4 Times Texture Defined a Workspace

The use of texture as a design element can easily be overlooked; few of us regularly run our hands along the surface of walls in buildings we occupy. But just as sound can go unnoticed until you're confronted with silence, the absence of interesting textures can create almost as great a void. Furthermore, whether a branding element, a reflection of company culture, a design requirement, or for practical purposes, texture has the potential to be a defining aspect of a well-designed environment.

With this in mind, we took a look at IA's portfolio for instances where texture was not just an element of design, but ultimately helped to define the space.

Confidential Client (Barcelona )


Yes, this confidential IA client has a reputation for embracing bold, interesting, highly-customized office spaces. And when it came time for them to establish a presence in the home of Antoni Gaudí, the use of textures was taken to the next level.

Ultimately, it was an appreciation of Barcelona's past that most impacted the design. The tactile aspects of black, Gaudí-patterned tiles delight the sense of touch, while the use of tiling in the reception area echo Gaudi’s Park Güell and Casa Vicens. Other, styles of tile in the Barcelona tradition are seen throughout, along with nods to native sons Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso. When you combine these influences with an appreciation for biophilia and different textiles, this location becomes a veritable tour de force of texture.

LinkedIn (Toronto)


Many LinkedIn offices feature an impressive use of texture, and their Toronto presence is one of the most notable examples. Moving through the space, the use of wood is a prime vehicle for incorporating texture. The design includes smooth polished wood surfaces in the reception area, with a punch card-motif seen in floor to ceiling wood features at the elevator lobby. In the café, aged wood panels name unique Toronto food offerings, adding to the variety of wood treatments.

Walls covered in felt leaves, wicker chairs, and the inclusion of different sizes and types of stone make the LinkedIn Toronto location one of the most highly textured spaces designed by the IA team.

Twitter (Seattle)


When Twitter decided to double the size of its Seattle engineering office, the primary goal was to create an ideal environment for their programming team. When designing space for programmers the incorporation of a variety of textures paired with calm, natural colors is key. If users are bombarded by blue light and bright colors very near to their face, they often find a brightly colored, shiny office environment to be a painful experience. For those who spend many hours working in front of screens and relatively little time in alternative work spaces, more neutral, subtle colors can provide the ideal work environment. Marrying this approach with an homage to Seattle's history of timber usage allowed the design team to incorporate wood, paper, live plants, and a variety of textures.

Confidential Client (Milan)


Moving into an iconic 188,000-square-foot complex, a well-known example of 1970's Milanese architecture, was a challenge for this global tech company for many reasons —but a range of textures provided convenient solutions. The design team filled this landmark building in "the Milanese Silicon Valley" with a variety of acoustic panels to combat noise concerns, employed a selection of biophilia elements to help make the space feel more open (and aid in employee wellness initiatives), and incorporated many different surfaces to support wayfinding and accomplish aesthetic goals. Furniture selection and flooring choices add to the diversity of textures.

IA is a global firm of architects, designers, strategists, and specialists. We focus exclusively on environments through the lens of interior architecture—a radical idea in 1984, when IA was founded. We are highly connected agents of change, committed to creativity, innovation, growth, and community.