Great Designs: Top 5½ Most Famous Offices


In our #GreatDesigns series, we’ve had a lot of fun looking at weird and wonderful office interiors (we’re still hoping that someone will order a Google-type slide for their redesign!). But given that offices need to reflect the work that goes on inside them, games rooms, funky colours and playfulness may not be appropriate. We’ve been looking at some of the most famous offices to see how well they match what goes on inside them.



1. The Oval Office in the White House

The office inhabited by the President of the United States is probably the most famous office in the world. It’s been the background to countless photo opportunities since Franklin Roosevelt moved the President’s office to that room in 1934. Whilst every president since then has had the interior decorated to suit his own tastes, it has always been recognisably the Oval Office because of a few constants: the desk, which was a gift to the President from Queen Victoria in 1880; the US flag and the President’s flag which have always stood behind the office desk; and the presidential seal. Whatever the subtle differences in decoration, the interior of the Oval Office has always reflected the gravity of the work that goes on inside it.



2. The Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street

Back on this side of the pond, the British government does its work in equally grand surroundings, though with a somewhat longer history. The Cabinet Room in 10 Downing Street has been the centre of Government policy and decision-making since 1796 when William Pitt the Younger had two rooms knocked through. The room is dominated by the 40 foot, boat-shaped mahogany table in the centre - it was commissioned by Harold Macmillan in 1959 to give the PM a clear view of everyone. There are 23 mahogany chairs around the table, but only one - the PM’s - has armrests. It’s obvious who’s in charge! The room doubles as a library with books donated by each serving prime minister. If ever there was an office which reflected the weight of the decisions made in it, it’s this one.


10 Downing Street & the Cabinet Room - London


The Cabinet Room is behind one of the most famous doors in the world ~ Image source: Crown Copyright 2013



3. Lloyd’s of London

Concrete and steel are unusual materials for a global insurance underwriter to create its office out of. The Lloyd’s Building sprang up from the ruins of the more traditional Portland stone building it replaced in 1986. It has become known as the ‘inside-out building’ because of its exterior staircases, lifts and pipes which are visible to neighbours and passers-by. With an expensive design nod to the more traditional roots of the company, the Committee Room (also known as the Adam Room), which is an 18th-century dining room designed in 1763, was transferred piece by piece from a former Lloyd's building across the road. Even today, the building still seems futuristic and has been used as a film location on many occasions.


Lloyds of London - Adam Room


The Committee Room, also know as the Adam Room | Image Source: Lloyd's of London / Wikimedia Commons



4. BBC Newsroom


Viewers of the BBC news will see this office every time they switch on the television. Newsreaders sit in front of New Broadcasting House’s fully operational newsroom, where you can see a live view of BBC journalists at work (or sometimes putting their coat on to go home!)

New Broadcasting House was also used as the real life set for W1A, a satire about working for the BBC which, apart from mocking itself, enabled viewers to see the inspiring interior of the rest of the building, with its light filled atria, dramatic staircases and colourful lift shafts. A great combination of styles and designs to reflect the work of a famous news and entertainment broadcaster.



BBC Broadcasting House - Newsroom


BBC Broadcasting House - Newsroom | Image source: Steve Bowbrick from Radlett, United Kingdom / Wikimedia Commons



Fictional offices:


5. The Office

David Brent presided over an uninspiring, largely colourless office space with off the peg furniture which deliberately reflected the monotony of their workload and the greyness of their base in Slough. The TV series concentrated on the struggles of Brent and his employees to brighten up their working day - it’s hardly surprising they sometimes resorted to juvenile behaviour in an effort to rise above the grey.


BBC's The Office - Photo by Adrian Rogers


The most famous office in Slough? | Image source: Adrian Rogers / BBC



5½. The Apprentice

The famous boardroom in the BBC series isn’t strictly an office, nor is it strictly a boardroom... because it’s a film set! The modern minimalism and stark design adds to the nervousness of the candidates and encourages them to make mistakes - this is not a relaxed or friendly office space. The addition of back-lighting behind Lord Sugar’s ‘throne’ makes him even more intimidating as he goes about his job of hiring and firing...well, firing mostly.


BBC's The Apprentice


You're Fired! The famous boardroom you want to be in... ~ Image source: BBC



Office interiors are a great reflection of your corporate ideals and company culture, call us on 01438 731990 - we’ve got lot of ideas!