Three offices, writing their own rules
These creatives reveal that the 9-to-5 environment is getting an entirely new look.
Thanks to the new normal, the workspace and the home space have had the boundary ripped from between them and a hybrid has arisen. Whether you’re braving the return to a formal office or trying to create your very own work hub at home, you’re sure to find some inspiration from these three local studios.
Neither as dull as the cubicle beneath a flickering fluorescent tube light (don’t forget the sea of grey carpet tiles), nor as wild as The Googleplex (so no slides or fireman poles connecting floors), each one of these small creative studios has established a work environment that’s stylish and productive and all in their own way.
Sophisticated: Curación Studio
It’s hard to believe this is an office; it could just as easily pass for a Parisian loft thanks to its classic architectural details and light-filled interior. In fact, it’s the Cape Town studio of Dylan Thomaz’ Curación Studio.
Celebrating architectural details, Dylan has used a predominantly black and white colour palette and paired it with clean lined geometry. He has then injected warmth with tactile materials like klompie brick floors, timber wall panelling (some of it original) and introduced vintage pieces such as the Eero Saarinen Tulip chairs and an old leather armchair.
While the heritage space isn’t at all formal, Dylan has divided the team work stations from the client meeting area with an arched drywall, a feature which he says adds a classic tone to the interior. We love that he’s done away with the clunky desk and drawer combo in favour of gorgeous round tables with a view onto the inner city.
“Curación studio is a modern-day workspace. It has workstations, meeting rooms, offices and sample rooms; I’ve just designed it in a way that makes it feel inspiring and true to my brand’s aesthetic,” he says.
What ingredients do you think make for a successful working environment?
Like-minded people in a beautiful space that is both tactile and inspiring.
Moody isn’t a word you’d typically associate with an office. Yet, as the shared workspace to an architecture studio and two brand agencies, this Joburg office throws the rule book out with its irreverent mix of artefacts, antiques and dramatic colouring. With each of the brands being fiercely design-minded, they all agreed that this was a space that should champion creativity.
With black ranking as his favourite colour, architect Pieter-Ernst Maré went to town with the colour, using it generously, which lends the space its moody feel and packs a punch. “To soften the starkness, we have lots of natural textures, leathers, woods, metals, glass and rustic décor pieces with artwork adding bold, graphic interest,” he explains.
The fusion of décor is not an element you’d typically find in an office: travel keepsakes, antiques and industrial pieces all lend this office a major dose of character.
How do you feel it goes against the grain of a typical office?
Firstly, from a business point of view, shared spaces make financial sense – we all share the costs of common areas. Most shared offices are huge and impersonal with generic furniture; they lack personality. We’re more of a boutique creative space, smaller and uniquely designed with beautiful eclectic art and furniture.
Plush: Studio 19
Studio 19’s new office in Kramerville has us yearning to be part of their team. Every bit the showcase of this interior design and product studio’s aesthetic, it’s lavish and sophisticated but manages to be warm and inviting through its broad use of textiles, light woods and a soft colour palette.
Because the space is a showroom for their wide range of products (theirs and those they stock) as well as a working studio with a gamut of samples and mood boards on the go, it had to be flexible. As such, they’ve designed it with a privacy pod, a double office and a communal table as well as a few other flexible spaces to answer the demand. A visit to view one of their chairs, for example, might mean that you get front row seats to some of the projects they have on the go, which is a wonderfully integrative brand experience.
Despite the space’s more challenging features, having overlooked it time and time again they were sold on the light… “in our book that is often all you need. With windows running along two sides of the space and a lightwell in the centre of the building, the space is flooded with light all day long,” says founder Mia Widlake.
What elements are we likely to find here that you wouldn’t find in a typical office?
The traditional convention of the office, its layout and basic function is changing, especially since the advent of working from home has become necessary. Ours is specifically set up to perform both the function of showroom and studio so it’s already different to the norm. With furniture pieces, lots of decorative lighting, plants and accessories that you normally would not find in an office. Fun teddy fabric and slightly more luxurious fabrics like wool and linen feature on the furniture.