Founded in Sweden, with major offices in Stockholm and London, Spotify is now the world’s largest music-streaming service with nearly 100 million users. When Spotify expanded its New York office and presence located within the 120-year-old Siegel-Cooper Building on the Avenue of the Americas at 18th Street to include the 54,000-square-foot third floor featured here (Spotify continues to occupy the seventh floor as well), the company chose to create an extraordinary new home for its 250 employees.
“People think we’re a tech company, like a Google or a Facebook,” says Cecilia Vigil, Spotify designer and project manager. “But we’re not.”
The company wanted to avoid the design tropes of startups and tech companies. “Usually, there’s a sweeping gesture—one at the reception area, one at the cafe—and then a sea of workbenches,” says TPG Principal Michel Fiechter, describing the simplistic approach of some workplace interiors. He points to a more comprehensive design method for Spotify, with an attention to detail carried across the entire floor plate.
Having returned the interior to its raw form, TPG took the next step: making it distinctively Spotify’s. Achieving coherence was important for a company with a lot of disparate job types—technology development, design, content, business strategy, and record label relations. As Vigil explains, Spotify employees work in small groups that the company calls squads. Considering this dynamic, TPG crafted a strategy to create an open, flexible area at the center of the floor, which is ringed with offices that the squads share. Squad rooms have access to daylight, and each unit has its own open and closed conference rooms.
Determined to give the workspace the character that is often missing from corporate interiors, Spotify and TPG sourced art and furniture as curated one-offs. The roster includes more than 100 manufacturers like the furniture brand Brabbu. “The furniture package was one of the most complex I’ve ever done,” Jacobson says.
One of Spotify’s priorities has always been to integrate art into its offices, so art consultantRedBoy commissioned 10 local artists to produce pieces for the New York expansion. For the boardroom, TPG took a more unconventional approach, since Spotify wanted the walls to be finished as a giant whiteboard, creating a massive surface to mark up during meetings. To inject art into the same room, the artist Li-Hill. embellished the top of a custom Halcon conference table, which was then sealed with a surface finish.
The result of this close collaboration between client and architect is uniquely individualized, idiosyncratic, and well-suited to Spotify’s corporate identity. As Fiechter puts it, “this space reflects an entire culture.”
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