15 Jul 2021 • Work
In the work-from-anywhere era, one tech company is choosing a wine bar
In Stockholm, Note Design Studio was tasked with creating a home base for tech consultancy Samsen that would feel like an employee perk, not just a practical resource.
If we can work from anywhere, do we still need offices? The question has been in the air since the great COVID-induced working-from-home experiment. The general consensus is that yes, we’ll still need somewhere to come together, but maybe workplaces won’t look the way they once did. Case in point: Note’s design for Samsen in Stockholm. In brainstorming about what its new home base could be, the young tech consultancy – whose staff previously worked from the offices of its clients, among which Klarna, Spotify and Nespresso – already knew it didn’t want a conventional, corporate environment. Instead, it was looking for a shared space that could be used in every which way: for working, hanging out, or socializing with family and friends.
The question then became: What it you didn’t design a workplace, but rather something else from which you just happened to work? The unconventional outcome of this line of thinking was sparked by a shared passion for wine among Samsen’s founders. And thus, the wine-bar workspace was born. Inspired by small hospitality establishments in Japan, whose clever seating arrangements help them accommodate a surprisingly large number of people, Note Design Studio focused on creating a warm and welcoming space. It needed to be comfortable for working, dining, drinking and socializing at all hours of the day, with an array of seating setups for different scenarios: from group gatherings to tête-à-têtes to solo working sessions. It also needed to accommodate various work-related practicalities, such as power outlets (which can be reached from all seating areas) and a whiteboard, which is concealed behind a curtain.
Undoubtedly inspired by the sight of laptop-toting workers tapping away in cafés, Samsen will surely prompt other companies to question what their offices could be if they broke away from preconceptions. That said, Samsen’s solution works for this particular company of this particular size, and other organizations will have to find the right fit for them. One concern here would be ergonomics, although the ability to switch between different settings might stand in for the lack of spine-aligning seating. And also: Will they get any work done while surrounded by so much liquid temptation?