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10 Most Creatively Themed Office Meeting Rooms
By Julian,
Business Pundit, 17 March 2015.

They’re often the places where ideas are born, big decisions are made and key deals are sealed, so why settle for white walls, one-size-fits-all furniture and a tired projector? The once humble meeting room should be a setting that inspires, excites and motivates - all effects achieved by the following ten spaces. Each of these marvellous meeting rooms boasts oodles of creativity and features a superbly executed aesthetic; in them, workers can sit around King Arthur’s Round Table, for example, or be watched over by the Queen of Hearts. And whether these rooms are inspired by a brand’s personality, a particular office’s location or simple nostalgia, one thing is made clear: an identikit meeting space just doesn’t cut the mustard by comparison.

10. Steampunk Boardroom, MultiCam - Langley, Canada

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When MultiCam Western Canada’s technology centre was uprooted to new premises in Langley, British Columbia, company president Sean Lawlor wanted a workspace that was as thoroughly up-to-date as the business’ high-tech offerings. As a result, the manufacturing cutting tools firm acquired the expertise of MultiCam client Dan Sawatzky and his Imagination Corporation - a well-known Canadian “themed environments” creator - in order to design its new facility. Shortly after the office’s opening in February 2011, Lawlor told The Langley Times that the aim was “to create a ‘wow’ factor,” and with its steampunk-like interior, this boardroom certainly does that. Lawlor went on to explain that, thanks to the office’s design, now customers “can see what our various machines can cut” and that “this gives them an idea of what our machines are capable of doing.”

9. The Padded Cell, Google - London, U.K.

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Office life can be crazy, but now there’s the perfect place to experience its madness at the U.K. headquarters of Google in London’s Covent Garden. The “Padded Cell” meeting room was developed by London-based architects PENSON as part of its eclectic overall design of the office in a project that was brought to fruition in 2012. With its green padding and cell-style door - complete with a circular airlock-type handle - the room offers security along with an added dash of stylistic panache. What’s more, quirky design elements abound across the rest of the workspace; think a “flower power”-themed boardroom and a retro-flavoured area that may bring to mind visits to grandma’s house. PENSON claims that the office as a whole is a “quintessentially British space.” Perhaps, then, the meeting room is a nod to London’s “Bedlam,” its infamous psychiatric hospital.

8. Circus Boardroom, Ogilvy & Mather - Guangzhou, China

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Global advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather moved its Guangzhou office from the city’s main business district to its outskirts in 2007. However, one concern was that current and future staff would be put off by the less convenient location. The solution was to ask international business interiors specialists M Moser Associates - which also has an office in the Chinese city - to create a “carnival of ideas” ideal for drawing and retaining creative talent. To this end, the fairground-like lower floor includes a boardroom with lavish wall panels and a carousel-style horse that additionally serves as an overhead projector. Annie Chan, an associate director at M Moser, has explained that while such features appear antique, they “were actually custom-made for this project.”

7. Super Mario Bros. Meeting Room, Coolblue - Rotterdam, the Netherlands

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Several hundred employees of consumer electronics retailer Coolblue helped devise unusual themes for 18 rooms at the company’s Rotterdam headquarters, which opened in 2012. No doubt inspired by ’80s Nintendo nostalgia, a super-cool Super Mario Bros.-styled meeting space was one of the areas brought to life with the assistance of freelance designer Daniel Apituley, among others. Green warp-pipe chairs and a control pad-like white table complement the black-and-white chequered floor, while the walls resemble scenes from the classic platform game. Indeed, one end wall recreates the game’s opening screen, complete with retro Super Mario Bros. font.

6. Queen of Hearts Boardroom, Office Space in Town @Waterloo - London, U.K.

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Office Space in Town’s managing director, Giles Fuchs, told London-based Peldon Rose “to take their blinkers off” when designing its @Waterloo serviced office interiors. The company wanted “quirky and interesting” premises in London to appeal to the increasing number of start-ups in the region; so the workplace consultants responded by giving the entire space an Alice in Wonderland theme - including a magnificent Queen of Hearts boardroom. The queen herself looks over proceedings from the ceiling, her red and white tones echoed in both the floor and the furniture. In an additional playful touch, shelving units along one wall have been decorated to resemble stacks of cards. Fuchs has said of Peldon Rose’s work on the space, “They’ve not only hit the ball in the back of the net, but they’ve created what is arguably the best serviced office in the world.”

5. Honeycomb Conference Room, Disney Store Headquarters - Pasadena, California

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To convert a building on Pasadena’s former Royal Laundry site into its corporate headquarters, Disney Store enlisted the services of Culver City-based Clive Wilkinson Architects and “workplace strategists” DEGW - now known as Strategy Plus and part of AECOM. The resulting innovative office was completed in 2007 and features a bee-autiful conference room that sits within the atrium space. The area’s modular honeycomb “walls” are in fact plastic blocks arranged to allow for a certain amount of privacy within a busy workplace, all the while bathing the spot’s occupants in a warm, yellow-tinged light. It’s worth noting, however, that the honeycombs were originally intended as an adaptable way of displaying potential new Disney products. Furthermore, the system was so successful that it was subsequently licensed to become a commercial product.

4. Spaceship Conference Room, 2o - Timişoara, Romania

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For a conference room that’s out of this world, look no further than Romanian games developer 2o’s Timişoara workplace. Local interiors outfit Ezzo Design was asked to create a spaceship-themed office with a touch of “invading” greenery. The result, realized in 2013, was a Star Trek-esque interior with a dramatic blue-and-white colour scheme. Key to the project’s intergalactic motif is the metallic-floored conference room with its space-age airlock-style door and leafy green plants growing - perhaps ever so slightly ominously - at the edges of the room. Ezzo Design manager Valentin Popescu wished 2o’s employees to be able to “feel free to enjoy and relax” in the space - with another motive possibly being the hope that it sparks further creativity among staff.

3. Camelot Conference Room, Animoto - New York City, New York

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Animoto’s New York City workplace is, according to former office manager Katie Mulligan, “like one big, collaborative art project.” Perhaps this is best showcased in the NoHo-based online video maker’s Camelot-styled medieval conference room - complete with a large banqueting table, candle-like torches and a faux-stone wall that perfectly frames business presentations. True to Animoto’s spirit of collaboration, the company’s employees developed the fit-for-King-Arthur space, and Mulligan, who has a background in set design, even persuaded the team to make it happen with minimal professional help. Moreover, other spaces in the office feature similarly creative themes, which prompted Business Insider to say that the firm has possibly “the coolest meeting rooms” that it has ever seen.

2. Hunting Lodge Meeting Room, Microsoft - Vienna, Austria

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When Microsoft decided upon a new Austrian headquarters in Vienna, a competition was run to find the most suitably creative architecture firm for the job. Graz-based INNOCAD Architektur was deemed just that, with its themed designs no doubt impressing the Microsoft judges. The resulting office was realized in 2011, and this hunting lodge-style meeting room is up there with the workspace’s most striking areas. This timber-bedecked part of the building has an animal-skin rug and a vintage-style leather chair as well as the requisite conference table and accompanying seating. Far removed from the cold, sterile character of many meeting spaces, the atmosphere in here is snug and comfortable - perfectly suited, perhaps, to longer late-in-the-day meetings.

1. Inventalot Castle, Davison Inventionland - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Inventionland, Davison Design & Development’s ingeniously creative complex, is as far removed from the traditional office as can be imagined. The Pittsburgh warehouse looks fairly unremarkable from the outside, but its interior invites employees - dubbed “Creationeers” - to work in and around pirate ship-, speedway track- and treehouse-like spaces so as to hopefully inspire the development of that next must-have invention. One particularly outstanding feature is the “Inventalot Castle;” this fun fortress is, naturally, accessed via the “Inventalot Bridge,” and it also features high-backed chairs, a Round Table, Inventionland’s own bespoke coat of arms, two large white turrets and a faux moat. Built by Davison itself, the entire workspace was completed in 2006. Six years later, Inventionland was the focus of an eponymous reality TV program aired on the History Channel.

Top image: Inventalot Castle. Credit: Inventionland.

[Source: Business Pundit. Edited. Some links added.]

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