Polestar's innovative office design by Space Matrix

Fast forward to the future: How innovation drives Polestar's office design

Fast forward to the future: How innovation drives Polestar’s office design

The typewriter, the floppy disk, the pager — all these office staples were breakthrough technologies in their time. Today, you would be hard pressed to find even a single one of these items in a modern workplace.

With technology and design evolving at breakneck speed, staying relevant in an ever-changing market is no mean feat. As most companies realise, future-readiness is the key to success. Being future-ready however, is not just about the products you create — it should also be reflected in the space you work in. It is no longer enough to design workspaces for immediate requirements. One needs to anticipate future needs, plan for growth and design a comprehensive future-facing workplace strategy.

This is especially true for companies like Polestar. An electric performance car brand from the Volvo Car Group, Polestar designs futuristic vehicles that help reduce dependence on traditional combustion engines. With the sheer innovativeness of its product, Polestar competes with some of the top players in its domain. Futuristic technology is a core part of their business. So we created an award-winning office design that would bring that spirit of innovation to the everyday work lives of their employees.

See how Polestar’s Shanghai office brings the future right to employees’ fingertips.

1. Flexibility in spatial design

The futuristic vibes of the space are apparent as soon as you enter Polestar’s office. Instead of a traditional reception area, visitors are greeted by a cutting-edge display wall where videos are played. The minimalistic waiting lounge features chic, curved sofas where one can sit comfortably. On either side, visitors will see curved, glazed glass walls that section off the conference room and the managers’ spaces.


Flexibility in spatial design


Deeper within the office, employees sit in an open plan work area with wall-to-wall windows. The glittering Shanghai city-scape visible on one side makes for an inspiring backdrop, even for day-to-day tasks. There are height-adjustable workstations interspersed through the area, where people can work in comfort through the day. The high bench in front of the pantry offers an extra touch of flexibility — this can be used as a pantry table, as well as a meeting or collaboration zone when required.


Flexibility in spatial design 2


We have also made a corner office view accessible to all. A 35 square meter space in one corner of the building has been designed to serve as a breakout zone, an informal meeting area or a waiting lounge, and it affords a spectacular view to anyone using the space. These flexible elements in spatial design give top priority to employees’ comfort and let them enjoy full control over their work environment.

2. Automated lighting controls

Since sustainability is at the heart of what Polestar does, we ensured that this value was reflected in the office design too. Sustainable workplace design is one of the top features of a smart office — and the automated lighting system in Polestar’s Shanghai office helped it make the cut.


Automated lighting controls


Apart from saving 9000¥ per year, and helping the company achieve a LEED Gold Certification, this automated lighting system gives employees a futuristic workplace experience. They no longer need to worry about switching off after themselves or having to deal with changing light levels through the day. Thanks to pre-set timers, lights are automatically activated between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays. Post 6 p.m., the lights are controlled by motion detectors — they come on when someone is in the room, and switch off automatically shortly after they have left.

The intelligent system also has illuminance sensors that detect the amount of natural light coming in, and regulates the artificial lights accordingly, so that the room is never too harshly lit or too dark with lengthening shadows. Employees can also control the way the space is lit. Separate meeting modes, speaking modes, sweeping modes and full pass modes let them change the light levels based on different scenarios through the day. When they are having an informal discussion with colleagues or viewing a presentation on their screens, they can dim the lights for optimum comfort.

3. Meeting sharing and booking system

Trying to plan and schedule meetings can be a frustrating experience for employees around the world. The results of a survey revealed that it is common for people to spend a cumulative total of six weeks in a year simply managing meetings. Trying to find an empty conference room just adds to the unproductivity. Together, it results in a whole lot of time wasted before a meeting has even begun.


Meeting sharing and booking system


We wanted Polestar’s employees to be able to avoid having their day interrupted by such unproductive tasks. We incorporated an intelligent meeting sharing system that allows people to set up discussions quickly and effectively. Using the room booking feature, they can reserve meeting rooms well in advance, and save themselves the trouble of having to traipse through the entire office looking for an empty space.

4. Tech operated lockers

Technology-operated smart lockers are yet another futuristic addition that lets employees enjoy a deeper sense of ownership of their workspace.

Housed in stainless steel cabinets near the open office area, these lockers had to be given a clean, futuristic look to go with the rest of the office interior. To achieve this, we moved away from traditional lockers with unsightly handles. The smart lockers in the Polestar office can be unlocked with a mobile app — an employee simply needs to key in their code on their phone and wait for their locker to pop up and open.

This frees people from having to carry around a key card at all times or facing the hassle of being locked out if they cannot find it in a hurry. The locker system is operated by a dedicated server, and all access data is stored securely in an external drive. This offers an added sense of security and privacy, which truly enables people to think of their locker space as their own.

Security and aesthetic reasons aside, these tech-operated lockers are an innovative addition to the office space. Having your own locker pop up and unlock as you approach feels like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. This futuristic touch is indeed a reflection of Polestar’s ideals of making dreams a reality.

Keen to embrace a future-facing workplace strategy and set up your business for success? We can help! Reach out to us for a consultation.