Excerpt: Shopify Berlin is an office interior designed by the architectural firm MVRDV. Designed as a contrast to the home office with a focus on highly intentional collaboration as a collective experience, the 1,000-square-metre interior project provides the dynamic Canadian-founded commerce company an ideal design for its rethink of the purpose of its physical workspaces. The project celebrates Shopify culture and the Berlin cityscape, providing a visual reminder of the things that make the city an exciting place to live and work.
[Text as submitted by Architect] MVRDV has completed the interior redesign of Shopify Berlin, located on Köpenicker Strasse in the Berlin-Mitte district. Designed as a contrast to the home office with a focus on highly intentional collaboration as a collective experience, the 1,000-square-metre interior project provides the dynamic Canadian-founded commerce company an ideal design for its rethink of the purpose of its physical workspaces.
In early 2020, the planned renovation of Shopify’s office building in Berlin-Mitte was already well underway. Then came the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, a sudden switch to working from home that dramatically caused the company to rethink what it needed from its office building. Acknowledging that focused individual work is best completed remotely, Shopify brought MVRDV on board for a redesign that maximizes the building’s potential as a base for working collaboratively with others, brainstorming new ideas, and engaging in the company’s vibrant culture.
MVRDV’s interior design primarily occupies the ground floor and basement levels and additional prime spaces up to the sixth floor. It comprises three “on-site” rooms, which serve as the primary meeting rooms, and a variety of “experience rooms” which enable company gatherings, more casual work environments, and other, more specific atmospheres. Wherever possible, the design takes the sustainable approach of re-using elements from the previous half-built renovation, using everything from wall and floor finishes to lighting fixtures and furniture. For example, 100% of the lighting fixtures were purchased prior to MVRDV’s design.
In addition to the typical conference table, each on-site room is embellished with a “color lounge.” An adjacent space separated by a curtain provides a more comfortable environment for free-flowing discussions. The colors of these lounges – like the colors throughout the design – are based on the visual identity of Shopify.
The project celebrates Shopify culture and the Berlin cityscape, providing a visual reminder of the things that make the city an exciting place to live and work. The reception desk uses blue-green “metro tiles” in reference to the city’s U-Bahn stations. In contrast, the opposite wall features the art piece Intersections by Carolina Amaya, recalling the city’s vibrant street art.
The experience rooms include a Volkspark and Baumgarten, used for lunches and company gatherings, filled with plants provided by Berlin-based company Plantclub. Downstairs is the club, referencing Berlin’s famous nightlife, which provides a space for events or casual socializing surrounded by a continuous screen on the walls. Also found downstairs is the “secret room,” a more private meeting space with a clandestine atmosphere – perfect for breaking out of the day-to-day mindset in more high-stakes work projects.
“This project gave us an exciting opportunity to think critically about how workspaces can be reimagined after 2020”, says MVRDV partner Fokke Moerel. “Now people can work from home – and for a company like Shopify, whose work is primarily remote-first, that’s even easier. In turn, what was once an office becomes a space for employees to collaborate with intention, brought to life by design touches that reinforce the unique spirit of their city.”