By keeping employees comfortable and happy—but what exactly does an employee need to keep a balance between serious work, creative thinking, and comfort? Do you put a slide in the middle of the room and call it a day?
KAYAK just opened their newest office the former East of Berlin, just steps away from the longest remaining stretch of the Wall. An online travel source started in 2004 by the co-founders of Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz, KAYAK has moved far past its humble beginnings in Stamford, Connecticut: the company now boasts offices in six international cities, each housed in a space selected with a design vision in mind, and this newest space is no different. Located in a former post office, the surrounding neighbourhood was one of the city's most important junctions in its heyday—and in typical Berlin fashion, the staircase still sports graffiti from visitors past.
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The day MONOQI visited, the space was bursting with KAYAK employees from all over the world, gathered in Berlin to celebrate the office's official launch. Bustling noise accompanied the slip and slide of socks on the dark wooden floors, and the two office dogs ran in cheerful circles sneaking treats from anyone who happened to have food. With regional, organic catered lunches regularly on offer, the mood in the company's cosy open kitchen is familial, as everyone jostles to find a place on the We do Wood dining chairs around the table. The open kitchen flows into the office space organically, and it's easy to imagine the impromptu meals and strategizing sessions bound to take place.
Beyond clusters of desks and conference rooms, the office has a few other tricks up its sleeve: the rec room, designed with both mid-day deliberation and post-work relaxation in mind, is furnished with leather chairs and a white marble table by OX Design, which holds a phone for comfortable conference calls. A plush carpet enhances the space, allowing the room to act both as a small refuge and an ideal spot for one-on-one meetings—and the addition of a small bar is in the works, for the odd Friday evening celebration.