Fuelling culture and innovation with TravelPerk

Projects | 22 March, 2019

Bringing TravelPerk’s startup spirit and ‘work in progress’ ethos to their new workspace in Barcelona’s iconic Torre Glòries.

The Challenge

Our challenge was to create a polyvalent space that serves and scales to the company culture of TravelPerk, one of Europe’s fastest growing startups. Since our client is a disruptor in the industry of business travel management, our approach had to be equally dynamic. For this project we needed to create a workspace flexible enough to accommodate their continued expansion and the varied methodologies of the different teams spread across four floors. We also needed to create environments to encourage collaboration and that responded to employee concerns about noise disruption and having enough meeting spaces.

The Outcome

Our final design communicates the company’s ethos of continual growth and innovation through the internal architecture, which reflects a “work in progress” sensibility.

We created delineated zones that enable specific behaviours, creating boundaries between areas of movement and concentration that give employees the control to pick the environment that best supports their current task. By controlling and encouraging behaviour through architectural cues, the mix of quiet, collaborative, and active spaces creates a balance that facilitates team building and productivity.

An emblematic building, an innovative client

Barcelona is flourishing as a startup hub not only in Spain but also in Europe. At the center of this tech scene sits the iconic Jean Nouvel-designed Torre Glòries, where TravelPerk has moved into four floors to share the building with tenants like Facebook and Oracle.

Having tripled their team in 2018, TravelPerk has received nearly $75m in total funding since it was founded in 2015 and increased revenue growth by 700% year on year.

As a disruptor in their industry poised for continued growth, it was important for them that our design concepts reflect and support the prestige of their position but more importantly the unique work culture that has driven their success.

Space as a collaborator

To create a space that authentically supports and fits the company culture, our design needed to include a variety of areas to accommodate the diverse roles and needs of employees while still bringing them together as a single team. To do this, our design combines the best of both private and open spaces to create flexible and activity-based environments.

Inspired by Torre Glòries’ circular floor plan, these polyvalent spaces begin at the core and move outwards. With silent spaces like the library at the center, followed by the walk and work circulation pathway and then the multi-use cabins that serve as a ‘buffer’ to the open workspace on the outer edge, each area facilitates a different behaviour and method of work. Meeting rooms, easy to book one to one spaces, and phone booths contribute to the variety of options available to users, giving them control over their level of interaction depending on their needs.

A proud work in progress

As a disruptor in what has until recently been a traditional industry, TravelPerk defines itself as a work in progress, not just in terms of their continued expansion but also in that they are always striving to improve their product.

For that reason, an overly polished workspace would be disingenuous to their culture and could even hamper the creativity and continued innovation the company encourages. By showing details of construction, like how the external wood walls of the cabins have been left bare except for minimal wayfinding signage, we authentically communicated these values and helped facilitate them. Though each space has been strategically thought out and designed, their intuitive and almost spontaneous appearance helps support the impromptu one to one meetings, phone calls, and collaborations that they were designed to hold.

Conclusion

Our intervention creates subtle gestures that encourage procedures and processes without being forceful or restrictive. By using space as a strategic framework in the development of a rapidly growing startup, TravelPerk’s new physical environment becomes an impactful accelerator while still holding true to the company’s original culture.

TravelPerk now has a space that unites its teams, supports its identity as a work in progress, and has the flexibility to continue to facilitate collaboration and innovation as they continue to expand.

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* Photography: Rubén P. Bescos for STUDIO BANANA.