Work and play merge in this cool office space

2013-10-06 10:00

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Hipsters are known to drown in the mainstream.

Well, there is nothing mainstream about Missing Link’s Johannesburg offices, so the presentation and conference company’s ultrahip and tattoo-embellished staff need not fear.

In fact, Missing Link bosses forked out R1 million two years ago to transform their 412m² office space into a whacky wonderland with a treehouse meeting room, a fireman’s pole, a shooting-range tunnel in the reception area and a deli caravan.

The office is adorned with graffiti slogans and has its own tattoo parlour, where staff and clients can get inked for free.

Asked about his favourite office feature, company head Richard Mulholland replies: “I love my treehouse. It’s functional and the novelty still gets me every time.

“There are other elements that I really like too, such as the shooting range and the ladies toilet – don’t ask.”

So naturally, we asked. The company’s burgundy women’s bathroom sports a trolley with sex toys under a sign that reads “Help Yourself”.

One toilet cubicle is lined with fake security cameras that flash incessantly as unsettled subjects take a seat.

Missing Link clinched top honours in a survey on South Africa’s coolest work spaces by online job portal Adzuna.

The other top four contenders were marketing giant Ogilvy & Mather in Salt River, consumer collaboration group Instant Grass in Green Point, skincare multinational Union-Swiss and Hubspace, an unorthodox office complex in Woodstock. They are all based in Cape Town.

Gabriel Puliatti of Adzuna says they measured offices based on design and colour, diversity of spaces, quality of the furniture and cultural feel.

Ogilvy & Mather’s cherry-hued office block towers over Sir Lowry Road in Cape Town and is home to 300 employees.

Among other features, the company has two glass elevators and a free bar service every Friday on a sun-washed balcony with views of Table Mountain.

The company’s marketing director, Lauren Woolf, says: “Playfulness is a key habit of highly creative communities.”

Down the road at Instant Grass inside The Foundry, nine staff members share one big desk with plenty of space for clients to pull up a chair. Their boardroom is equipped with a Nintendo Wii video game console, they have a ping-pong table and store their stationery in an old fridge.

The company’s head word-of-mouth strategist, Paul White, says: “The main feature is our long, white desk. This means we all share a space, encouraging collaboration. Our ping-pong table hosts hotly contested tournaments and we have a number of chill-out spaces.”

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