This article was originally published by Metropolis Magazine as "The Big Ideas Behind Microsoft’s New 'Design Language.'" Microsoft is undertaking an ambitious overhaul of its 800 offices around the world and uncovering great insights about the intersections of technology and workplace design in the process. The technology giant’s global director of workplace strategies, Riku Pentikäinen, speaks to Metropolis’s Avinash Rajagopal about the company’s new workplaces, collaborating with designers and furniture manufacturers, and how his team takes a data-driven approach to office design. Avinash Rajagopal: You recently opened a number of new workplaces, and there’s a broader strategy around workplace design in place at Microsoft. What drove that? Riku Pentikäinen: Going back a couple of years, I saw Microsoft doing a lot of cool spaces from a design perspective, but they didn’t have a whole lot in common. Two years ago, we started a project to establish a design language for Microsoft. It’s very tricky to do—everybody will have a view, and most times it’s not aligned, so how do you establish that for a company? What should Microsoft look and feel like?
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