If you have an eye for workspace design, you’ve probably come across pictures of the HQ of Bakken & Bæck designed by Norwegian studio Kvistad in 2017.
Bakken & Bæck is a rapidly expanding digital company based in Oslo, which I’ve had on my radar for a while. They’ve not only gained popularity for some of their products but also, and especially, for their disrupting culture, initiatives, and events.
Today we’re not here to talk about Bakken & Bæck culture but about its office kitchen and dining room.
With this article, I’m kicking off WE Factory’s new series Office Kitchens. Join us as we swing by office kitchen tables, pantries, coffee nooks, and everything in between to explore some of the most intriguing, unconventional and employee-friendly eating spaces around the world and learn about the design, colors, product, and experience decisions.
It’s not an easy task to continually keep re-evaluating and re-inventing the humble workspace––and with that, the sad, sterile, and impractical office kitchens that still are a reality in many of our workplaces. One company at the forefront of this new way I think about the office kitchen is Bakken & Bæck, with its HQ redesigned by the Norwegian design studio, Kvistad.
How Kvistad re-designed cooking and dining at Bakken & Bæck
Ahead, I chat with Ziemowit, one half of familien Kvistad, about the kitchen and dining room design and take a tour of the stylish and innovative Oslo office of Bakken & Bæck.
“The whole project for B&B started in the kitchen and dining room. While we were at the kitchen store, we found some Corian samples, and this blue was there,” shares Ziemowit. Corian is a brand of solid surface material patented by DuPont back in ’67. It’s a popular choice as a kitchen countertop or benchtop surface due to its durability and strength.
“We liked this color straight away, but we didn’t know how we’d use it with other colors and materials.”Author, CEO
Their main inspiration for the project were spaceships from the ’70––that’s why the project is called ‘Scandinavian Spaceship.’ “After a couple of days, Astrid, my partner, had a crazy idea: expand this color in the whole room, floors, walls, ceiling, and cabinets. It seemed crazy at first, but our job was to create something outstanding. I think we managed,” he laughs.
“Our goal was to create a kitchen where it’s possible for everyone to get food almost at the same time. We put a kitchen island where the team picks the food every day. People don’t need to stand in a long line because everything goes around the island. We also think the kitchen looks so much cozier that way,” explain Ziemowit.
When designing an office kitchen it’s important to think about its durability and flexibility. Teams may grow over time, and external people might pop in to cook and serve food. “We wanted to build an ergonomic, beautiful, and functional kitchen that could accommodate an in-house chef if, in the future, there could be a need for it.”
Light is essential in Norway. Kvistad decided not to cover up any space of the window. Instead, they opted for drawer fridges. To match the look, Kvistad also chose plates, glasses, and cutlery.
The Dining Space
The dining space is a well-lit, casual, and comforting environment that fits around 30 people. “We wanted to sit as many people as possible to provide the feeling of being in a cafe while keeping everything in the same style. We put a long sofa to be able to squeeze as many people as possible if needed. To bring more light to the room, we opened a wall behind it,” shares Ziemowit.
To stick to the futuristic spaceship concept, each piece of furniture “had to be on thin legs to give the effect of levitating.” It’s balanced out by natural materials like the Dinesen Oak boards for tables and wool fabric on seats. Both are key elements of Scandinavian design.
“Besides Dinesen, the chairs are the ‘Afteroom’ chairs by Danish design brand MENU and ‘Arkys’ by the Italian furniture brand Eumenes. They are fully bespoke to match the color of the office palette. For the Afteroom chairs, we pre-ordered some fabric to cover them. We couldn’t get pillows in the color we wanted for the Arkys chairs so we custom-made pillows ourselves.”
On the lower floor at B&B, there’s also a small coffee corner and bar. “I’ve worked in the restaurant business for a long time, so, I could finally use my knowledge.”
Photography by Lasse Fløde | Styling by Tea Wolff