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Scandinavian hygge meets Japanese minimalism at Zendesk’s London HQ

The software company avoided a ‘simple copy paste’ approach to their design by creating a workspace that embodies their brand, culture and location.

24/01/2023 2 min read

Software provider, Zendesk, refreshed their London office in line with their brand guidelines and newfound needs. Opting to use their own in-house team rather than outsourcing to a studio, the design concept was developed with three main principles in mind: togetherness, collaboration and promoting employee experiences that have long defined the Zendesk culture. 

“Reimagining a Zendesk post-COVID office started with a company-wide survey which made it clear that people found it easier to do focused work from home, but that collaboration, interaction and problem-solving practices were far better achieved in person,” says Zendesk’s senior brand designer, Giuseppe Cariello.  

A combination of survey results and pre-pandemic observations enabled the Zendesk team to note what did and did not work in terms of design. Since, several of the workstations have been removed and collaborative spaces added, resulting in a clear journey from public to private spaces across the office. 

To hone in on the ‘local’ feel, Zendesk’s team spent time researching modern design in London, noting detail including the city’s wooden cafes and brutalist Barbican estate. When it came to brainstorming design ideas, these observations were partnered with Zendesk’s Danish origin to form a unique workspace rooted in both identities. Cariello adds: “Our team goal is to ensure all the Zendesk offices deliver a similar experience, while feeling unique and local at the same time.” 

Collaborative corners, various sized meeting rooms and independent workstations provide employees with secluded space for focused and group work. An event space, kitchen and new signature café have been added to spark employee connections, “the latter has been designed taking inspiration from East London historic cafes,” continues Cariello, “adding an extra layer of Scandi flavour to homage the Danish heritage of the company.” A reception space containing a mix of lounge furniture, high tables and booths serves as an additional collaborative space.  

A central element to the refurb was weaving Zendesk’s brand in without being over the top. Mindful of overuse, the team decided to display the logo only in a select few places, cleverly using the logo’s shapes and colours as wayfinding tools. Now, each of the public and private zones incorporate finishes, artwork and meeting room names all covertly associated with the Zendesk brand. 

Materials chosen throughout include wood, warm felt and rugged concrete, all of which complement the office’s different light pockets and provide warmth. Green plants also play an integral part in the interior by injecting colour, softening pillars and supporting employee wellbeing.

Furniture throughout the workspace was hand-selected to complement Zendesk’s brand and vision of ‘Scandinavian hygge meets Japanese minimalism and craftmanship’. Sustainability sat at the forefront throughout this process by opting for local suppliers and manufacturers where possible, rather than shipping items overseas.  


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