8 Start-up Offices That You Need to See

In recent years, offices around the world have been bucking the trend of giving employees a traditional cubicle and creating more adventurous workspaces. And the start-ups have been following suit, taking advantage of the ‘new company, new office’ saying and transforming buildings into personalized spaces that mirror the tone of the brand.

Long gone are the days when companies such as HP and even Apple occupied their garage buildings.

Here are some of the weird and wonderful office spaces that start-ups now call home.

1. Etsy

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For a company known for offering a beautiful and eclectic selection of bits and bobs, the Etsy offices don’t disappoint. While each of the three offices has its own distinct style, they all manage to encapsulate the feel of Etsy. The New York office is also about muted tones, cosy sofas to sink into and giant vintage rugs, while Hudson’s premises is the epitome of urban industrial style, thanks to the worn wooden flooring, large open spaces and even an apothecary of natural remedies to keep employees in good health. However, the real star of the show is the Dumbo office, where bright colours reign supreme. Giant orange lamps create a warm glow, while the themed meeting rooms make you feel like you’ve been transported to another part of the world.

2. CouchSurfing

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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a giant treehouse? At CouchSurfing, they’ve realised this dream with their main headquarters in San Francisco. The company’s purpose is to encourage travel by connecting hosts with those in search of a place to sleep. This promotion of a sense of adventure can be seen in the HQ office design thanks to the ample greenery, swing seats and lounging areas. CouchSurfing’s main office actually allows members of the CS community into the office, to make use of the space and get to know the people behind the computers.

3. Pionen

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Housed within a former Cold War bunker is data centre Pionen. The centre is actually a high security data facility, though is probably best known as the once-home to WikiLeaks. The facility sits 100ft deep in the rocky White Mountains of Stockholm in Sweden, behind a 16-inch steel door. This sense of security is found throughout the facility, from the dual electricity supply and back-up generators to the video surveillance and secret cable paths. The James Bond villain-esque theme is completed by plenty of dry ice, a 2600-litre fish tank and atmospheric lighting (which is actually just growing lights for the plants). All it needs now is a fluffy white cat and the picture is complete.

4. Draugiem

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In Latvia, the most popular social networking site isn’t Facebook, it’s Latvian start-up Draugiem. Based in Riga, the building now houses numerous other start-ups from productivity software to fleet management, all of which are Latvian-specific. The office itself enjoys plenty of natural light thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which provide plenty of sunshine for the greenery that’s dotted throughout. Some of these plants even produce fruit. Office segways provide an alternative way to get around the office, while the rooftop astroturf and cosy chairs allow employees to relax in style with their lunch.

5. Dropbox

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‘Modern’ and ‘cool’ are the buzzwords when it comes to the Dropbox offices. Nowhere is this truer than the workspace in San Francisco. The HQ for this file hosting service was designed with rapid growth in mind. One of the architects behind the refurb comments “If cubicles are the suburbs then our approach to Dropbox HQ is downtown.” The pared back design is complemented by experimental art pieces – there’s a ping pong ball wall along one of the hallway walls and a grand piano and bespoke chandelier in one of the meeting rooms.

6. Basecamp

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Formerly known as 37signals, this web software company calls Chicago home. Previously an empty box (it was a photography studio), the designers decided to fill the space with box-like rooms. These personify Basecamp’s purpose; to sort through and organize all of your inboxes, notepads and websites. As well as the expected desk space, there’s also a miniature theatre, five ‘team rooms’ and a giant dining table attached to the kitchen. Soft wood and muted tones thoughout are enhanced by the ample natural light. Many of those who visit comment that the elegant simplicity of the office space is reminiscent of a modern hotel lobby.

7. Squarespace

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One of New York’s most prominent start-ups is Squarespace, and the office décor surely lives up to the hype. Deep within Soho, the workroom marries modernity with a monochrome colour palate, resulting in an office that practically oozes chicness. The thinking behind the spacious design was to make the engineers and designers creating customer’s websites not feel chained to their desks. There’s an abundance of locations for them to choose from including leather benches, giant pouffes (found next to the wipeboard wall), glass pods, and plush leather lounges. For a well-earned break, employees can hang out in the lobby or head up to the roof deck for excellent views of the New York skyline.

8. Quirky

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As you’d expect from a company called Quirky, the office space for this business is one of a kind. The MO of Quirky is to connect creators with investors. From the look of the office space in Manhattan, it appears the company has connected with a great designer! Exposed brick walls, visible ceiling beams and touches of concrete hint to the building’s past, while an abundance of glass makes the workplace seem open and yet enclosed all at the same time. For collaboration and hosting workshops, the Pit is an excellent space to utilize, while private pods can be used by staff looking for a moment of privacy and quiet on a call. Each meeting rooms has a theme, the upcycled tables matching functionality with intrigue.