Detsky Mir is the largest children's goods retailer in Russia, opened in Moscow as a department store in 1947. Today it is a nation wide chain with over 500 stores throughout Russia. Continual expansion led the company to relocate its headquarters to a former printing factory that would facilitate an open layout. The task was to accommodate a demanding program of interaction between numerous departments and allow for future team expansion. Two central ideas characterise the project: distorted proportion and the workplace as a board game. Distorted proportion explores the sense of largeness and altered perception that we experience as children. This was used in the approach to form, furnishings and decorative elements across the office. The board game is used as an analogy for conceiving the office layout. Its constituents of field, grid and playing figure become tools to develop various typologies of space. The reception zone marks the starting point of the game, with cues that gather the entire idea of the office in one place. Open plan seating is interpreted as field, with navigation signs becoming a pattern on the floor used to direct flow. Central volumes housing storage and meeting rooms are considered as playing figures, which work as focal points within a neutral interior. The grid becomes a lighting system that spans the entire work area. Used as a colour-coding element, each floor is assigned a colour of the Detsky Mir logo — red, yellow, blue and green.

Detsky Mir translates as ‘children’s world’ in Russian. These two words have become an idiom to most Russians over the decades, bringing to mind everyone’s first trip to the toy store as a child, or with one’s own children. Thus the words Detsky Mir literally immerse into the world of childhood.
As a company Detsky Mir is a highly rational, energetically growing mechanism, with a democratic atmosphere and strong team building principles. These two aspects, which can be described as childhood and adulthood, come together to create the company character and direct the spatial solution.
The company’s clear, structured work ethic is expressed in the organization of space. The design balances this rationality with playful interventions, creating a space for grown ups with portals into childhood.
The design addresses the historic memory of Detsky Mir through form and material palette. Graphic illustrations are added at key focal points throughout the office, influenced by murals and artistic signage used to label various departments within the first Soviet Detsky Mir store. Custom designed seating plays with the idea of sliced candy and altered scale models. The reception is illuminated with circular vitrines showcasing colourful toy compositions that recall Detsky Mir shop windows.