When Irish Life approached us with the challenge of creating a breakout room unlike anything they had done before, we were excited to take on the task. The brief was open and flexible, with only the name of the room, "The Hive," set in stone. Inspired by this name, we embarked on a design journey centred around the hexagon as the main design language.
The goal of the breakout room was to provide a retreat from the daily work environment on the second floor of the Irish Life building. We wanted to create a space that fostered playfulness and mindfulness, allowing staff members to relax and forge deeper connections with their colleagues. The key requirements were a pool table, ping pong table, air hockey table, and two monitors for presentations to approximately 30 people.
To infuse a sense of vibrancy and energy into the space, we introduced pop art elements. One illustration captured the essence of Dublin, reflecting the company's roots, while screen prints from local artist, Jando Design, adorned the walls, showcasing 12 iconic Dublin landmarks. These additions not only sparked conversations but also encouraged new employees to explore different parts of the city.
One of the design challenges involved the large windows that lined the hallway. We wanted to maintain privacy while incorporating an element of fun. Our solution was the introduction of a "ball pit wall." By sandwiching 60 mm plastic balls between two panes of glass, we created a colourful and interactive feature that was both inside and outside the room.
The TV wall became a focal point, housing 22 stools nestled within hexagonal housings permanently fixed to the wall. This space-saving design not only added a vibrant touch to the room but also ensured that everyone had a seat during presentations or meetings. The stools could easily slide out when needed, optimizing the room's functionality.
Overall, the breakout room at Irish Life embodies a balance between functionality, creativity, and a sense of playfulness. It serves as a vibrant escape where employees can relax, engage in friendly competition, and foster meaningful connections. The unique design elements, from the pop art illustrations to the ball pit wall, create an environment that stimulates conversation and invites exploration of Dublin's rich cultural heritage.