When we were contracted to design the Brazilian headquarters of the French oil company, we were faced with a great challenge. The company already took up two floors in the same building with traditional offices: management rooms, staff in open spaces and conventional meeting-rooms. Tables in dark wood, with partition panels, further increasing the sense of enclosure. This was the offices’ standard at the time they were designed by our company. The two main facades has a privileged view to Baía de Guanabara and to several tourist points of the city, that were totally hidden for the majority of the employees that occupied the center of the floor. The leadership of the company had been renewed and most of the employees were young people. How to conciliate an open space desired by the leadership, with the threat to the traditional way of working – in an independent way and with minimal interruptions, sustained by the oldest employees. Managers would have to give up their private offices, which historically conveyed status and power, to the open space, where they would sit with team members. For a long time employees were heard and the leadership spared no effort to give a positive message about the new office. It would be designed to promote creativity, increase collaboration and flexibility, and promote informal communication. The sense of place’s identity was strengthened exhaustively during the work. A campaign was launched with the suggestive title “Total Synergy”.
This was our starting point for an office in open space, with apparent slab and air conditioning ducts, clean furniture and the power of a colorful carpet to bring life to the environment. In the meeting rooms, focus rooms and phone booths, clear glass partitions were used. Thus, all employees, from any point of the office, could enjoy the beautiful view and especially of the natural light. Simplicity, creativity, collaboration, technology, color, informality and healthy environment in total synergy.