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10 October 2012

YouTube's new London office - crazy or inspired?


Hot on the heels of our recent blog on the new Google offices in London, we turn our attention to YouTube's floor within the St. Giles Court development in Covent Garden.

As you might expect, the interior theme is a continuation of Penson's design for Google, with their trademark airlock doors, Union Jacks on the walls and an 'anything goes' attitude to design. This time however there's a difference - at first glance you might think YouTube have moved in before the space is finished. Timber studwork is left unclad to one side, revealing the raw chipboard rear face of the finished walls beyond and there are painted tramlines on the floor denoting safe circulation routes. 

This all intended to give the occupants a feeling of being backstage on a film set, a nod to YouTube's role in providing a platform for video sharing. The unfinished look must have made the snagging list interesting, or maybe it was a way of avoiding the need for one, being the bane of any designer's life.

Less successful is a reconstruction of Del Boy's (of Only Fools and Horses) living room as a break-out space. Amusing the first time you see it, but design and architecture needs to last a bit longer than that, leaving little space for jokes:

That said, both Google and YouTube's offices, whilst extreme in their adoption of crazy work settings, are setting the trend of modern office design. With heavy branding and unusual finishes the designs will undoubtedly generate interest and leave an overall impression that these are exciting, vibrant spaces to work - a world away from the traditional office environment.

According to Helen Nicol, expert in workplace and business strategy, 'the development of agile working environments which are engaging and flexible, is central to connecting staff with their brand, their customers and to each other. Such multi-generational spaces will facilitate the drive towards lean core business processes, encouraging collaboration and empowering the workforce'.

A recent study by The University of Wolverhampton continues 'The workplace is not only a place of employee retention, but also a key branding tool for companies. The propagation of bean bags, space-hoppers and slides within office environments is encouraging more mainstream blue chip organisations to consider office enhancement. Many are combining partitioned spaces and freestanding furniture solutions to create a more flexible and dynamic workplace. But, with lava lamps and a piano in the lobby – and offices with space for pets, are Google investing wisely?

Oliver Turley, visiting lecturer in interior architectural design at the University of Wolverhampton explains more: “Google offices very much reflect current research and thinking about well-designed office spaces and the psychological benefits they have for the workers and therefore the business”. Businesses such as Google, who pay attention to the physical office environment, are thought to be far more likely to increase staff productivity. After all, the workforce is the most valuable asset of any business.

So, our original poser, Crazy or Inspired? Whilst I think the design won't by rated highly be the elitist A&D community, in terms of what they do for their occupants I'm leaning towards the inspired.

Design, Branding and Strategy at SoVibrant. www.SoVibrant.co.uk

Related links:  

New Google London Offices


  1. wow ,its amazing to see the pictures of you tube's new office in London .
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  2. Great pictures, it seems an attractive and beautiful office.

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  3. This information will increase more and more people to know about buying online furniture.I use to do buy furniture online as its time saving.

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