Global architecture and workplace design firm helps Microsoft Ireland create a uniquely inspiring employee and customer experience.

Gensler, a world leading workplace design, architecture and planning firm, along with RKD Architects have helped Microsoft to unveil its brand new campus in south Dublin, Ireland.

Aligning with Microsoft’s goal of creating – One Microsoft – the resolve was to bring together over 2,000 employees dispersed across multiple sites in Dublin, into one unified location, encouraging better collaboration and a sense of community.  Microsoft challenged Gensler to design a workplace which would unite a number of employee groups. With that in mind, Gensler set out to create a uniquely inspiring work environment; a space that is different from all other Microsoft spaces, where great work could be achieved, away from common, traditional designs – taking Microsoft’s design language to a new level.

The result is one of the most exciting projects within Microsoft’s global portfolio. A campus that encourages ‘chance encounters and purposeful collisions’ between people, allowing them to connect and be innovative whilst at the same time strengthening customer relationships and building connections with the local community.

The new 330,000 square foot campus is set within a newly constructed building, designed by RKD Architects and is located in a business park surrounded by woodland and overlooking the Leopardstown racecourse. From the outset, the project was approached in a different way, taking a more human-centric approach.

Gensler moved away from the preconceived idea of an office, centring the concept around the notional idea of an island which consists of all of the typical island components. These components translate to functional workspace. The harbour is the arrival point; the beach is a social space where people share time together; the lake is for reflection, contemplation and a place where all employees can gather; the mountain is for learning and discovery; and the grasslands is the open plan workspace where teams can work in neighbourhoods with focus and collaboration spaces. All these parts are connected by the ‘trail’ – a traditional corridor, reimagined as an actual work environment, where employees can collaborate, focus, socialise or learn.

Utilising different specialists with different design backgrounds within Gensler afforded a much richer wealth of experience and knowledge to feed into the design. For instance, landscape architects helped to manifest the story of the island for the interiors concept and hospitality and retail designers helped to enrich the experience design. Over 70 experts from across Gensler, ranging from brand designers to strategists, helped bring the aspirational concept to life.

Microsoft is an incredibly fast moving and evolving company and Gensler have designed their new flexible office not simply to be able to accommodate their needs, but to fuel the innovation they are renowned for. The new campus is described by Microsoft as “an important milestone in the company’s ongoing cultural transformation”. With more than 2,000 employees  in the new campus, made up of 72 nationalities, it’s a testament to the space’s success that it enables and facilitates team members from different parts of the business, with a diverse range of skill sets and roles, to come together as ‘One Microsoft’ working on behalf of local and global customers.

Amanda Baldwin, Design Director and Senior Associate, Gensler said,

“People are Microsoft’s most important asset and, therefore the foundations of our concept. Our idea took a very human-centric approach. We deliberated about how employees and visitors would interact in the new work environment since this will be the first time these team will be together in the same building, how they would harvest its resources and how they flourish and succeed in this new landscape. We really wanted to understand Microsoft’s culture and its people, to design for their varying needs, their diverse interactions and their potential journeys within the island design concept. Our priority was to connect everyone to everything in a meaningful way, creating an active workplace where movement was both facilitated and enjoyable. This is one of many ways we helped to energize the space. We are delighted to have created an environment which promotes chance happenstances, increased collaboration, enhanced experiences – reinforcing Microsoft’s vision for the space.”

Joanne Morrissey, HR Director, Microsoft Ireland said,

“Our new headquarters in Dublin challenged our team to think critically about employee habits, instincts, and most importantly, the environment which harnesses those behaviours to the best of each employee’s ability. This new campus is about empowerment, expression and authenticity for employees. Our mission – to empower every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more – is being realised by bringing all of the teams together in a single location and helping them to innovate in this new ‘One Microsoft’ culture.”