Tech companies have moved on from colourful beanbags in meeting rooms and décor more suited to a playground than an office.

Clean and sharp as a black-diamond blade, the Slack London office joins Squarespace and Uber in prioritizing the productivity of employees by minimizing distraction and maximising comfort.

Odos Architects designed a ‘penthouse oasis’ for the billion-dollar start-up with a sleek material palette of polished oak, glossy black-stained timber, and lots of glass windows. But the dominant aspect of the workspace is the abundance of natural light – or it would be if London saw more than four hours of sunshine per day on average.

Nevertheless, Odos leverages the light – such as there is – with roof window ‘portals’ that maximize the Great Portland Street view over the rooftops of historic London. The portals, which open out to the city skyline, are installed with cushioned seating and reflective panels that extend the field of vision. The reflective panels capture the movement of passing clouds, planes, and birds, visually manipulating the outside world and bringing it inside the 540-sq-m workspace.

‘Communication, a core function of Slack, became a conceptual component in our design,’ says the Odos team, as the glass portals mimic the company’s brand by connecting to the external environment within a business setting. Black volumes break and border the various office facilities throughout the space, while the linking corridor adds a sudden otherworldly quality to moments between working or meeting at different ends of the workplace.

Leafy plants nudge between the roof window portals and drape from the upper to the lower floors, softening the somewhat sombre palette.