As far as offices go, there isn’t often a ton of room for creativity—which makes sense, given that offices are a place of work. Functionality should, in theory, trump style. However, when you’re Ikea’s creative team, the rules are different.
Located in Malmö, Sweden, Ikea’s Creative Hub is in a building that dates back to 1908 and used to house a bank. The space encompasses 15 rooms and a kitchen, spanning 880 meters (or just under 10,000 square feet). Designed by Nanna Lagerman and Nina Warnolf, the office is unique in that every room is different from the next.
“We wanted to create an office that makes you feel at home and a space where every room [has] its own character, feeling, mood, colors, style, and expression,” says Lagerman. “Like a fairy tale with rooms as chapters. They all work together, but each room plays its own music.”
Aiming to design an office injected with personality that fully allowed for maximum creativity—important when the office houses the creative team of one of the biggest home goods retailers in the world—Lagerman and Warnolf renovated the old space with six tenets in mind.
Focusing on the unexpected, a “home-y” factor, sustainability, flexibility, connection, and a respect for working individuals, the final office space has room for everything—from company brainstorms to a library to a socializing area. And of course, all the furniture is from Ikea.
The 15 rooms are divided into seven distinct sections. First, “Situationhult” is an all-pink meeting/conference room. Proving that even the purveyors of decor trends and new home pieces are susceptible to trending colors, this room features pink wall-to-wall carpeting, pink curtains covering the walls, and even dark pink tables.
“Bookhult” is the library, painted blue to create a sense of calm and inspire reflection. The light blue wall-to-wall carpeting is contrasted by gray-blue ottomans and darker blue furniture, such as sofas that were refurbished using blankets from the PS-collection 2017.
In the “Woodhult” meeting room, plywood walls match up with plywood boxes that can be used as tables, seats, or even presentation podiums. There’s even regular seating—also from Ikea’s PS 2017 collection—if a plywood box doesn’t seem like the most comfortable thing to work on all day.
Lagerman went for a dramatic feel with the editing room (“Filmhult”), opting for a dark gray wall paint color that almost looks black. Matching black desks and chairs keep the space simple and sleek, with velvet dark gray curtains completing the look.
And despite how we might personally feel about wall-to-wall carpeting, it looks like Ikea’s a fan: This room also includes it, this time in a pale gold hue.
On the lighter end of the spectrum, the “Boardhult” meeting and brainstorm room is prime for creativity: The minimalist, whitewashed space has walls painted in whiteboard paint to encourage scribbling or sketching.
When the creative team isn’t scribbling in the brainstorm room or reflecting in the library, chances are, they’re situated in the main working area, “Workhult.” This massive space is simply decorated with pale gray walls and original wooden flooring, and spans three rooms.
The first two have working desks for a more traditional office setup, and the last room is full of sofas, armchairs, and tables made out of drawing paper. Working from an office sofa is probably as close to working from home as it gets.
Finally, a combined kitchen and eating area makes up the office core. Dubbed “Hanghult,” it’s so much more than your average office kitchen: It includes a meeting place, all-black kitchen, dining area, and café with white tiled walls. There is plenty of seating and room for gathering, too.
Encouraged drawing on the walls and an in-house café? It’s no wonder Ikea was named one of the best places to work in 2017.
All images by Marcus Lawett.