QuirkyWe’ve written before about how the environment you work in directly affects your capacity for ideation, innovation and efficiency. Everything from company ethos on vacation to work hour flexibility. At Catalyst Ranch one of our core philosophies is that the physical world you work in is also one of the best sources for inspiration, especially when it directly reflects your company and it’s style. So when Mashable recently published their list of 13 Hot Startups With Inspired Office Design we definitely took notice. While all 13 are pretty incredible, four of them really stood out to us both for their appealing and creative design aesthetic but even more importantly the way they exhibit a perfect coming together of form and function.

1. Quirky


This NYC based start-up uses the catchphrase “We make inventions accessible” to describe their inventor-centric business. Quirky has put design and creativity at the forefront  of their business model and every week the company brings 3 brand new consumer products to market.  Their focus on design and “the idea” is central not only to the company’s mission but to the office space as well. The glass walled design shop, where 3D printers and other impressive technological innovations design and churn out the inventions is one of the very first things you see upon entering the office, and it’s central location means that almost everyone regardless of their job title passes by it every day. Quirky’s office space literally puts their priorities front and center in their office design. Quirky’s focus on creativity translates to the rest of their gigantic office as well. The space is decorated with tons of recycled and re-purposed goods from all over the city, hailing from schools and parks and even bowling alleys. It’s a tossup between a desk made from a bowling lane or the conference table made from re-purposed pallets. The meeting of vintage hard wood floors, exposed brick and re-purposed goods with the high tech futurism of the design lab is the perfect physical manifestation of Quirky’s unique business model and ethos.



nocubeChartbeat’s CEO Tony Haile places a lot of emphasis on collaboration. Sure, that’s something you’ll hear from a lot of CEOs but when the time came to design their brand new Union Square offices in NYC, Tony put his money where his mouth is and engaged the entire company in the design process. Their in house design team created the unique wall hangings, while HR got to pick out all the furniture. Additionally every employee gets the opportunity to pick their own desk and chair style. This process not only creates a unique aesthetic that is automatically intrinsic to the Chartbeat’s sensibilities but gives a sense of ownership of the space to the employees themselves. Additionally, every surface is writable and the entire office is designed with workplace flexibility in mind. Employees are free to work throughout the office whether it’s at their desk, at one of the many couch groupings, in the zen-like library or even snuggled up with an office puppy(!).



3. General Assembly

General Assembly is another company that puts collaboration at the forefront. To them this means wide open spaces, where employees can easily communicate with each other. The space is flooded with lots of natural light to help maintain the calm and positive vibe. GA has also done some really cool things with their walls which feature tons of blackboard and whiteboard paint so that there is always a surface to share on or to scribble or doodle on when the inspiration strikes. My favorite feature though has to be the way they encourage students and employees to physically pin things to the corkboard walls, creating a pinterest board for the physical world.GA-library-902-bway


4. Tasting Table


Plenty of offices have a kitchen, but not many have kitchens that are used to cook world class food and tryout new recipes. Tasting Table actually has two such state of the art kitchens where the resident foodies cook up the delicious recipes featured on their site. What’s more, the office is designed as one continuous open space to promote collaboration and to specifically allow the enticing aromas from the kitchen to waft through the rest of the office. Another perfect example of a company’s purpose manifesting itself in their space’s design. Is your mouth watering yet?

To see more inspired office designs visit http://mashable.com/2013/06/24/startup-office-design/. And let us know – what are some of the most unique or innovative things about your own office?