7, Fragkokklisias Str., Maroussi
July - August 2012
Pringle Brandon Perkins + / Fluid Architects / PG Kamarinos
The construction of Google Offices in Greece was a unique project that was distinguished for the original design, the complexity of networks and the high quality of provided working space. Greece based Fluid Architects and UK based Pringle Brandon Perkins + collaborated in designing Google new offices in Athens. The brief was to design an innovative environment which would enhance creativity for its users. Following the brief of creating a “domestic industrial space” whilst also reflecting the city’s local values and traditions, the 550 sq.m. of the Marousi office space was stripped to its core shell, and the concept ‘Home away from Home’ became the starting point of the design. Upon arriving at the offices one immediately realises that this was achieved. You enter an industrial space with exposed ceilings, mechanical ducts, suspended lights and cement floors. You are not welcomed by a receptionist behind a desk, but by a member of the Google Team in a “Play Area” with a billiards table and a central ping pong table which has initiated team games amongst the users, with spectators watching from the stepped seating opposite created from stacked timber pallets. An OSB clad wall is covered in timber frames with family photos added by the users. This wall then wraps around the reception area and envelops the meeting rooms behind. Following this wall, you are led into the meeting room corridor which is lit by industrial light fittings usually suspended off a hook on site, but here are fitted off the wall. Natural lighting and services directed the design layout of the space, resulting in the varying sized meeting rooms and a larger “gathering” room which opens to the communal microkitchen via large double doors for events and parties, located at the back of the offices where direct sunlight is filtered by the neighbouring buildings. The combination of industrial and local feel is evident in these rooms with the exposed soffit and industrial lights fitted on the wall alongside large graphics of old Greek film posters. Artificial lighting in the office is achieved by strip lights throughout, enhanced by custom made “cage” lights painted in Google’s 4 primary colours. To reduce sound reverberation in all the meeting rooms, acoustic baffles are suspended off the exposed ceilings and carpet floor tiles are placed in a ‘mosaic’ pattern. The industrial feeling of the space is most evident in the open plan space which seats 24 personnel and the single glazed manager’s office. Various casual seating areas allowing users to work privately or in groups along with varying work surfaces such as magnetic walls and blackboards for presentations were carefully designed throughout the space to ensure a full working environment. The open plan space is broken up with low level seating behind semi-private flexible paper walls, which can be moved to accommodate the number of people working together, and higher bar stool seating provided for hot desking in the “Touchdown” area, on a table which marries up as a games table. A writeable wall separates this from a print copy area with industrial plastic boxes for storage of stationary and pamphlets as well as a blackboard wall behind which a massage chair is located. Greek kiosks have been designed to provide quiet phone booths, off which newspapers hang. Lastly, the café area has been designed as a traditional Greek family gathering space, providing a large dining table and casual seating. The local and ‘domestic industrial’ feel once again is achieved here with the exposed ductwork and soffit having been designed alongside traditional Greek cement floors and handmade floor tiles. The games concept has also been implemented here, as users are free to grab a console and play whilst lounging on the bean bags. Architectural design implementation studies were done by fluid architects, while the corresponding design studies for electromechanical installations were done by PG Kamarinos. The project management has been done by the CBRE Atria Company. The works lasted 40 days and included the construction of working space and infrastructures, the coordination with network technicians from abroad and the construction of furniture.