Five of the world's coolest offices

Nic Crowther
Wed 30 Aug

If you spend the days working on a plain Formica desk with a clunky PC running Windows 7, you might want to look away.

For some of the world’s most innovative and progressive companies, an office space is as crucial as the products and services they provide. Here are five of the best, as well as some love/hate responses from architectural experts.




Company: Facebook
Industry: Social Media
Location: California
Architect: Frank Gehry
Completed: 2015



What the proponents said: "We want our space to feel like a work in progress. When you enter our buildings, we want you to feel how much left there is to be done in our mission to connect the world."
   – Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO



What the critics said: “Unlike Apple and Google, Facebook has managed to have it both ways. It has maintained Silicon Valley's quick-and-dirty aesthetic, its sneaker-wearing and ramen-eating ethos, while also signing up one of the most famous architects in the world.”
   – Christopher Hawthorne, LA Times




Company: Dropbox
Industry: Cloud Computing
Location: Sydney
Architect: Gensler
Completed: 2017



What the proponents said: “The space’s clean sightlines, thoughtful mix of furniture and finishes, and abundant use of plants coalesce to create a truly homey yet functional ambiance.”
   - Gensler



What the critics said: “Designed in homage to the Australian home by architecture, design, planning and consulting firm Gensler, the office cleverly mimics the layout of the average (albeit amazing) local abode.”
   - Bridget de Maine, Collective Hub




Company: Weiden + Kennedy
Industry: Marketing
Location: Shanghai
Architect: Dariel Studio
Completed: 2016



What the proponents said: “Inspired by the scenography of branches growing out of a tree trunk, the horizontal and vertical split joint boards connect, cross, and naturally extend to different floors, composing the key visual of the office building.”
   - Dariel Studio



What the critics said: “The designers have transformed the massive space from the earlier version with foosball tables and lounging areas to a classy, open space that takes its main design cues from the idea of a tree.
   - Coolhunter




Company: SelgasCano
Industry: Architecture
Location: Madrid
Architect: SelgasCano
Completed: 2009



What the proponents said: “What is intended with this study is very simple: to work under the trees.”
   - SelgasCano



What the critics said: “Fallen leaves from the trees above form a secondary patterned canopy of sorts, sitting on top of the curved acrylic roof and casting dappled, seasonal shade over the office.”
   - ArchitectureAU




Company: Apple
Industry: Technology
Location: Cupertino
Architect: Foster & Partners
Completed: 2017 (est)



What the proponents said: “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.”
   - Tim Cook, Apple CEO



What the critics said: “…no one could possibly question the elegance of its design and architecture… (however) Apple’s new HQ is a retrograde, literally inward-looking building with contempt for the city where it lives and cities in general.”
​   - Adam Rodgers, Wired