In a crowded startup market, entrepreneurs may look to make not only their products, but also their physical offices stand out, and more businesses could weigh the advantages and disadvantages of unorthodox design.
One design of interest could help avant-garde small businesses and quirky startups both find space and stand out: Russia's Za Bor Architects' new "Parasite Office" concept.
The Parasite Office, which was featured in the Atlantic in April, would fill the spaces between already existing buildings with modular office space.
The firm's designers came up with the idea by examining their surroundings in Moscow, where two buildings are commonly separated by an alley or plot of land. The Parasite Office structure would be held aloft between two buildings, by steel clamps, and would be stationed high enough off the ground that pedestrians would be able to walk underneath it. For added effect, The Za Bor Architects' design would also glow at nighttime.
Still in the concept phase, Parasite's model faces some significant challenges, like how the untraditional way it fills spaces might fit with varying construction and zoning laws.
While offices on the Parasite model would not be huge in size, small offices can prove effectively intimate for small businesses. Without overwhelming square footage, a small team can come together to optimize its space without as many differences in opinion on how such a space should be designed.
And because effective design can often take precedence over size, both small businesses and notable architects can promote their efficiency by being able to do more with less. Optimizing space can also mean using new technologies as well as other unconventional approaches to office work, such as non-hierarchical planning, desk-sharing and working from home.
Small businesses that don't like the idea of being squished could consider building up instead of between. The Atlantic also references the headquarters of architectural firm Daiken-Met, located in the city of Gifu in central Japan. With a mobile steel frame at its foundation, the Sugoroku Office is composed of seven stacked shipping containers that have their interiors outfitted with used plywood. For Daiken-Met, the unique construction allows short-term rental contracts and a sense of mobility.