Retail in the Office

At first glance, this looks like a huge retail warehouse where you could spend the entire day shopping, kind of like an upscale Ikea.  In fact, it is actually Urban Outfitters’  corporate headquarters, Urban Inc. in Philadelphia. In my opinion, this makes it much more interesting and quite different from your normal retail warehouse.Originally the space was a navy shipyard, but when it was taken over by Urban Inc. the huge metal ships and seamen soon went away and it was filled with hundreds of creative, fashion conscious employees. The space itself is gigantic; but the use of various textures, colors, and fixtures brings the scale down to human size. In fact, small rooms and sitting spaces are organized amidst the massive columns and beams. These spaces are perfect for collaboration and impromptu meetings.

The space itself seems to be pretty basic, with the raw components completely exposed and little effort to add large architectural elements – not that they really need them. However, the merchandise, furniture, and fixtures bring the space to life with color and pattern. There is no hiding the mess, but instead there is an overall feeling of celebrating and sharing what is being created. There are clothes hanging from all different types of fixtures, huge windows with no blinds, and constant change throughout the space.  Although the shipyard has turned into an office, Urban Outfitters has brought retail into their own working space.  The effect – pretty invigorating. The problem – I don’t know how I wouldn’t want to shop.

Always good to have some life in the office.

Doesn’t look as pretty all piled up, but love the beauty among the chaos.

Colorful chairs, huge windows, and an entire wall filled with new ideas… who wouldn’t want to meet here?

Images via Vectroave.

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