Living at the desk

Studio Joanna Laajisto has created office spaces for an international agency that staff have already made into their second home.
by Fabian Peters | 1/1/2018

The homely office is a topic that has haunted magazines and furniture fairs for several years. That said, creating a lounge area at the entrance from a few colorful stools and a sofa is not enough to transform an open-plan office into a cozy replacement living room. However, when employees come into the office in their free time to organize movie evenings or just for casual hang-outs then the symbiosis between working and living space has evidently succeeded. This is what happened with the new office spaces of the international service design agency Fjord in Helsinki, designed by Joanna Laajisto. The interior designer says she was less concerned with the appearance of the rooms, and more what they feel like. 

Laajisto looked to high-quality natural materials for the 1,000-square-meter office space. Sisal rugs are spread out on the impact-sound-insulated oak parquet flooring. Moreover, numerous plants improve the indoor climate. To divide up the space the interior designer used full-height glazed steel-and-glass partitions; the linen curtains can be drawn for greater privacy. The homely character of the office is underscored by the lounge areas and particularly the cozy and generous kitchens Joanna Laajisto has created for the employees. 

In selecting furniture, she decided to reference the agency’s location in Helsinki by choosing numerous Finnish products and designs. Specifically, the “Rival” chair by Artek can be found in the conference rooms, while the large rugs are by Woodnotes. The famous “Womb” chair by Eero Saarinen stands in the lounge zones, while the kitchens feature oak tables and benches by Nikari and the “Domus” chair by Ilmari Tapiovaara.

“For me the best feedback was having Fjord employees volunteering to come to the studio and help me with a photoshoot – on a Saturday afternoon, with their kids and dogs,” Laajisto tells. “We ordered pizza, drank some wine and everybody stayed longer than was needed. If people enjoy spending their free time in the office, we have truly succeeded in creating a homely work environment” .