The Microsoft Head Office in Sweden is situated in Kista, a high technology business district in Stockholm. Murman Architects were assigned to create workplaces according to Microsoft´s “New world of work”, an activity based work philosophy. The office is now filled with spaces for concentration, creativity, cooperation and social spaces instead of a vast deserted landscape of an open-plan office.
As we were commissioned to work with the new office both as architects and interior architects, our method was to find a theme to guide us through the process of creating an inspiring, well organized and at the same time playful workplace.
The concept of “The City”, with its diversity and structure, derived from the graphic profile of Microsoft called “Metro”. A “city plan” as a way of organizing space into an intelligible structure brings possibilities for informal conversations and interaction, as well as formal meetings. Workstations for groups and places for concentration are easy to reach. From this idea of “The City”, we’ve found inspiration from places and buildings that carry a special feeling or identity. We have transformed and interpreted these different identities to give the interior design a strong character. The colour palette is inspired by Microsoft´s own graphic profile.
Our goal has been to create a human environment, giving openings for individual choices to be where you are at your best. Giving the new office of Microsoft a self-evident expression with high standards, regarding quality of furniture, interior design and craftsmanship, will evoke people to use and enjoy spaces.
When entering this office, visitors, clients and guests will be given an opportunity to take part of the vision of Microsoft, on what work really is. The entire floor is a showcase for the activity based work or, as Microsoft puts it, “A New World of Work”. Technology is integrated everywhere and is an obvious part of how space is designed and experienced. Play, recreation, rest and work; everything is gathered side by side. You will get a feeling for possibilities that are offered by technology. At the ground floor guests will have a chance to test, and co-workers will get the opportunity to show!
All floors above ground floor are organized by the same principle. In the core there are places for meetings, generous and open, with sofas as well as large desks where you can sit side by side and work. Further away from this central space, there are calm spaces for concentrated work. Rooms of different sizes and furniture with different functions and characters are available throughout the entire floor.
The total area has decreased from 11,600 m² to 8,500 m². Surfaces used for meetings, creativity and conversations have increased from 18% to 34%. Only 50 % of traditional work desks are needed. A large number of rooms for telephone calls, meetings and informal social places support the new way of work.
Design concept, way of work, graphic profile as well as all the engaged employees inhabiting this creative space, will express and strengthen the same brand. It´s elegant, modern and expressive, not just any office.
The Microsoft Head Office in Sweden was awarded “Most Well Designed Office of Sweden” - or in Swedish; “Sveriges snyggaste kontor” (2013).