Creative Office Designs Outside of Silicon Valley


The way an office is laid out, along with the overall design, can impact everything from efficiency to the happiness of the workers inside that office. Silicon Valley is known for innovative office designs, such as Google's amazing campus filled with spaces for networking and relaxing, all decorated in bright, inspiring colors.

About 70 percent of American workers spend their days in an open floor plan work space. The problem is that recent studies indicate this type of design actually distracts employees and makes them feel less productive. While an open design does have some advantages, it shouldn't be the only design type you consider for your office space.

The best way to come up with a design concept for your own office is to study what other successful companies are doing. Even though it's natural to point to Google as an example of office spaces for gathering ideas for your own office designs, the truth is that there are some inspiring designs all over the country.

1. Portland, Oregon

Creative Office Designs Outside of Silicon Valley

Image Credit: Jon Jensen

If you’d love an open design but also realize the need for private work cubicles, take a look at the layout of FINE Design Group’s office space. There is plenty of collaborative space in the main portion of the office space, but enclosed cubicles for privacy are also available.

These cubicles feature large glass fronts so they feel more open. This also allows management to find a worker in case of an emergency. However, it seals the worker in from the noise and hustle and bustle of the rest of the office for times when they need quiet to focus or need to make an important phone call to a client.

2. Chicago, Illinois

Creative Office Designs Outside of Silicon Valley

Image Credit: Beth Rooney, Blue Sky

Chicago is in the middle of a commercial real estate boom spurred by a growing technology sector, so it isn’t surprising that it's home to innovative office designs. If you owned a company related to flight, then you'd likely come up with a pretty interesting theme for your offices. That is exactly what Gogo, an in-flight entertainment service, did when they took over the River Center Building.

Instead of just revamping it a bit, they made it look like the inside of an airplane, complete with hallways named for local runways. They also used the roof as a greenspace — something that allows employees to escape from the confines of the city for a few minutes and soak in nature.

3. San Francisco, California

Creative Office Designs Outside of Silicon Valley

Image Credit: Mariko Reed

Airbnb features a creative use of open space unlike anything seen at other companies. It’s definitely one to consider if you want a space with a young and hip vibe, but this design isn’t for everyone.

The site is set up based on the concept of neighborhoods with project rooms where people can network at tall tables or use a whiteboard for brainstorming. The more relaxed atmosphere is conducive to enhancing creativity.

4. Richmond, Virginia

Creative Office Designs Outside of Silicon Valley

Image Credit: Ansel Olson via Work Design Magazine

Avepoint created office space that is functional and playful at the same time. Instead of being tied to a chair all day long, employees can step away and shoot a few hoops or spend a few minutes looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows and looking out at the river. There is a mix of open space, conference rooms and glass-enclosed private offices.

There are also spaces where employees can take a quick break and play a game or stretch out on yoga mats to relieve strained muscles. Essentially, the company looked at the needs of employees throughout the work day and sought to meet those needs in every way possible.

Creative Office Design

Major cities all over the U.S. have embraced a changing perspective on office environments. There’s no need to leave your design inspiration to examples from Silicon Valley, stunning as they are. 

The best way to approach your office design is to study existing trends and explore what a variety of other companies are doing. Once you see some ideas you love, figure out if they’ll work for your company and your employees. After that, it’s just a matter of implementing the design so that everyone’s needs are met. Your office space can have a major impact on your employees’ to creativity and motivation.

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