Great Designs: Iconic Offices in Film


The most famous TV office manager is about to go to the movies. David Brent: Life on the Road will be released in cinemas in August. From the looks of it, he probably won’t be spending a lot of time in the office, but given that this is the last in our #GreatDesigns series, it gives us a good excuse to get ourselves a big box of popcorn and settle in front of the silver screen to take a look at the most iconic offices in films.



1. 9 to 5

A 1980s classic about friendship and revenge as women with big hair fight back against their misogynistic boss. What’s more, the cheesy theme tune is still able to fill dance floors! Brown was obviously the ‘in’ colour for office design at the time of filming...



9-5 | Image Source: USA Today



2. Working Girl

Another ‘80s classic where a lowly office worker fights against adversity, but this time the dreadful boss is a woman. This is the workplace’s take on a rags to riches story, and as in all good moral tales, everyone gets their just desserts. Cramped, windowless offices were the norm for the majority of workers… though #spoileralert, our heroine did end up with a bigger desk and a window of her own.



Working Girl | Crossroads



3. The Wolf of Wall Street

Based on a true story, this film looks at the excesses of Wall Street in the late ‘80s; the corporate greed and heady power struggles which ultimately led to Black Monday. The standard office decor of the time was obscured by all the partying - sadly not a service SEC Interiors offers.



The Wolf of Wall Street | Image Source: Elite Daily




4. All the Presidents Men

Set mostly in the offices of the Washington Post, this is a taut story following journalists Woodward and Berstein as they uncover the Watergate scandal. As you’d expect in a busy newsroom, the office layout was cramped, full of untidy desks and not a computer in sight!



All the Presidents Men | Image Source: The



5. The Apartment

What would you do to keep your boss happy? This iconic film released in 1960 is based around one ambitious office worker’s attempt to curry favour by lending his apartment to his bosses so they can have extra-marital affairs. The drab, uniform office interior was designed to show why the hero was so keen to get promotion.



The Apartment | Image Source: DVD Beaver



6. American Psycho

More shenanigans from the excess of Wall Street in the 1980s. In this extremely dark comedy, rampant materialism and envy over a business card unleashes a serial killer’s frenziedly homicidal spree. Set in the financial area, office fit out was sleek and ultra modern.



American Psycho | Image Source: Lionsgate Entertainment



7. Glengarry Glen Ross

Set in a real estate’s office with the threat of redundancy hanging over one of them, four agents fight for survival. Jack Lemon’s award-winning portrayal of the office loser has been parodied many times... As befitted a failing company, the office layout was a drab collection of metal filing cabinets covered in chaos.



Glengarry Glen Ross | Image Source: Jerry Tokofsky / Stanley R. Zupnik



8. Wall Street

Possibly the most iconic about Wall Street from the ‘80s, this time coming from the point of view that ‘Greed is good’. Michael Douglas turned in an Oscar winning performance as the deeply unlikeable Gordon Gekko. High fliers in Wall Street, of course, got sumptuous offices - lots of leather and wood.



Wall Street | Image Source: Allstar / 20th Century Fox / Sportsphoto Ltd. / Allstar



9. Up in the Air

No so much working in an office as being fired from it. Beginning from the perspective of getting a job done efficiently and with as many air miles as possible, the movie gradually introduced the idea that everyone on the receiving end of a redundancy package is a real human being. The office designs in the movie were deliberately as efficient and soulless as the leading character.




Up in the Air | Image Source: DW Studios



10. Office Space

Not very well known, but this 1999 film from the creator of King of the Hill and Beavis and Butt-Head has become something of a cult classic. It takes a satirical look at the soulless side of corporate culture and the bonds that can grow between colleagues. The setting was largely grey and white, windowless and with very few personal touches.



Office Space | Image Source: Daniel Rappaport / Michael Rotenberg



We hope you’ve enjoyed our short series of #GreatDesigns in the office. If you’d like to create your own, film inspired office, then talk to our designers to find out what’s possible.