coworking shared spaces
WeWork Moorgate

What is a coworking space? Simply put, it is a business model that revolves around several individuals or companies working in a shared office space.

Nomad workers, startups, freelance professionals, independent contractors and many more can reap the benefit from a collaborative working environment. And if coworking is the future, it comes as no surprise that blue-chip employees are trading smart for casual clothes and joining the coworking community too. 

Truth is, it makes sound business sense and offers a few advantages, too – state-of-the-art offices at lower costs and in prime locations, shared printing facilities, no long-term leases, networking possibilities and a sense of community.

And let's be honest, the vibe is cool.

The word coworking won’t be a word in the future, it will probably just be the way we work.

Rahul Prakash, partner at Hatch Today

With over 75 locations around the world and 50,000 members, coworking operator WeWork has become a bellwether in the industry but there is room for more.

According to Deskmag's 2017 Global Coworking Survey report, "by the end of the new year, nearly 1.2 million people worldwide will have worked in a coworking space."

For commercial landlords, real estate developers and coworking operators, that is 1.2 million people to cater for; 1.2 million opportunities.

So, how do you attract new members? How do you run a profitable coworking space? For some, this is no longer the biggest question. 

The coliving concept is gaining momentum

Roam: a coliving community across the world
Roam, co-living complex in Bali, Alexis Dornier

In April 2016, WeWork launched its progressive, albeit wildly expensive, coliving apartments in New York. A cross between student accommodation and hotels, WeLive describes itself as a community-driven concept revolving around, drumroll please, sharing. In other words, shared spaces for young renters seeking a more sociable environment.

In tandem, other coliving complexes are springing up, in the UK and around the world. The UK's first purpose-built coliving complex opened its doors in west London, in May 2016. The Collective Old Oak is at the vanguard of a new housing model that, however in line with young professionals' needs, remains on the expensive side.

We have to break down fences and allow people to start sharing amenities in their living environment so that there is a quality of life but also a social activation

Matthias Hollwich, architect and Architizer co-founder

Visionary architect Alexis Dornier has even taken the coliving trend to the next level with Roam, a innovative housing model that allows residents to move between properties around the world. Currently, the choice lies between Bali and Miami but the list is bound to expand with major cities like London, Madrid and Buenos Aires in the pipeline.

As co-working matures, co-living is picking up speed. Now is the time for landlords to react and explore new ways of living and working. Ways that are in keeping with the needs and requirements of Generation Y.

Urinal design: flush with possibilities

At first glance, urinals do not appear to offer particularly fertile ground for design discussions, especially in the workplace. However, there is a lot to be said about a fixture that was not always ubiquitous in the workplace.

First patented in 1866, the urinal has drastically evolved since Andrew Rankin was credited as its inventor, 151 years ago. And although the benefit of a modern urinal (and a well-kept washroom for that matter) may still be lost to some businesses, the urinal as indicator for quality and innovation is climbing in popularity.

Gloo by Phillip Watts
Gloo: colourful polyethylene urinal by Philip Watts Design

A quick web search shows a wide variety of urinals – corner, stall, through (should these really exist?) sensor and waterless but what about designer urinals?

Pictured above, Gloo is a rotationally moulded plastic urinal which comes in 8 different colours, making for a somewhat fun washroom should different colours be used at once. And if polyethylene does not appeal to your business, you can opt for the stronger and more durable cast solid resin, like the Spoon urinal across.

spoon - urinal design by phillip watts
Spoon: cast solid resin urinals by Philip Watts Design

Spherical urinals may sound like a futuristic feature but Ceramica Cielo's suspended ceramic urinals blend French flair with the quality of Italian craftsmanship to create these minimal urinals fit for high-end, sophisticated offices.

ceramica cielo Ball ceramic suspended urinal
Ball: suspended ceramic urinal by Ceramica Cielo
Olympia crystal urinals with lids
Crystal: glossy white, wall hung urinals with lids, manufactured by Olympia Ceramica, designed by 5.5. designstudio

Perhaps most commonly used in urinal design, ceramic is another option worth exploring for its clean lines, elegant appeal and versatility.

Of course, a post on urinals would be incomplete without the mention of the ever increasing waterless urinal. Introduced to the world by the Waterless Company in 1992, no-flush urinals can now be found in all shapes and sizes and their advantages are multi-fold. By installing no-water urinals, business can save money on water (and water itself), maintenance is reduced and the dry nature of waterless urinals guarantees a more hygienic environment.

waterless urinal design
Waterless urinals by Kohler

That said, unpleasant odours remain a common problem with waterless urinals. So how can business meet environmental goals and reduce their expenditure without resorting to dry urinals?

Latvian designer Kaspars Jursons seems to have found the answer. Meet STAND, a hybrid toilet with an integrated shallow sink in the shell of the urinal, pictured below.

hybrid urinal and sink
Sink and urinal hybrids at Riga's Concert Hall Palladium by Studio Annvil

How does it work? Jursons puts it simply: "By washing your hands, the same water rinses the urinal by a simple method. People do not need to use water twice any more, for urinal and for sink—they just simply wash their hands." What's more, the proximity of the two is bound to remind the forgetful and the hurried to wash their hands before exiting the restroom. A three-in-one modern urinal. 

So how important is urinal design in the workplace? If a washroom is to reflect the values of a business, putting an emphasis on design urinals will show a business cares for the details and that, as small a detail as it may seen, is bound to have a knock-on effect on the company's well-being.

7 tips to make your coworking space more profitable

Everyone should earn a profit from their work and co-working operators are no exception. This is easier said than done, of course.

Profitable business ideas are not easy to come by. The good news is, if you want to open a profitable coworking space, or increase your profit, someone has already laid the groundwork for you. That someone is Brad Neuberg, the inventor of coworking as we know it. But back to profits.

How do you break into the coworking scene? The coworking business, still burgeoning, is not limited to WeWork, far from it. So how do you become a fierce competitor?

Here is an idea or two. Or seven.

1. Embrace mixed-use spaces

This is true for most current real-estate developments. "Mixed-use" is the magic word that opens all doors, it is the "please, thank you" of commercial real estate.

When it comes to coworking, your office is probably busiest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If your building has some extra unused space, you are missing out on countless sales opportunities.

Think about optimising your space, consider mutually beneficial establishments like coffee shops and the ever so popular tap room for after-hours.

If the space allows for it, you can, and probably should go even further. Breakfast bar, rooftop terrace, lounge, fitness club, dry cleaners, library and, if you own a palace, why don't you integrate some accommodation tailored for professionals?

Neue House coworking space at Madison Square

2. Cater to niche sectors

While it may be tempting to appeal to a broader audience, often the secret is to start small, expand later. Focusing on a niche market will create a sense of community.

Knowing your target customers will help you make this decision. Will you target women only like Soleilles Cowork in Paris? Will you cater to tech professionals only?

It is also helpful to remember that different sectors have different requirements. Writers work in silence (or to the soothing sound of classical music) while PR professionals cling to their phones for dear life. How will you cater to both without falling between two stools?

But what about cross-pollination, you may ask? And inter-disciplinary networking? Perhaps it is best for smaller businesses to start out focused and widen the lens at a later stage.

3. Don't neglect privacy

In a recent documentary film about the past, present, and future of the office, R/GA's Chief Creative Officer Nick Law describes the importance of and need for both individual and collaborative spaces as follows: "I think this is true of every creative pursuit: there are these monkish moments where solitude is the only way you're going to get somewhere. And then there are these moments of connection that take all of these jigsaw pieces and put them all together into a bigger shape."

If your coworking space understands this fine balance, it is bound to attract more customers.

fuxing plaza coworking office in Soho, China
Soho 3Q, photo by Eterna S, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

4. Target a bigger membership for a higher profit

According to DeskMag's Second Global Coworking Survey, "seventy percent of all privately operated coworking spaces that serve 50 or more members run a profit." This is a critical point to understand. Even though smaller spaces cost you less to run, they don't make it easy to make direct profit from.

That said, let's not forget that smaller spaces are usually new on the market. They have yet to grow and increase their membership but, as it is with many things life, start small but aim big.

5. Think outside the box

Alternative, pop-up coworking offices reclaiming unused spaces during the day are becoming more and more of a thing.

Spacious in the United States and Popices in Amsterdam offer workers the possibility to work in restaurants that are closed during the day, galleries, hotels and even boats!

Do you know of another business that could profit from opening its doors to nomad workers thirsty for a collaborative space? If so, it may be worth brainstorming on the subject.

zonaspace coworking offic
Zonaspace coworking in Saint Petersburg. Photo by коворкинг-пространство Зона действия , via Wikimedia Commons

6. Survey the international market

Five years after the Arab Spring, Tunisia is still in the throes of unemployment but despite a rate of 15.3, young Tunisian entrepreneurs want to encourage self-employment by creating affordable, professional clubs. Founded by Akthem Naili, Creative Coworking Space is aimed at architects, photographers and designers but it is not the only one. Between 2013 and 2016, over five co-working spaces have popped up in Tunis.

Similarly, coworking is booming in Lisbon where, over the last five years, 40 Portugal-based startups have raised over $166 million in funding. For the first time, the Portuguese capital was also included in WIRED’s list of hottest start-up destinations for 2016.

London is not the only coworking destination in Europe. Cities like Lisbon, Berlin Amsterdam, Athens, Brussels and many more are attracting an increasing number of startups and entrepreneurs. So if your coworking space is thriving in London (or else), it might be worth expanding to other burgeoning cities.

Todos Hub coworking space

7. Be patient

Rome wasn't built in a day. The longer your coworking space is in operation, the better it will run. This is a fact and you will have to brace yourself with patience, embrace innovation, be proactive and become the king of networking. 

And there you have it. Seven tips on how to grow your co-working business. Can you think of any more? Pick a platform and reach out to us on social media. 

Republic interviews Austrian designer Katharina Eisenkoeck

Austrian designer Katharina Eisenkoeck

Austrian designer Katharina Eisenkoeck talks about her love of sensuous materials - a love that shines through objects endowed with poetry and contrasts.

Katharina Eisenkoeck is a designer-maker whose practice involves furniture and product making with a sculptural simplicity and functionality influenced by the distinct use of materials. The Austrian designer shows a great interest in the revival of ancient techniques and craft processes brought into a new context as specifically shown in her work with leather.

Her approach to design can be described as a practical research through material experimentation in order to create objects that are on one hand long lasting but also show the character of uniqueness through the making.

To learn more about the artist, Republic spoke with Katharina Einsenkoeck who shared a glimpse of her background, emphasised how crucial to her work contrasts are, and confessed to her obsession with stone and mirrors.

Austrian designer Katharina Eisenkoeck portrait

Republic (Re): Can you start by telling us a little bit about your background?

Katharina Eisenkoeck (KE): I have started out my professional career in architecture, went on to interior design and then slowly but surely got hooked with the making, detailing and refining of objects and furniture.

My childhood was spent building structures in the garden or drawing and painting whatever us kids could come up with. Throughout my time of growing up, I have always enjoyed being creative, it is the ultimate feeling of freedom.

Tension Mirror in ivory brown

Re: Before you set up your own studio, you worked as an interior and exhibition designer. What did you learn from this experience and how do you think does it feed into your current work as a designer-maker?  

(KE): Starting out large and slowly bringing the focus into the more detailed, the handmade and the craft was a great way to learn the many layers of design. Going through the stages of architecture, interior design and then furniture design has made me realize that each project, no matter how big or small, has to be treated the same way.

Tension Mirror Pink with Alabaster

Re: Your love of textural materials is quite evident – alabaster, concrete and leather seem to inspire you a lot. How do you choose the materials you work with and is that choice influenced by your interest in ancient crafts?

(KE): I am definitely inspired by ancient craft and making techniques, but mostly by materials from nature that surround us. To enhance the unique qualities of natural materials I work with contrast. Natural lines with geometric shapes, smooth and soft materials combined with rough surfaces. The objects I strive to create are tactile and seek to trigger curiosity in its uncommon shapes.

Reflector Lamp with concrete base

Re: Can you give us an insight into your creative process? When you work on a new piece of furniture, is it the material, the shape, the function or something altogether different that you consider first?

(KE): I have a constant urge to learn about materials. To teach myself a new technique, or engage with a material that is new to me, is a core value to my business. From there experimenting starts, ideas are being developed, sketched up, tried out, overthrown, done again slightly different and so on.

Sunrise table by Katherina Eisenkoeck

Re: The furniture you make is so sculptural it appears to transcend all kinds of sectors. But do you design with one in mind? For example, would you envision one of your pieces in the lobby of a deluxe hotel or the reception area of a high-end office space?

(KE): When developing a new piece, I find it restricting to design for a specific purpose. My customers usually surprise me with their own ideas of where the piece should sit, whether this might be a home, a hotel lobby or an office. I am keen to evoke the unexpected.

portable Nomadic Light in concrete and leather

Re: What are you working on right now and what are your plans for the new year?

(KE): I have been obsessed with working on stone and mirrors, you will definitely see some more of that in the coming year, but it will be bigger than anything I have done so far.

Nomadic light by Katherina Eisenkoeck

Artisans like Katharina Eisenkoeck are the reason why we love collaborating with craftspeople and creative minds. If you would like to incorporate one of Eisenkoeck's creations in your next Re:public project, get in touch - we'll be glad to meet over coffee.

In the meantime, find out more about Eisenkoeck on her website and follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

How to liven up your office reception using copper

Shimmering or weathered, polished or textured, man's oldest metal will bring elegance and warmth into your office reception.

A well-designed office reception is never an accident. But why is your reception area so important? Why should you invest time and money in it and what is so fascinating about copper?

The answer is simple. The reception area is arguably the most important part of your office because it is the first point of contact between you and your client. And since first impressions are the most lasting, a well-presented reception area is well-worth investing in.

brass magazine rack for the office
Copper Wire Triangle Magazine Rack by Rockett St George

Now that we know how crucial first impressions are, let's find out what your office reception could look like if copper were the running theme.

From furniture, through lighting, to accessories, you can use copper to liven up your office reception. But what is the secret to an elegant, well-balanced copper office reception?

copper jesmonite coffee table
Copper Nim Table by Pinch

Accents are the secret. And accents mean contrasts. A pinch of luxe here, a dash of warmth there... Use copper sparingly but cleverly and you will strike a balance between excessive and dull.

Mix copper with contrasting materials like stone, wood or smoked glass to create a variety of textures and styles, from Scandinavian minimalism to a mid-century vintage look.

copper mirror series
These copper mirrors by Hunter & Narud would add a touch of elegance to a modern office reception

Fill the corner of your office reception with a jesmonite and powdered copper coffee table by Pinch, grace your reception desk with a trio of freestanding copper, mild-steel and stone mirrors by Hunter & Narud and pepper the room with a selection of Tom Dixon's glass and copper vases.

As for lighting, opt for copper-spun pendants by Josie Morris, to be displayed alone or in a cluster.

Copper vases by Tom Dixon
Office accessories by Tom Dixon at Maison & Objet 2015 

And what if your furniture could multitask? Bisque's Arteplano radiator in etched copper looks less like a heat source and more like a striking wall art feature.

arteplano radiator in etched copper
Arteplano radiator in etched copper, by Bisque
copper handle pendants
Handle pendants by Josie Morris 

Paul Kelley's versatile BOB collection below also holds great appeal since it consists of a series of copper-clad, magnetic cubes that can be arranged and rearranged to create an infinite number of shapes and furniture items. Those include armchairs, coffee tables, shelves and even a set of stairs!

Paul Kelley's copper cubes
Copper cube chair by Paul Kelley

Of course, an article on office receptions would be incomplete without the mention of reception desks, not immune to the copper trend.

The copper reception desk pictured below sits in contrast with the concrete decor and adds a significant touch of warmth to an otherwise gray-filled office reception. 

industrial-style office with copper desk

Co-living for boomers – or why the senior cohousing market is bound to boom

If co-living appeals to Generation Y, why wouldn't it appeal to senior citizens who grant just as much importance to a sociable lifestyle as millennials do?

The success of co-living is built on gradients of publicness. From private, through semi-private and semi-public, all the way to public, co-living complexes strike a balance between individual and communal spaces.

It comes as no surprise that this community-driven concept appeals to millennials who seek a more sociable lifestyle. But co-living complexes like WeLive or The Collective aren't just for Generation Y –  they could also be fit for the baby boomers, according to architect and Architizer co-founder Matthias Hollwich.

I believe we have to start a whole new attitude to how we treat society in relationship to ageing

The World Health Organisation estimates that by 2050 and for the first time in history, the number of people aged 65 and over will outnumber children aged five and under. So why are we not catering to a generation with interests, much like those of millennials, that revolve around a genuine sense of community, experiences and safety?

Communal dining at WeLive New Yok
WeLive communal dining in New York. Photo by Lauren Kallen/WeWork

Cohousing for older people is now a well-established concept in its countries of origin, i.e. Denmark and The Netherlands, where the seemingly contradictory ‘Living together on one’s own’ maxim of the Dutch National Association of Housing Communities for Elderly People (LVGO) seems to capture the essence of co-living perfectly.

Usually purpose-built, cohousing complexes consist of private homes with shared facilities and according to the UK Cohousing Network, there are 200 senior cohousing schemes in the Netherlands alone.

Coliving residence for the elderly
BOOM Costa del Sol: retirement community featuring 115 boutique homes

The cohousing phenomenon is now spreading across the rest of Europe, with developments such as BOOM Costa del Sol sitting on a dramatic hillside 45km outside of Malaga, Spain.

BOOM is a retirement community that features 72 homes, 24 lofts, and 38 apartments, each designed by a different world renowned architect. The pedestrian-friendly masterplan is the brainchild of BOOM design coordinator Matthias Hollwich of HWKN and was co-developed by Seram Estates, S.L.

Cohousing community in the UK
UK's first over 50s co-living complex in High Barnet, North London

The first one to successfully import the 'cohousing for the elderly' model to the UK is Pollard Thomas Edwards who recently completed the UK's first over 50s coliving development. Older Women's Co-Housing (OWCH) is a women-only complex that offers its residents the chance to live independently while still living in a shared community.

The scheme is mostly owner-occupied although one third consists of social housing. The women share a common house with a meeting room, kitchen and dining areas, and every flat has access to the shared garden and craft shed, to be maintained by residents themselves.

WeLive in New York
Apartment in WeLive, 110 Wall Street, New York

The growing number of senior cohousing developments is nothing but proof that the older generation displays the same youthful enthusiasm for community that millennials do.

Boomers do not want to grow old in the same ageing institutions their parents did. They want innovation and perhaps it is time developers tapped into the senior cohousing market, bound to boom in the near future.

Art works: spotlight on Deustche Bank’s corporate art collection

With nearly 60,000 artworks spread across 40 countries and 900 offices, Deutsche Bank's Art Works is the biggest collection of corporate art in the world.

The German investment bank's global art program was launched in the late 1970s and has since become an integral part of Deutsche Bank's values.

The bank's 'Art Works' collection includes works on paper, photographs, canvases, sculptures and video installations displayed in several bank offices. In addition, Deutsche Bank also enables access to contemporary art in five permanent exhibition spaces in Frankfurt, London, New York, Tokyo and Milan, each with its own philosophy.

But what is the driving force behind this artistic enterprise? Why are Deutsche Bank and other industry titans like J.P. Morgan or UBS (according to a 2016 Forbes magazine article, the UBS art collection amounts to 35,000 works) putting such an emphasis on corporate art?

Cashflow installation in Deutsche Bank
Cashflow by Olaf Metzel, Deutsche Bank Collection in Frankfurt. Image courtesy of Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank said it: Art works. Art fosters innovation. Art is an intellectual asset which has a positive influence on employees. Art sparks conversations and promotes critical thinking. Art helps support local and emerging artists.

When located in high-traffic common areas like lift lobbies and reception areas, art can also convey a message and give businesses a competitive advantage. It can impress customers and boost sales all the while bringing something new to the table.

Deutsche Bank even has an interactive app which gives employees more information about the works they are looking as well as an “Arthothek”, a place where people can seek expert advice on choosing artwork for the workplace. The bank also hosts talks by artists and curates an online contemporary art magazine, ArtMag.

floral wallpaper inside Deutsche Bank in Taipei
Michael Lin, Untitled, 2010. Deutsche Bank Collection. © Michael Lin/Eslite Gallery, Taipei 2010

To further support the art economy and promote contemporary artists, Deutsche Bank also elects an "Artist of the Year". The award is given on the recommendation of the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council which consists of renowned curators Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn.

This year, South African artist Kemang Wa Lehulere is Deutsche Bank's new "Artist of the Year" 2017. He will present his first institutional solo exhibition in Germany at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin in spring 2017.

Kemang Wa Lehulere Artist of the year 2017
Kemang Wa Lehulere, Deutsche Bank 

Aside from its aesthetic appeal, corporate art makes sounds business sense too. To quote Alex Heath, managing director at International Art Consultants:

“A momentary distraction is definitely not a bad thing in the workplace. Art has historically always been about escape, and we all need is an escape sometimes.”

12 harmonics in deutsche bank reception
12 Harmonics by Keith Tyson in Deutsche Bank London. Photograph: Deutsche Bank
conceptual art at work
The Gates, Project for Central Park, NYC, 2003 by Christo. All works Deutsche Bank Collection.
Collection of artwork inside Deutsche Bank
Shirakami #1, #3, #5, #7, 2008 by Tokihiro Sato. All works Deutsche Bank Collection
Deutsche Bank London reception art by Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst
Art by Anish Kapoor and Damien Hirst in Deutsche Bank London's reception area. Deutsche Bank

Coloured concrete in public spaces: a tale of warmth and character

Coloured concrete exudes warmth and character, both essential qualities to consider when designing public spaces.

 

Dick-bruna-house-utrecht
Dick Bruna House, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Photo by Douglas Johnston

Concrete doesn't always imply gray and cold. It can in fact take on a wide range of chromatic, textural and emotional complexions that elevate the aesthetic qualities of a building. From pastel hues to vibrant tones, we take a look at several public buildings that have used coloured concrete to brighten up the space.

Coloured concrete offers the same durable characteristics associated with normal concrete but with the added vibrancy and character of colour. It is a great way to make a statement, whether it be inside or out, and can be used to highlight the monolithic character of a building or draw attention to a striking office reception.

From accent walls to floor treatment, dyed concrete is sure to make a great impression. But how exactly does it work?

internationa-centre-accommodation-photo-fernando-guerra.jpg
International accommodation centre for the oceanological observatory in Banyuls-sur-Mer, France. By Atelier Fernandez & Serres 

Perhaps the most subtle way to colour concrete is to blend various aggregates into it - natural stones like bazalt or lava, glass, broken brick or slag can all be used as aggregates.

Another way to dye concrete is through glazing. Coloured glazing lends concrete a transparent hue and, depending on the level of dilution, colours can become particularly intense. Unlike aggregates, the glaze remains on the surface layer and even though it has to be renewed after some time, it still acts as a protective barrier from the elements.

If you want colour throughout the full depth of the concrete, not just on the surface, you need to add a pigment. The most common hues, as conveyed in our selection, are red and ochre tones, but violet, brown, black and green are all possible, albeit more expensive due to the nature of the pigments needed.

nursery_school_treviso-inside-out-colours.jpg
Covolo di Pederobba Nursery School Building, Treviso, Italy. By C+S ASSOCIATI

Architects use coloured concrete to express metaphorical concepts or convey certain emotions through colour and rich textures. This is why we think dyed concrete would also be a great strategic tool in commercial real estate where first impressions need to be curated.

Take a look at our selection and imagine... Where in your office could you use coloured concrete? What part of your office reception could be brought to life with colour? Let us know on Twitter.

coloured-concrete-yellow-accent-S-M.A.O-Picon-wine-cellars-Ciudad-Real
Wine-cellars in Picon, Ciudad Real. By S-M.A.O

bold-signage-on-concrete-wayfinding.jpg
MSCP — Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London. By BOB Design

coloured-concrete-lintel-bar-scotland
Coloured concrete lintel bar in Nando’s Sauchiehall Street, Scotland. By STAC Architecture

scroll-icecream-counter-one-design-office-coloured-concrete-design.jpg
Pigmented concrete bar for Scroll Ice Cream's flagship store in Melbourne shopping centre. By One Design Office and Studio Twocan

coloured-concrete-brazil-architects-photo-nelson-kon.jpg

coloured-concrete-bold-orange.jpg
Image Credit: Robert Orchardson, Endless façade, installation views, Courtesy of Contemporary Art Gallery. Photo: Scott Massey

10-Cal-Tower-The-Labyrinth -Photographer-Wison-Tungthunya .jpg
10 Cal Tower - The Labyrinth, a red concrete public installation in Bangasen, Thailand. By Supermachine studio. Photo by Wison Tungthunya

Northern Lighting: minimalist lamps for the common areas of your office

The lighting scheme you choose in the common areas of your office, be it the reception or the waiting room, can make a world of difference for your tenants.

scandinavian style floor lamp for the common areas of your office
Oslo Wood, designed by Ove Rogne. Photography: Chris Tonnesen

Lighting in commons areas can be flexible, adjustable, direct or indirect; it can be subtle just as much as it can be the centrepiece of a space. It all depends on the activities and needs you will be catering to.

Does your reception include a waiting area? Could you turn this into a micro-living room, complete with an inviting sofa and a striking floor lamp? Could your breakout space benefit from a well-lit reading nook or a set of informal meeting spaces?

Curating what goes into the common areas of your workspace can make a world of difference for your tenants. 

How do you decide on what lighting scheme to go for?

minimalist ceiling light
Above, the light you can look up to. Designed Morten & Jonas. Photograph: Chris Tonnesen

The key to curating an office reception, breakout area or even a lift lobby, is to have a leitmotif, an cohesive overarching theme that will tie everything together. In this article, our theme is minimalism – Scandinavian style.

As their name indicates, Northern Lighting products draw inspiration from the functional minimalism ingrained in Scandinavian design. Smart, elegant and easy on the eyes, Northern Lighting lamps bridge the gap between aesthetics and functionality and bring something new to every space they sit in.

From pendant lights, through floor lamps, to wall lights and even table lamps, they are designed to enhance the quality of ambient light. No harsh, neon lights to repel prospects off. Northern Lighting is all about soft, diffused lighting that creates a soothing yet striking environment, perfect for those who wish to make a statement from the onset.

Diva floor oak lamp
Diva, designed by Peter Natedal & Thomas Kalvatn Egset. Photograph: Colin Eick

Northern Lighting came to life in Oslo in 2005, and its products are crafted in collaboration with designers from all corners of the world. This diversity is well reflected in the range of forms and styles they offer yet somehow, every single design is guided by the same Scandinavian minimalism.

Whether you want to illuminate your reception area with elegance and style, uplift the dull corridors of your office or class up your breakout spaces, we believe Northern Lighting will help you achieve that minimalist high-end look.

We're definitely inspired. Are you?

Opening photo: Dokka, designed by Birger Dahl. Photograph: Colin Eick