The advent of new technologies has changed the way we work, changing the way our offices are designed, allowing us to telecommute to our regular jobs, become part of co-working communities, or become location-independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads.
But all that doesn’t happen without the technology, and one of them is Slack, a cloud-based suite of collaboration tools and services that allows people in different locations to communicate and work on different projects. For Slack’s Vancouver offices, Leckie Studio repurposed an industrial warehouse into the company’s new digs, incorporating the company’s core social values of humane thinking and empathy, in order to reflect its mission to revolutionize corporate communications.
To do this, the design re-imagines the shared working spaces as a kind of “physical laboratory”: open, flexible and reconfigurable in nature. There are no private offices, and the conventional enclosed meeting rooms have been replaced with “mobile meeting boxes” instead — these are rooms-on-wheels that can be conveniently moved around to create informal meeting spots on a as-needed basis.
Nevertheless, there are some private spaces built in: cubby-like Skype booths where one can have a private phone or video call, but they are open to everyone.
The original industrial character of the building has been retained as much as possible, with the interior mixing a material palette of existing exposed brick and timber beams with locally-made steel, plywood and cork. The design’s primarily open floor plan spans over three levels, and is connected by various elements such as this massive moss-covered volume, which stretches up alongside a skylight and fungi-shaped lamps, effusing light into the space, and a reference to the local climate, says the studio:
Representations of nature are placed throughout the space as reference to the larger context of the city of Vancouver and the local Pacific Northwest climate. [..] The intention was to use a Japanese wabi-sabi [art of imperfection] approach to complement the building’s industrial character.
In addition to informal work spaces and meeting rooms, there are a variety of gathering spaces for a whole range of social activities: a common terrace for meetings and presentations; a kitchen for meals, morning caffeination or end-of-the-day cocktails; an open dining area and an lounge/media room.
Pairing old with the new in a harmonious and respectful way, Leckie Studio’s open-ended scheme for Slack represents a new and exciting kind of workspace that’s emerging, where flexibility is key in stimulating the flow of collaboration and innovation. To see more, visit Leckie Studio.