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An office created for hybrid work. Interiors designed by Stellar Studio

27 of July '23
w skrócie
  1. VMLY&R's office was built in Krakow's Zabłocie district.
  2. The author of the arrangement design is Anna Jurasz of Stellar Studio.
  3. The office was created during the pandemic, so by design it was adapted to the hybrid work model.
  4. One of the walls is decorated with a mural by Mikołaj Rejs, a Cracow-based street art artist.

  5. For more interesting information, visit the home page of the A&B portal.

The office of an international advertising agency was designed for today's popular hybrid work model, which combines the pluses of performing professional duties from home and a vibrant office. In the case of the VMLY&R agency, the key factors were the choice of location for the company's new headquarters, the involvement of the team to co-create the arrangement and the introduction of a few creative twists. Anna Jurasz of Krakow-based studio Stellar Studio is responsible for the project.

ściana dekorowana klawiaturami

wall decorated with keyboards

Photo: Michał Lichtański

Ola Kloc: The interiors of the office were meant to encourage employees to return to work at the company's headquarters  with what procedures did you try to convince them to give up the convenience of home office?

Anna Jurasz: I participated in the project already at the stage of selecting the location. The decision to relocate VMLY&R's offices coincided with the outbreak of the pandemic, which significantly influenced both the decision on the location and square footage of the offices and, most importantly, the design assumptions of the arrangement.

By design, the new office was intended to accommodate hybrid work for employees — that is, combining remote work with office work, allowing for better communication and cooperation despite the social distance. The pandemic accustomed the company to more online communication and more flexibility — the situation forced companies to adapt to changing conditions, which meant more flexibility in terms of time and place of work.

pracownicy firmy wybierając kolory przewodnie wnętrza, postawili na zieleń i róż        siedziska tapicerowane są tkaniną o dużej wytrzymałości na zabrudzenia

open office space

Photo: Michał Lichtański

It was also very important for the client to involve employees in the process of arranging their office space. After consultations, conducted through a survey with future office users, the choice of the leading color was green, a color that is closest to nature, calming and soothing. The second proposed color, which gathered the most votes in the survey, was pink, which is associated with joy and optimism. So it was used on the walls and ceiling of one of the conference rooms, furniture in the open space and accessories, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Ola: How did the pandemic affect this project?

Anna: When embarking on the new Krakow headquarters project, the company had been operating in a completely new pandemic reality for a year, and — despite the many apparent benefits to the organization of working remotely, such as temporary reductions in office space rental costs and business travel, and better efficiency of rested, unforced to time-consuming commutes — employees also began to see disadvantages, stemming from the lack of a suitable place where some employees would be willing to meet to form live relationships, creating a bond that would later be helpful for teamwork. This was a key influence on the choice of location — Krakow's bustling Zabłocie district is full of cafés, restaurants and bars, as well as sports spaces and other services, with convenient access both by car and by streetcar and commuter rail. As a result, employees would love to visit the office during the week — being able to spend time comfortably in the area afterwards.

odkryte sufity pomalowano w kolorze złamanej bieli        wydzielona przeszkleniem kuchnia

Co-working space and glass-separated kitchen

Photo: Michał Lichtański

After consultations, it was agreed that the new office was to consist mostly of several soundproofed conference rooms equipped with state-of-the-art communication technologies, as well as an open space used for both work and relaxation, minimizing the square footage of standard office workstations, considered unnecessary in the changed realities as much as before.

Ola: You mentioned that the interior was arranged in an office building in the post-factory district of Zabłocie in Krakow how did this environment influence the design of the office spaces?

Anna: Due to the post-industrial atmosphere of the district, the space in the modern office building that the investor decided on was initially finished in loft style. The space is dominated by bright and fresh colors, which promote concentration and creativity. Industrial concrete exposed ceilings with visible installations were curbed with spray-painting in broken white, as well as through the use of warm-feeling beige materials on the floor coverings. In such a composed, cozy and neutral base, I planned strong strokes of juicy colors in the glazed conference rooms.

sala Arbuzowa

Watermelon room

Photo: Michał Lichtański

Ola: From the entrance, the eye is drawn to a counter covered with copper sheeting what is the reason for such a choice of material?

Anna: The pandemic has triggered an increased awareness of safety and hygiene, which has caused companies to comply with new regulations and standards for disinfection and social distancing. In design terms, this has forced the use of materials that can be easily cleaned and disinfected.

od wejścia do biura wzrok przeciąga lada pokryta miedzianą blachą

From the entrance to the office, the eye is drawn to a counter covered with copper sheeting

Photo: Michał Lichtański

Inspired by the new realities, I proposed a counter covered with copper sheet in the reception area, which has antiseptic properties — pure copper and its alloys have natural properties to kill microorganisms. A pathogen settling on the surface of the metal or alloy — bacteria, virus, fungus — is simply inactivated. In the conference rooms, we have Pedrali brand chairs and tables made of polypropylene — a durable material that is easy to maintain and disinfect. The chairs in the large conference room and the modular sofas in the open space, personalized in color especially for this project, are upholstered in a stain-resistant fabric suitable for this type of commercial use.

Ola: The interior is full of creative solutions one wall is decorated with a mural, another with a graphic inspired by a telephone game, there are also hanging keyboards or CDs. Where did you get the idea for such a selection of designs and decorations?

Anna: It was also important for VMLY&R to emphasize the individuality of the Krakow location, to add in an element that distinguishes it from the many other branches scattered around the world. As befits a creative advertising agency, winner of many industry awards, it was decided to approach the subject in an unusual way — for the mural project we engaged a popular Krakow street art artist Mikolaj Rejs, who draws his inspiration from Slavic mythology, characteristic of our region, and usually creates his works in post-industrial spaces. The striking mural dominates the office's common space and metaphorically presents the ideas of inclusivity, equality and cooperation among VMLY&R employees, which are close to the agency, in the artist's distinctive, fairy-tale style.

mural autorstwa Mikołaja Rejsa        sala Szmaragdowa

The mural by Mikolaj Rejs and the Emerald Room

Photo: Michał Lichtański

Another element of the employees' involvement in the office decor was their design of a decorative wallpaper for the large conference room. The graphic, which is the main decoration of the room, refers to the cult game "Snake," with the agency's logos thoughtfully incorporated.

grafika będąca główną dekoracją sali konferencyjnej nawiązuje do kultowej gry „Snake” z wkomponowanymi logotypami agencji

The graphic, which is the main decoration of the conference room, refers to the cult game "Snake", with the agency's logos incorporated

Photo: Michał Lichtański

The Krakow branch of the agency is mostly programmers and UX/UI designers, so in the small rooms, together with the employees, we proposed motifs associated with programming — code fragments made of NoEcho brand acoustic felt material, and, as a joke, authentic keyboards and CDs. Coziness is added by the fleshy fabric curtains used in the rooms, which add privacy in the glazed spaces.

ściana dekorowana płytami CD

a wall decorated with CDs

Photo: Michał Lichtański

Ola: Thank you for the interview.

Ola Kloc

The vote has already been cast