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We’ve all heard of the swanky offices in Silicon Valley that everybody wants to work at, but the UK is filled with just as many incredibly designed work spaces.
While the first city that comes to mind when you think of these cool spaces we’re talking about might be London, there are other parts of the UK adorned with some of the coolest offices in the country. To prove it, we’ve decided to pit London vs. the rest of the UK in our 2016 round up of the coolest offices.
Think you’ve seen it all? You’re in for a treat and also for a massive bout of jealousy – with private beaches, personalised Starbucks, swimming pools, quirky meeting rooms, office slides and more in store.
The Coolest Offices in London 2016
The Coolest Office in the UK 2016
Who: They’re a design company which prints some of the coolest business cards in town. Also allows their clients to customise designs via their website.
Why it’s cool: It’s a large warehouse style office which is filled with colour. Even the books in their library are organised by colour instead of name! They’ve got a vintage telephone placed randomly on a wall (amongst other random wall hangings) – We think it’s actually pretty darn cool.
Who: They’re a fast-growing and young data company with over 12 offices over the world. They call themselves the meeting point of big data and big ideas.
Why it’s cool: The office has been designed to reflect the Paddington area in which it resides. There’s custom graffiti galore in Splunk’s office and they also have a vintage carriage meeting room. This might just be one meeting we wouldn’t want to get out of!
Who: Airbnb is an online marketplace that allows people to list, find and then rent vacation homes. With over 1,500,000 listings in 34,000 cities and 191 countries, it has taken the travel and tech industry by storm.
Why it’s cool: Working with architecture firm Threefold, Airbnb’s new office (they moved in January) takes “typical components of historic British settlements — the farm, the green, the market, the library, the terrace — and [distills] their key spatial and social characteristics to create a microcosm of such a community”.
Who: They’re a leading independent creative agency network who have been responsible for those catchy Stella Artois ads.
Why it’s cool: Their employees have 250ft concrete tables as desks and the office encourages them to move around as much as possible. They also have super cool ‘thinking spaces’ with rugs and armchairs. We’re guessing this works because this space has given rise to some incredibly creative ideas. Apart from this, there are framed photos of the employees’ mums adorning the walls. How cute!
Wieden & Kennedy
Who: They’re an independent, creatively driven advertising agency that has created brand campaigns for Arla, TKMaxx, Halls, Honda, Sainsburys and Nike to name a few.
Why it’s cool: Want to unwind or just spend some quiet time by yourself? This office has green cushioned walls, games consoles, built-in TV and even cuddly toys if you’re having a particularly stressful day! If you do want to join them, you might want to equip yourself with some art skills first because every new joiner is given a blank canvas to paint something on… which is then hung up in their reception for the world to see.
Who: They’re an independently owned advertising agency and call themselves “the home of good works, where what goes around comes around”. They’re also the largest independent communications agency in the UK with over 260 employees.
Why it’s cool: Nope, you haven’t entered a retro disco, it’s the headquarters of Karmarama with an illuminated passage which plays out a D.I.S.C.O. soundtrack. You could literally boogie into office every morning and you won’t be judged for it. The office also brews its own beer, making it home to the smallest pub in London.
Who: Smarkets is an online investment platform that facilitates honest, user-centered trading in regard to sports, politics and current events.
Where: St. Katharine Docks
Why it’s cool: Bright and spacious office with semi-private offices and open spaces where their employees can move their desk because they all have wheels! They’ve got a balcony that goes all the way round the office, giving them a nice view in the summer. Two chefs prepare freshly cooked lunches and breakfasts while everyone eats together to encourage collaboration among different teams.
Who: They believe cooking isn’t something that should be restricted to just experts and enthusiasts, but open to everyone – which is why they deliver boxes full of ingredients along with innovative recipes straight to your doorstep, so you can whip up a delicious meal by yourself.
Why it’s cool: They have an uber cool cooking school space – which creates an unique environment for teams to come together and bond over food. They’ve also cleverly designed bleachers that double up for solo working spaces, ad hoc meeting areas and the perfect place for weekly team meetings. The office is also armed with pallett cladded columns throughout.
Here’s What the Rest of the UK has to Offer
Who: Campus North is recognised as one of the best co-working and event spaces for tech meetups, startups and established businesses in Europe. They’re home to Ignite, the UK’s leading angel-led accelerator programme for ambitious digital startups. They offer hot-desking, co-working, meeting and teaching space everyday. Apart from that, they host lots of community events and have a lot of workshops for children.
Why it’s cool: Their office spaces are designed to cater to a large number of companies and their needs. With colourful walls and superhero paintings in different corners of the office, it’s a good reminder for the employees about their superpowers!
Who: They’re an energy supply company and began trading energy in September 2009, buying and selling electricity and gas to supply domestic properties throughout the UK.
Why it’s cool: All of OVO’s meeting rooms are inspired by different innovators and entrepreneurs – and they even have a treehouse complete with a slide, a ski base camp and a green living moss wall in their atrium. Their aim is to be as energy efficient as possible, whilst providing an imaginative, creative space for their 1,000 strong employee base.
Who: They’re an outsourcing call centre that leads the UK telephone answering services and outsourced switchboard market.
Why it’s cool: They’ve got one of the most acoustically innovative buildings in the country, which uses a combination of bespoke sound absorption and elimination technology. Their sound engineers have created the perfect environment to handle calls. The office also comes with a village pub and treehouse – which is used for meetings, nature trails and vegetable gardens.
Who: Skyscanner is Europe’s leading flight search engine with over 25 million unique visitors per month.
Why it’s cool: The office covers an area of 8,500 sq. metres spread over two storeys. Staying true to their roots, their reception desk is set upon part of an old airplane wing. Even their conference rooms are designed to look like the inside of an airplane. The other meeting booths are named after different countries, so every time their employees have meetings, they’d say something like “Meet me in France!” They’ve also got the much loved yellow room – which is their thinking zone – employees go there to come up with ideas without the fear of someone shutting them down.
Who: Online car rental service who are responsible for over 5 million car rentals each year.
Why it’s cool: With a swanky space spread across 38,000 sq. ft., each floor has its own unique theme ranging from world cars, road trips, drive-in movies and metropolis. To top that, there are quirky meeting rooms within each of these floors – themes include Manchester, James Bond, Las Vegas and Back to the Future – as they believe this is a good way to keep their staff energised. They also have an open air cinema where employees can catch the latest flicks or play the PS4. Think that’s amazing? Hold on, they’re got their own beach on the top floor of the office with its own beach huts, pool table and a Starbucks. (We’re jealous!)
Who: MancFrank is a boutique PR agency that “loves getting a reaction”. Some of their clients include Weetabix, Ribena, RFL, Lucozade, Ideal Home Show and Burger and Lobster amongst others.
Why it’s cool: The 1850 sq. ft. office reflects a positive space creativity and also mirrors the city’s love for football – with a seating area designed for meetings where one side is painted blue and the other is red – something which becomes a talking point when clients come over. They wanted each area of the office to be a talking point and have made every effort to make that happen including filling corners of the office with large amounts of hay to create a barn, which they use as meeting rooms. The office also has multiple references to Manchester’s culture and heritage with murals of the worker bee and quotes on the walls.
BBC North Office
Who: British Broadcasting Corporation is a public service broadcaster. (Needs no introduction)
Where: Salford Quays
Why it’s cool: A workspace that emulates a thriving urban neighbourhood, the BBC North has designed a variety of shared spaces and amenities – just like you’d find in the city. With over 3000 employees in the buildings, the Quay House is popular for its colourful meeting pods, which allow for employees to collaborate. What’s cool is that it even doubles as a studio space, providing a wonderful backdrop to the various broadcasts. Something to look out for – MediaCity UK, the site they’re based on, is set to double in size by 2026 with ten new buildings and 1,400 new properties.
Want to work in some of the UK’s coolest offices? What are you waiting for? Start your job hunt here.