Touring the Virgin Hotels office with their VP of Design

The sleek design and original features on display throughout Virgin Hotels Chicago has won over both locals and visitors alike, with the hotel receiving many plaudits for its unashamedly Virgin style. But what about the offices at Virgin Hotels? We visited their Miami HQ to take a look and get some insight from their VP of Design, Teddy Mayer...

Virgin Hotels are contemporary by design yet grounded in the community, welcoming all with a thoughtful approach that is comfortable and playful, even flirtatious at times but never stuffy or over the top.

We look to capture the essence of a place, in this case Coconut Grove, then layer it with the three key attributes of the brand - fun, sexy and smart. The program layout of the office was inspired by the program of our Commons Club, including signature brand elements throughout our properties. The front entry "porch" (with signature red door and dog sculpture), the funny library with communal table, books and games, the secret shag room and finally the main Commons Club bar and lounge.

The Coconut Grove influenced elements include the light, warm color palette with light wood and gold metal accents, along with tons of foliage reflecting the tropical paradise outside. Original botanical architectural motifs at both ends of the Commons are repeated in the fun, red carpet runway extending through the middle of the office - which is the ideal place for the team to strut their stuff! There are also mid-century and contemporary elements, subtly reflecting the signature Miami style. 

Read: Why I love working in coffee shops

The few rules Raul [Virgin Hotels CEO] gave me were: no private offices, although we had to have phone booths, a great space to entertain guests and have team lunches or celebrations and it had to be fun and comfortable to clearly reflect the virgin brand and culture.

The desk design promotes wellness and giving every desk a sit/stand function shows our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our team. The file cabinet rolling benches at each desk encourages visitors and collaboration. The desks are all the same size as a way to eliminate hierarchy, which in return allowed us to provide more communal space for collaboration and provide individuals with a variety of places to work other than just at our desks. Many tech start-ups and innovation led compromises use these tactics but non with the Virgin Hotels flair!

The office design reflects the culture in that we are open, collaborative and very social. Sharing of ideas and collaboration in an open environment allows for this. However not everyone works well every day in an open space, so the smaller areas such as the phone booths and shag room give individuals a place to work alone or in small groups in a quiet setting.

Personal expression and individuality is important to our culture as well, so you will see many candid photos and fun objects with personal meaning which conveys a general sense that you are in a creative, free-thinking environment. We wanted to be the antithesis of a corporate office.

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