Coming to work: it’s rubbish, isn’t it?
Well, not if you work at one of the 10 North East workplaces we’ve selected in our first ever list of the region’s coolest offices.
From campervan meeting rooms to inside trees, offices at the end of the garden to big yellow cows, our cool offices look like the sort of place where the workforce could really enjoy themselves...
Unpronounceable digital agency TH_NK have offices at Swan House in Newcastle that would make it into our list if only for its views of the Tyne Bridge and the city centre.
That is also pretty sleek and comes equipped with gizmos like virtual reality headsets and a pool table only adds to its appeal.
2. Highlights PR
Keith Newman’s PR firm is all at sea...no, it’s floating some new ideas...OK, it’s on a boat.
The cabin cruiser is normally moored at St Peter’s Basin in Newcastle, and reflects both Mr Newman’s love of the water and the fact that he has a number of river-based clients.
3. Cooper’s Studios (Ryder Architecture)
Cooper’s Auction Yard was built as a horse and carriage repository and later became a hire car depot. Now the Grade-II listed building in Newcastle city centre is the home of Ryder Architecture.
The restoration of the building created swish modern offices but also retained some of its original features, including ramps to allow horses to walk up to first and second floor stalls; a central atrium that was formerly the auction parade area, a first floor ladies’ viewing gallery and an open plan top floor area once used for the sale of bicycles.
4. Creative North
An office with a treehouse, slide and a ball pool sounds a bit Nathan Barley (for fans of the obscure ‘90s sitcom about London hipsters), but it’s probably fun nonetheless.
The Gateshead headquarters of Creative North, a programme designed to highlight opportunities in the region in creative and digital industries, also wins points for being in a railway arch.
5. Lingfield Point
The Lingfield Point development in Darlington has taken the former Patons and Baldwins wool factory and turned it into modern office space.
It makes it into our list of cool offices by dint of having a VW camper van fitted out with retro games which can be used as a meeting room for businesses on the site.
6. Karol Marketing
Few businesses can genuinely say most of their work is done down the pub, but for Newcastle’s Karol Marketing it is actually the case.
Karol founder and director Stefan Lepkowski bought the old Fighting Cocks pub on Albion Row in Ouseburn in 2000 and leveraged support from his clients at the time, including Nike, to convert the space into offices. The premises has since been renamed the The Old Pub and stands prominently over the Ouseburn Valley with great views down the Tyne.
7. Space Group
Visitors to architecture and technology business Space Group may come across an unlikely sight.
The firm’s Spaceworks headquarters in Gosforth is home to a bright yellow cow. Ermintrude, as she is affectionately known among staff, stands proudly on the second floor, overlooking the building’s striking glass atrium.
8. Gradon Architecture
You’d expect an architecture practice to have pretty swish work areas, and Gradon Architecture excelled themselves in 2010 when they converted a locally-listed church into their Ne40 Studios.
It’s even got trees growing inside, and we do like an indoor tree.
This creative marketing and graphic design business has a fantastic selling point – its studio base at the bottom of business owners Sarah and Dom Raad’s garden in Gateshead.
The shed was constructed in 2011 to provide the perfect creative working space, as well as a pretty unique meeting place for clients. It also makes for what must be the shortest commute in the region.
No list of cool offices would be complete without a mention for Burolandschaft principles, so it is that FaulknerBrowns office at Dobson House, Killingworth, makes it into our top 10.
Designed and built in 1968 by Bill Stonor - one of the partners in the architects’ practice - Dobson Houses uses Burolandschaft (open-plan offices to you and me) with a combination of steel frame, dark brown brick and a bronze-tinted glass external wall. A redevelopment in 2007 saw the building revamped and new space added.