Microsoft has recently moved into a new 4 floor, 68,000 square foot flexible office facility in Lisbon’s Park of the Nations. Designed by 3g Office, the office makes use of technology in an effort to increase mobility, productivity, and collaboration.
The new office houses 475 employees and abandons the traditional concept of assigned workstations and instead offers a diverse landscape of work areas: workstations, phone booths, collaborative tables, focus rooms, brainstorming think tanks, and a variety of meeting rooms of differing sizes.
Together, this array gives employees access to privacy and openness. The designers note some rationale behind the open space:
“Open workplaces encourage relations between employees. They are close to building fronts so as to ensure greater light flow and better illumination of the workspace. To encourage the spirit of collaboration, for tables we ran away from secretary type ones and looked for others with round, circular and oval shapes of different sizes.
This type of spaces eliminates the concept of territoriality. The only space that employees owned is a drawer of 0.10 m 3 size. This is a place where employee creativity is allowed to identify that “territory”.”
One innovative solution was used to achieve both transparency and privacy without adding more rooms:
“In the meeting rooms the choice made was to put glass “SmartGlass” which allow the user to choose the level of privacy he or she needs. With this type of glass we also ensure a maximum transparency between the spaces, what is in line with one of the key concepts of Microsoft philosophy: Life without walls.”
In addition to housing employee workspaces, the Lisbon office has a more client-facing space designed so Microsoft can promote its products and in a way that visitors can come and experience the space and Microsoft technology at the same time.
“The client areas are located in both the ground and third floors. We find a high diversity of spaces depending on needs of use, from a meeting to the organization of an event, with support spaces like a bar or the terraces in the three upper floors, so as to allow to enjoy the fantastic surroundings of the Park of the Nation and the river Tajo.”
The project also employed several non-traditional material choices in using locally sourced fabric and cork. The Burel fabric was used on several walls throughout which not only provides acoustic dampening qualities, but creates a memorable aesthetic to the rooms in which it was used. Cork was used as a flooring solution. The project also made use of Portuguese-designed lamps in both the front entry and larger meeting rooms.