Does the office kitchen really matter?
Yes. Yes. A thousand times, yes.
If you need some convincing, here’s a brief excerpt from L.V. Anderson’s piece for Slate on the power of the office kitchen:
“The office kitchen is a site of self-expression. The food we bring into the office reflects who we are and what we like. We can bring in lunches that reflect our cultural background or that remind us of time spent cooking with our family and friends. It’s impossible to be a cog in the kitchen, because it’s where we’re allowed to admit that we’re human beings with needs and desires, not automatons. The kitchen is where office workers go to satiate their appetites, quench their thirst, and partake of mind-altering substances. (Caffeine, of course. Plus, occasionally, if you’re lucky, alcohol.)”
Have we swayed you? Then it’s time for a little inspiration.
Here are five office kitchens to drool over:
Club Med’s multipurpose space
The all-inclusive guru just got a brand-new HQ in Shanghai designed by Diego Fuertes and 100architects to evoke the inside of a swimming pool (yes, you read that right). The kitchen area, called the “Pantry,” was specifically designed to double as a social space – hence the stadium seating spanning one end of the space.
“The Pantry was designed to be as functional as possible having into account the diversity of activities that it would host,” explains 100architects. “As main features, a long yellow kitchen was designed to solve all the practical needs of cooking, storing, coffee making, etc., in the same space, while a wooden mini-amphitheater was located at the end of the space in order to provide enough seating areas for hosting communal activities or public speeches.”
eBay’s food truck-inspired cafeteria
The eating area at eBay’s San Jose office recently got transformed by Gensler into a food truck-inspired cafeteria, complete with metal screens to mimic truck doors, picnic tables, string lights, and an ice cream cart. There’s also a few more user-friendly features, like an automated ordering system to reduce line-ups and varied seating to facilitate eating, socializing, and working.
“‘The Kitchen’ celebrates eBay’s diverse culture and provides employees an improved dining and meeting experience with better food choices and varied seating options for work or socializing,” says Gensler San Jose. “Playful wayfinding elements complement the design creating a familial gathering place.”
Paysafe’s small-but-mighty kitchenette
We mentioned Paysafe’s Bulgaria office in our post on bold colours in the workplace, but Cachè Atelier’s recent expansion is worth another mention. After all, it’s not every day you see a pint-sized office kitchen clad in floor-to-ceiling bright yellow.
Located in the newly-renovated office for its payments teams, the kitchen includes all the essentials, plus bar seating for four.
Wayfair’s Boston-inspired eatery
McMahon Architects’ design for Wayfair’s Boston HQ includes this light-filled cafeteria filled with nods to the city that surrounds it.
“The heart of the new space is the cafeteria,” explains McMahon Architects. “A variety of seating, activities and food/beverage offerings provide an opportunity for the employees to engage and unwind with one another while transparent film highlighting Boston landmarks in a pop-graphic way furthered the design intent while still allowed natural light to filter through the space.”
The cafeteria also includes stylish booth seating, modern chandeliers, and brick walls emblazoned with custom graffiti.
Casper’s communal tables
“You know how great you feel after a good night’s sleep? That’s the mood we wanted to create in the new Casper offices. Lots of light, lots of white, and delicate touches of earth, green and ice blue inspire and restore.” That’s how Float Studio describes the New York City office space it designed for mattress maker Casper.
Yes, the space’s in-office beds get a lot of ink, but another amazing part of the design is the airy, streamlined kitchen area. We love the on-brand blue palette and brass accents. We love the lacquered faucet and the gentle nudge printed directly onto the sink below (“Clean sink = happy sink”). But what we really love is the communal square tables that encourage employees to break bread together, hash out a new idea, or even just chat over a quick coffee.