Minecraft-inspired office in Prague

FMnewsroom – office design. For the Prague office of Pricefx, the standard workplace cubicle just wouldn’t do. The number and type of clients of this global software company shift by the day and even the hour, requiring different spatial configurations intended to stimulate creative dialogue. The company wanted smart, performative flex space to match the dynamic digital environment in which its clients work.

 In 2016, Pricefx hired CollColl to design an easily adaptable workplace on a half-floor of an open-plan office building.  Two years later, the architects expanded the footprint to occupy the full 9,000 sqft floor. Then in 2020, at the height of the pandemic, in a leap of optimism, the company re-engaged CollColl to expand to the floor below. But with COVID putting the fundamental viability of such facilities into question, the mandate for flexibility was greater than ever – Interior Design gives insight into the project.

Video game inspo

The major architectural issue for CollColl was how to connect the two floors for a free flow of traffic. “We wanted to create a fluid space in which there would be some separation but without distinct rooms,” says Krištof Hanzlík, who leads the CollColl team along with partner Šimon Kos.

For inspiration, Hanzlík and Kos looked at Minecraft, the interactive video game, in which Lego-like objects are assembled into digitized, three-dimensional environments. Further inspiration came from architectural model making, in which box forms are used to create mass and suggest function. Depending on its relative size, the same form can be a cubbyhole, a chair, a room, a building, or whatever.

Following that principle, the architects began creating a staircase by stacking 16-inch cubes around a hole in the floor. “We found ourselves in a computer-game world of pixelated structures,” – Kos acknowledges.

Dynamic & playful office landscape

The result is a two-story playground of oak-veneered blocks—a woody, cubist mountainscape replete with stepped hillsides, miniature cliffs, craggy canyons, and jagged grottoes, all suggesting various possible uses. “Taking away mass by subtracting cubes created new kinds of spaces,” – Hanzlík says. Some stacks became closets or personal lockers, others provide terraces of bleacher seating with benches at the lowest level. Half-blocks form the treads of the central staircase alongside which runs the tunnel slide, while the interior of the hill encloses a storage room.

The stainless-steel tubular slide linking the two floors spills into the new main entry, reflecting on the importance of play in a workplace intended to stimulate creative ideas. The playfulness is reinforced by the reception desk, which not only doubles as a coffee bar but also functions as an interactive billboard on which pixelated images, including the company logo, appear. Nearby, a “gym” area equipped with a billiard table and a punching bag offers actual fun and games, further encouragement for informality and interplay.

The  most challenging request

Perhaps the most challenging request on the client’s wish list was for a conference table that could seat 50 people during workshops—about twice the number possible previously. Rather than designing a single-purpose room, however, CollColl used seven pairs of glass double doors to partition off one end of the roughly rectangular floor, creating a building-spanning flex space with windows at both ends. Close the doors and, voilà, an instant conference room. Folding wall panels allow the long space to be divided in half for smaller meetings.


More pictures: here.

Photos: interiordesign.net


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