Microsoft Headquarters – Amsterdam

  • ,
  • Client Microsoft,
  • size 117,200 sqft
  • Year 2010
  • Location Amsterdam, Netherlands,
  • Industry Technology,
  • Sevil Peach and Veldhoen + Company have designed the Amsterdam headquarters of global tech giant Microsoft to help support their 1,000 staff using a new activity-based work concept.

    The Challenge: Microsoft also wanted the space to convey a brand identity that was transparent, democratic and customer friendly. Since the office development was a new building, we first had to assess its suitability for the company’s needs and propose architectural changes to respond to their goals.

    The biggest challenge was creating a welcoming, working environment that supported 1,000 people who didn’t have a dedicated desk.

    The Solution: After rearranging the cores and voids of the building, we introduced an open central staircase and two outdoor meeting pavilions to give a sense of transparency and connectivity.

    We designed an open route from the reception to the first floor to allow everyone access to the social heart and focus of the building. By doing this, we created a communal workspace where staff and visitors alike could interact and work together whilst clearly demonstrating the flexibility and mobility of Microsoft’s products. We then added benches for informal meetings, individual work carousels, meeting rooms and two auditoriums to enhance the social buzz of this floor.

    For the peckish, we added a coffee shop and indoor and outdoor staff dining, as well as relaxation zones and sleep pods for those who needed a bit of a break. Throughout the space, a ceiling runner guides people between different work zones and encourages playful interaction with the space. In one area, the runner suspends umbrella hooks next to work desks Magritte-style, and in another it dangles blank boards for inspired scribbling.

    On the other five floors, we set up a series of teamwork benches, enclosed and semi-enclosed meeting rooms, open informal meeting areas, concentration booths, individual work carousels and work lounges. Coffee points were made large enough to double as social and meeting areas (although the best coffee is served on the first floor to encourage everyone from the CEO to the postman to head downstairs and mingle in the quest for the best caffeine fix). Finally, instead of a cluttered desk, everyone was given their own locker complete with their own piece of chalk to customise it however they liked.

    To learn more about the planning and implementation of New Ways of Working and Activity-based work, you should be sure to read Veldhoen + Company’s brief about the Microsoft project.

    Design: Sevil Peach, Veldhoen + Company
    Photography: Gary Turnbull, Harold Pareira