If you’re reading this at work, it’s best you take a deep breath and maybe go for a walk. Otherwise, life might become temporarily frustrating. We present to you the coolest workplaces on Earth. (Seriously, you should probably leave your cubicle right now and find a place where you can shed a tear.)
Chill factor: Firewood walls to start
Industry: Design studio
Location: Portland, Oregon
Design studios, on the greater whole, are usually pretty cool. They’re design studios for chrissakes. Parliament, a cutting edge design agency with clients like Microsoft and Gatorade, has taken the design studio thing to the next level. With wood being the main motif, they have walls constructed of firewood (it looks like a giant stack of wood—as the wall), and all the floors, chairs and desks are also wood with a little bit of varnish. The look? Like if a lumberjack decided to hang up the axe and open a creative agency in the centre of a urban core. (Did we mention there’s also an authentic bear rug? Because there’s that, too.)
Chill factor: Steve Jobs’ brainchild
Location: Emeryville, California
According to Steve Jobs’ biography, the concept behind Pixar Headquarters was a place that “promoted encounters and unplanned collaborations.” He also wanted a building that would stand the test of time. Well, he nailed it. Again. The open space concept super-lab has it all: real-life sized characters from its movies dot the campus, mini cabins that are office spaces for executives, a huge 20-acre landscaped green space and lots and lots of casual meeting spaces, you know, for that unplanned collaboration, for say, the next big animated movie.
Red Bull London
Chill factor: 3-storey video wall, “floating” staircase and slide
Industry: Energy drinks, action sports
Location: London, England
So it turns out that like Google, all of Red Bull’s office spaces are drool-worthy. And the new slick Red Bull digs in London takes the cake. From their translucent pod rooms to the carbon fibre slide to ping pong meeting rooms, to their “floating” staircase that is suspended, the adrenaline from just walking around this adult playground would be sufficient without the gratis energy drinks. But we will take one anyway.
Chill factor: Redo on Mid-Market historic building
Industry: Social media
Location: San Francisco, California
Twitter quickly outgrew its original pad in San Francisco. And instead of building a state-of-the-art, brand-spanking-new complex, they instead took to revitalizing San Fran’s Market Square, which has seen better days. But the new location is a historic Art Deco building, originally built in the 1930s, equipped with a rooftop patio with a office garden, a yoga room and a cafeteria cleverly dubbed the “birdfeeder.” (Also of note, Twitter just came to Canada and has started hiring, you know, if you’re looking for a new job.)
Chill factor: Modern, colourful, interconnected
Industry: Video conferencing
Location: Stockholm, Sweden
Think of high-end IKEA showcase room and then apply it to a fast-growing, hip company in native Sweden, and then add a splash of tech that would make any nerd hyperventilate. Voila—you have the office space of Skype in Sweden. With each room a different colour explosion and take on modern design with its use of “connectivity” throughout, this office space makes you feel like you’re at first in the distant future and then instantly comfortable. Now that’s good branding, both internally and externally.
Chill factor: 3-storey slide and 5-storey green living wall
Industry: Entertainment and media
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Not all of the world’s cool office spaces are located outside of the Great North. Corus Entertainment’s Corus Quay, located on Toronto’s harbourfront is quite the beacon of cool. This LEED-certified, 8-storey building boasts a green roof, public art installations, a urban sand beach, and a Google-inspired corkscrew 3-storey slide. Plus, as Corus is home to many radio shows, including the Edge 102.1, there are typically free outdoor concerts with bands like City and Colour and Mumford & Sons. A nice bonus.
Chill factor: Nerd heaven
Industry: Social media
Location: Palo Alto, California
The whole office used to be a boring, bland building for a software company. The idea was to completely gut the building and let the team customize it, as you would a Facebook profile page. Case in point: a crane that was in the building was deconstructed and recycled to be a conference table. They have a DJ table set up for a lunch playlist, graffiti and art lines all the walls which the employees are encouraged to participate in adding to, they have a pizza window and burrito bar, and treadmill workstations to stay active while programming. A nice place to update your status in, naturally.
Chill factor: Skatebowl above the production office
Location: Milan, Italy
Does your office have a skatepark above your desk? Yeah, you too? Cool. Skateboard and snowboard clothing company, Bastard converted a 1940s theatre into a workspace where a backside tailslide is just part of the job. They also kept the original marble floors and curved staircases—just added a flare of graffiti from local artists. Anyone up for moving to Milan?
Selgas Cano Architecture
Chill factor: Glass tube in the woods
Location: Madrid, Spain
Instead of pining to head to the cottage as soon as Friday afternoon rolls around, how about working in the woods, only surrounded by a translucent glass tube? Something akin to a modern day cave, this architecture firm is sure to inspire its employees to continue to push the envelope of cool design. That, or all they do is nap all day long in the woods, confusing work and cottage time.
Chill factor: It’s Google
Industry: Search engine and innovation
Location: Tel Aviv, Israel
Words can’t do this one justice. Google is known for its cool offices worldwide. Each one of them is creative, innovative and just damn awesome. The most recent office opened in Tel Aviv boasts 86,000 sq. feet of awesome. Ok, let’s see what we can list off: a surfboard room, a loft-inspired room, a farm-inspired room with a tractor, a full floor for an innovation campus for entrepreneurs designed by Israel’s Prime Minister, three different restaurants (including kosher, of course), a slide or two… OK, I’m just going to stop.