Project: Hi-Tech Company Offices
Architects: Halel Architecture and Interior Design
Architect: Shira Muskal
Interior designer: Hadas Roth
Planner and project manager: Adi Shani
Location: Azrieli towers, Tel Aviv, Israel
Area: 300 square meters
Photo Credits: Adi Eckstein
The Azrieli towers are undoubtedly known as one of the most iconic office buildings in Israel, but how many of us know what they look like from the inside? Well, if you rely on the offices of the high-tech company planned and designed by ‘Halel Architecture and Interior Design’, the impressive appearance penetrates the casing and is also present in the dynamic and experiential office of the head and prosperous high-tech company that is constantly in a growing process. This is what they look like.
Versatility, creativity and a different and unique atmosphere are just a part of the characteristics of the work environment created by the planners of the office, ‘Halel Architecture and Interior Design’ for the employees of a local start up company that is constantly striving to expand and grow: “within a year, the number of employees in the company quadrupled, so as part of the planning process, I made sure to create a versatile space that will provide a comfortable, effective and inviting work environment for a growing capacity of employees”, explains architectural engineer Adi Shani, the project manager on behalf of the firm.
The design of the office was carried out by ‘Halel Architecture and Interior Design’ parallel to the design of the house of the CEO of the company, who wanted to create a completely different atmosphere from the one planned for his private fortress: “it was important to him to add an experiential dimension to the offices, and so it was. The fusion design combines an industrial underground atmosphere with warm and lively motifs. So for example, in front of the dark aluminum systems and the gray microtopping floor there are the bricks and the vegetation. In addition, as fitting a creative High-tech company, we have integrated several special features throughout the space – one of the most prominent of which is the phone booth, which serves as a kind of confession booth where the employees can pour their hearts out in front of a camera. At the end of each year, the best segments are edited into a music video- an amusing souvenir that sums up the past year”.
The road to the final result was full of challenges: “we were given a completely dismantled space, without partitions and low ceilings, and we actually started from scratch. One of the things we had to take into account in the planning process was the existing building infrastructure that could not be changed or moved, and the planning was done around them.”
“It was important for us to create a series of spaces that have a system of connections between them and still won’t reveal themselves all at once but in stages. For example, the entrance area is defined by a brick wall with the company logo on it, which serves as a warm and inviting waiting area for the company’s guests,” Shani adds. “The area is an allusion to the design style and at the same time creates intimacy. In its continuation is another seating area bordering the glass partition of one of the work spaces which creates an open and airy feeling and lets in light and still, in order to maintain the privacy of the employees, we created a conceptual separation through vegetation. Thus the space remains hidden and visible at the same time.
The vegetation motif is reflected in several areas of the office; in the workrooms and in the kitchen, above the eating area, a ceiling-lowering net was incorporated to which was added vegetation that gives the entire area a dynamic and lively look: “We wanted to create a living and natural environment in the heart of the urban space, in an implicit way and in the right doses. In addition to the plants, I used other motifs such as the color of the walls to which I added green pigment and the kitchen, which is also created in shades of green. The kitchen furniture serves as a buffer between the dining area and the open space and in the process, buffers passage of odors into the work spaces. In front of the tall wall where there is plenty of storage space, I designed a big island with a grooved back and a porcelain granite surface that gives an extra layer to the space. Similar to the high front, it also has storage areas. It serves as an additional functional space for eating while sitting high up.”
In order to make the most of the natural light, most of the rooms were designed around the building’s casing and the large windows. The central meeting room was designed in the heart of the space and borders a smaller office through which natural light penetrates the larger one: “We created a partition that separates the functions, which we divided into 3 parts; the middle one is sealed, covered with bricks and on it the TV screen is planted, and on both sides of the glass partitions the natural light enters.”
The open space in the center of the space serves as an effective and pleasant work area that is divided into positions for couples and foursomes who sit facing each other. In order to create peace and privacy, the planners created a library for each area that combines sealed storage compartments with open parts that break up the mass. On the one hand, it allows privacy for the employee and helps with acoustics in the active area, and on the other hand, it leaves it open and pleasant.
“The objects in this space, the furniture and the textiles help us create perfect acoustics in the open spaces. Above each working station we created a metal ceiling support in which we planted almost invisible sponges that help greatly with the acoustics, through which the lighting fixtures chosen for this area were also hung. We designed the carpentry units from a combination of split oak wood, panels painted in a black shade and expanded nets”
The lighting is also used as a tool for defining functions and creating the vibe. For example, the planners created a kind of boulevard that serves as the main axis in the offices for which they chose coal bulbs that were installed on top of the brick pillars and create a feeling of street lighting. “On the ceiling, we have spread stripes that bathe the office in functional lighting and, in addition, we have integrated designed lighting fixtures that highlight various areas and give an aspect of soft and pleasant lighting. We have combined lighting fixtures with floating rods and pleasant lighting that hangs from the ceiling. This is another way to define the various functions in this work space and also tell the story of the place through the lighting.”