Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office

Suppose Design Office recreates Japanese engawa inside Slack's Tokyo outpost

Suppose Design Office has reimagined traditional elements of Japanese architecture inside the Tokyo workspace of tech company Slack.

Slack's Tokyo office is located just opposite the city's Imperial Palace gardens and has been designed by locally based Suppose Design Office to "define a new traditional atmosphere", mixing typical Japanese aesthetics with contemporary work culture.

"When Slack asked us to design their new office in Tokyo, the first challenge for us was to translate their culture and approach into a space that could be in dialogue with the local context," said the studio.

Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office

The perimeter of the office, which overlooks the verdant gardens, has been completed with a black-painted drop ceiling and flooring.

Chairs upholstered in dark grey fabric, stone benches and leafy potted plants have been placed at regular intervals.

It's intended to look like an engawa – a wooden or bamboo ledge that runs around the outside edge of traditional Japanese buildings. Shaded by the eaves of the building's roof, the area serves as an indoor-outdoor space where people can sit unaffected by the heat or rain.

Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office

"The engawa connects all the different parts of the space, serving as the main circulation axis and lounge area," explained the studio.

"It blurs the boundaries between inside and outside, becoming a place of casual communication and connection with the landscape."

Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office

Further nods to the outdoors come in the form of the office's gravel-lined corridors that are centred by a sequence of stepping stones, much like what could be seen across a pond.

Other than the sea-green high-stools that surround a chunky breakfast island in the breakout area, the colours throughout the rest of the workspace have been kept dark – sofas, side tables and the counter in the lobby are all black.

Light-hued timber has been used to craft communal work tables and employees' formal desks.

Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office

Suppose Design Office was established in the year 2000 and works out of offices in Hiroshima and Tokyo.

This isn't the only workspace that the studio has designed – back in 2016 it created an office for home rental website Airbnb, where spaces are meant to resemble traditional Japanese tearooms.

The studio also designed its own office in Tokyo's Shibuya ward, decking it out in industrial materials like concrete, steel and reclaimed wood.

Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office

Its Slack office is shortlisted in the large workspace interior category of the 2019 Dezeen Awards.

It will compete against projects like the Gusto headquarters in San Francisco, which occupies a former warship workshop and the Expensify offices in Oregon, which takes over a century-old bank.

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Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office
Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office
Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office
Slack Tokyo office, designed by Suppose Design Office