The name Microsoft has always stood for communication. With Kinect, a gesture recognition system, Xbox, a games console, and Surface, a new tablet computer, the company has developed gadgets that only reveal their true strengths once the user interacts with them. And that is precisely the focus of the new Microsoft Briefing Center in the Swiss town of Wallisellen. The architects decided to forego nearly all color accents and instead have created a dynamic space that only really comes to life when employees or customers make use of the interactive technologies within it.
The Center, which is just 2600 square feet in size, is part of a larger office complex. Movable, grey drapes that vary in terms of their opacity enable the space, which is arranged around a large interior courtyard, to be alternately separated from or opened up to its surroundings as required and according to the type of event being hosted. The front area functions as a lounge with its own welcome zone and bar. A furnishing component made from the new solid surface material HI-MACS divides the space, allowing for a variety of forms of communication (product presentations, meetings or conferences). A black media wall made from glass that borders the lounge provides a presentation platform for employees where they can present the company’s technologies in a variety of situations. As one moves from the entry lounge into the space’s interior, one discovers more opportunities for private and secluded conversation or meditation. Finally, the meeting rooms are separated from the rest of the space by a glass wall.
The lighting concept is markedly subdued. Lighting bands have been installed in a sharply geometrical fashion. They complement the room’s dynamic, provide for a consistently calm atmosphere and additionally help guide foot traffic.