Designing the perfect office space

TEXT: EVA MENGER | PHOTOS © TÉTRIS DESIGN & BUILD

How can an office building convey the identity of a brand without it being too obvious? That’s the question underpinning the work of Babette Bouman as head of design at Tétris Design & Build. “We’re constantly looking for ways of creating a sense of familiarity without it being vulgar. It’s about the way people feel when they enter the building, not about pompously waving the company flag. It’s a delicate balance, and that’s what makes it so incredibly interesting.”

Where clients are often focused on whether a building is big enough for their company, Bouman states that it’s much more important to look at the ‘how’. “It’s the way in which a company chooses to make use of their space that needs consideration. There’s functionality and then there’s identity; where the first mostly concerns practical details such as meeting rooms, the latter is where the brand experience comes in. Both are equally important.”

Babette Bouman, Tétris

Babette Bouman.

Bouman: “One of our most recent projects is the Coca-Cola headquarters in Rotterdam, as part of which we were asked to redevelop how employees use the office space. And that’s what makes this type of project so great. It’s not just about design, but rather, we actively take part in a company’s relocation plans. We significantly contribute to the way in which our clients move forward.”

The ever-changing office

Coca-Cola wanted their redeveloped Dutch headquarters to encourage mobilisation. “But,” Bouman explains, “when working with open-plan offices and hot desks, it’s absolutely key that there are plenty of quiet spots available, where those who need it can retreat themselves. Some work just needs to be done in silence – and nobody wants to have to ask their colleagues to keep it quiet. The perfect office is about flexibility, both in terms of functionality and culture.”

Bouman: “And that’s perhaps our biggest challenge. People don’t like change and are above all worried that they might not get what they need to deliver good work. But we’re here to show them that to stay future-proof, these types of transitions are necessary.”

Tétris Design & Build was founded in France in 2003, and now has offices across the world. The Dutch team is comprised of 35 talented designers, architects and project managers who all work closely together to ensure designs can move to construction straight after they’re developed.

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