At the beginning, the intent was to create practical and modern space, following the style of the previous office of the company. But as the project grew, it turned into an ambitious collaboration of tech, art and business.
From a practical point of view, we needed to separate the flows of people throughout the building to avoid heads bumping in the café and open spaces.
Creating a workplace for a customer support center, where people spend a lot of time on the phone, we paid special attention to ventilation, air conditioning and establishing the partitions to neutralize echoes. Zoning was important to avoid possible disruption of communication with customers. We allocated meeting and video conferencing rooms in a way to avoid noise interferences.
Our initial concepts didn’t provide for so much art indoors. We planned to make the space juicy and interesting as a background to work with the mood. Only two dominant parts of the office were supposed to have wall paintings: palm tree leaves and the reproductions of Roy Lichtenstein’s works were the first to appear.
Meanwhile, Peter, partner and co-founder of the company, had been negotiating with Vladimir Manzhos (modern Ukrainian artist best known for his murals) about the possibility to have a couple of walls painted by the latter. That’s when the idea to attract more talented artists and use our walls as their canvases came up.
We wanted to create the first office-gallery with unique paintings and rooms that would suit each artist’s style. The design had to adapt to the murals, not vice versa. The design had not to draw attention to itself, but to complement and harmonize the space. At the same time, it should have provided a feeling of comfort and coziness.
It was important not to overdo the space with art to avoid psycho-emotional overload from the number of plots. First, it was a workplace for the team. If we surround people with fantasy creatures and incredible stories, they will fly away to those worlds and will not be able to focus on their tasks. So we were choosing spaces for murals painstakingly but didn’t limit the artists in their work. Everyone was given absolute freedom of creativity. Artists would send us sketches, so we could understand what had to be redone or completed in the room. Sometimes we would change the color of the walls or add elements, e.g. pink moss under the mural by the We Bad team.
The light was also an important part of the design. We had to calculate the intensity of light for work zones but also provide spots on the walls so the murals would not go into shade after the sunset.
The office café became a cherry on top of the project. The task was to make it look not like a regular corporate kitchen, but a place where the team would come to distract and reboot. Customer support jobs require a lot of emotional labor so the team needed a space to recharge. We wanted to recreate a real café atmosphere with a coffee aroma, warm wood textures and chill background music. I think we completed the mission successfully since the team was very happy about how it turned out. After their positive feedback, we decided to apply the same concept of the kitchen in our next office.
Photography: Eugene Deshko