Imagine entering an office in the Middle East and feeling like you’re in a European ski resort. SkiDeal is a prominent Israeli tourism company specialising in full-package ski vacations in prime European resorts. The company’s offices are located in the heart of Israel, in the “Ir Yamim” towers in Netanya, Israel.
OK Design took the inspiration for the 350sqm office design is derived entirely from the world of skiing, including materials, colors, ambiance, and experiential elements. The objective was to design a ski environment within the office space that sits in complete contrast to the dry desert climate of its Israeli surroundings, presenting an alternative reality to the outside world.
The primary focus of the project was to create an environment where employees and customers would genuinely feel as if they were entering a ski resort. While many design projects incorporate surrounding landscapes as a complement, the SkiDeal office’s proximity to the Mediterranean Sea presented views that stood in contrast to the theme of the space.
The design’s authenticity was key to achieving the client’s goal of motivating employees, given that they are skiing afficionados. Skiing is a significant aspect of their lives, and the goal was to provide them with a work environment that, while functional and departmental, would also echo their passion.
“In addition to the main concept of creating a ski environment, we were very cognoscente of the fact that this is a functional office, so our approach also focused on noise reduction that facilitates the transition,” says designer Keren Offner. “In terms of ambiance, our choice of materials and colors serve to transition people to the skiing world.”
One of the challenges to the overall design was balancing the intimacy of the environment with the concept of an open office space. The solution came in the form of glass walls with pinewood frames, and office divisions that pass through drywall openings.
Upon entering the office’s main glass door, visitors are greeted by a wide reception desk and seating area. Behind the reception desk, a wall cupboard rotates into the space, transforming into an après ski open bar, complete with a large iron library. A pinewood harmonica window separates the bar from a large adjacent conference room. When opened, the window connects the bar with the conference room to create a larger open space. The conference room also serves as a sort of courtyard area, where conference calls are held with various ski resorts and big screen TVs broadcast skiing events from around the world.
The secret to creating the core transition was the abundant use of three-ply pinewood, used to create separator walls, to frame the office’s display cases, and to line the ceiling in the form of plates. Abundant use of the wood draws its inspiration from the pine tree surroundings of ski resorts, as well as construction materials used to build ski chalets.
The space’s light gray walls and smooth concrete floors frame a colorful ski world of blue skies, white snow, and green pine trees. All of the office furniture is white, and the lighting design accentuates the architecture to emphasize divisions of space and create focal points. Warm lighting throughout the space creates a cozy environment, while a combined lighting/acoustic solution implemented in the sales area conjures up hints of mountain views upon approach.
Photo credit: Amit Geron