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7 Inspiring Breakout Spaces for Your Next Office Design Project

Posted on Oct 5, 2016, by Mike Brown

How many of your clients want to redesign or update their breakout spaces as part of their office redesigns? A good breakout space can be a valuable addition to any office space, boosting team productivity and creativity. However, a poorly-designed one, which doesn’t fit in with the office aesthetic or company culture, will become an unused, neglected space which provides no value to your client.

Today I’m looking at 3 things you need to consider when designing office breakout spaces, and sharing 7 creative breakout spaces to inspire your next office design project.

Featured image: PKWARE, Inc. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

3 Office Breakout Space Essentials

Your client’s breakout space will provide their employees with a space for collaboration, informal meetings, or simply a space to work away from their normal, heads-down workspace. A change of environment has been proven to boost creativity, so it’s essential that breakout spaces are markedly different from heads-down workspace. You should consider these three essential elements of breakout spaces:

  • Furniture - it shouldn’t feel like ‘just another desk’ for people to work at. Some companies like to create a more relaxed environment with sofas or even beanbags.
  • Flexibility - different people will use breakout spaces in different ways. It needs to facilitate both individual working and small, informal meetings, so a flexible layout is key.
  • Color - bright colors can make your client’s breakout space more attractive. Your clients may want to use it as a way to incorporate company colors into their office design, too.


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7 Breakout Spaces to Inspire You - and Your Clients


Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA. Design firm: Chemistry in Place

PKWARE_Inc_breakout_space.jpgPKWARE dedicates a lot of floor space to their breakout area. With ping pong, sofas and beanbag seating (not pictured), it couldn’t be more different to their employees’ normal, heads-down workspace.

Instead, it provides employees with a space to spend time together in a more informal setting - have some fun, or a relaxed chat, without leaving the office.

JDA Software

Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Design firm: Corgan

JDA_Software_breakout_space.jpgJDA Software is another company providing in-office entertainment for their employees. Additionally, they have chosen a range of seating options to provide flexibility for their employees, and also to bring color into their office - a stark contrast to their heads-down workspace.

HomeStreet Bank

Seattle, Washington, USA. Design firm: Home Street Bank Corporate Real Estate


This breakout space is an interesting example of biophilic design - one of this year’s hottest design trends. The ‘tree’ becomes a central focal point for this breakout space, with lots of different seating options around it. With different flooring, different seating options and even different lighting, HomeStreet Bank do all they can to clearly differentiate their breakout space from the rest of their office.


San Francisco, California, USA. Design firm: O + A.


This is a different type of breakout space: as well as providing a collaborative space with sofas, there is also a more private space - the wall nook. Both of these areas give employees at Cisco the opportunity to move away from their main workspace and get a change of environment - individually or in groups.

NBC Sports Group HQ

Stamford, Connecticut, USA. Design firm:  Mancini Duffy


Most companies won’t have nearly as much space to dedicate to breakout areas as NBC Sports Group. However, this vibrant look could easily be incorporated into a smaller space by using lots of different seating options in different colors and fabrics, to brighten up your client’s office breakout space.


San Francisco, California, USA. Design firm: Studio O+A


Uber’s breakout area is a great example of how companies work to improve privacy in open offices. This closed space is distinctly separate from their main workspace, with enough space for small groups to work together without distracting their colleagues

Google 1808 North Shoreline

Mountain View, California, USA. Design firm: Boora Arch


Google’s breakout space consists of several individual ‘pods’. Rather than offering collaborative spaces, these are designed to give individual workers a quiet spot to work, away from their heads-down workspace. Offering a change of work environment has been shown to boost productivity, and these spaces are designed to keep people focused on their own work, but in a more comfortable, less formal environment.


Mike Brown

Written by Mike Brown