Inspired workplaces create inspired teams

iSoftbet designs captivating games that attract and entertain a wide range of audiences. With a list of clients that include some of the world’s largest and most successful e-gaming operators – this is a company that’s going places. Indeed, the firm’s recent relocation to larger offices in Bisazza Street, Sliema was due in part to their forthcoming plans for expansion.

When iSoftbet approached us to take over the design of the new offices, our first step was to understand not only their brand, vision aind modus operandi – but also the people and corporate culture. Frequent visits from high profile clients and from colleagues regularly flying over from iSoftbet’s UK offices meant the space needed to meet a very specific design criteria. Impressive and professional. Open and welcoming. Functional for today, with the flexibility to cater for tomorrow’s ambitions. 

Our proposal looked at workplace ergonomics that could enhance team performance and productivity – with spaces for relaxation and collaboration. Using innovation to drive our design, the result is an office space based on symmetry with creative yet functional focal points. As a leading player in game innovation, iSoftbet’s new offices are visually engaging and provide the team with an environment that can grow with their success.

Location

St Julian’s

Area

235sqm

Project Type

Office Interior Design

01

Discovery Stage

People are at the heart of iSoftbet’s business. A team that relishes taking complex concepts and products and making them easy to use and understand. Their passion for technology and gaming is surpassed only by their strong sense of adventure and excitement. A brand with a vibrant personality and a strong focus on delivering their core business brilliantly.

When iSoftbet’s management team approached Angie the Architect to take on the design and execution of their new office space, the brief was clear: design a space that iSoftbet could call their own. Where clients would feel welcome and where openness could foster a culture of collaboration, connectivity in a truly flexible environment.

The existing office space was previously owned by a different iGaming company, so it was important to the iSoftbet team that the environment could be re-designed to specifically reflect their brand.

We wanted to design a space that represented our clients’ evolving future with an environment that was flexible to grow in and could handle multi-functional purposes. This meant creating a dynamic flow through-out the office that incorporated a mix of openness and inclusion.

We appreciated this project had its challenges, not least of all the short time frame we had to work within. But with the right network of suppliers and a dedicated project manager the outcome was truly successful.

An office interior design that embodies the heart of iSoftbet’s brand: simplicity, creativity and personality.

02

Design & Planning

Just off Bisazza Street in Sliema, iSoftbet’s new offices are located on the 5th floor of an existing office block. This level is flooded with natural light, through balconies on two sides and multiple windows offering varying views of the surroundings.

For people to get the best experience of a workplace, the design must complement their actions, their needs and above all by indirectly telling them that they matter to the business.

That’s why at the start of every project, our approach is to begin by really understanding the nature of our client’s business. We ask questions, explore the space – we learnt how iSoftbet intended to grow from an existing team of 6 to 20 people within a short time frame. We started to build a picture of the company’s day to day operations. We studied how our client’s team was likely to interact with the space – whether seated at their desks, having their lunch, or needing a private space to hold meetings or make a quick call.

Due to the nature of their business and with a sister company based in London – technology and constant access to communication was of paramount importance to the company. Team members from the UK would make frequent visits to Malta for extended periods of time, so our design had to consider providing them with a comfortable area to work in.

iSoftbet also has a large client base of some of the most well-known gaming brands in Malta. This meant their offices were constantly being used for onsite meetings and briefing sessions with their customers. The designs we worked on had to provide impact, but function according to the business needs. Although predominantly an open space, each area of the 235sqm footprint needed to serve a purpose and in some cases more than one.

03

Detailing and Customisation

Making sure the space would make clients feel welcome was our starting point – a reception area befitting of the brand. Clean lines, earth coloured wooden flooring, a dark grey ceiling flecked with intermittent downward pointing spotlights and maximizing the daylight that flooded the entrance. A branded lightbox gave the entrance a hint of technology.

Rather than creating numerous smaller focal points in various corners, we reimagined the space to create a specific ‘wow’ feature area that could be seen and enjoyed by the entire office and by clients upon entry – a beautiful tree enclosed in a space that compliments it.

Symmetry is regularly at the heart of good architecture. Design with harmonic repetition often depicted in traditional elements, such as arches in classical buildings. Working with a 2x1m space which was angled to be visible from four corners, we designed a small room encircled with open white-washed arches, which were painted a bold salmon on the inside. This brilliant colour contrasted elegantly with the green of planted florae we placed in the centre. As a finishing touch, dropped ceiling spider lighting recreated a warm, almost sun-kissed environment – calming but also inspiring.

iSoftbet is renowned for delivering exciting products to their clients. We needed a boardroom that fitted their brand image of flexibility and supercharged creativity. To support this concept, we introduced a triangular boardroom table for client meetings. An intriguing feature that would create a positive impression and was conducive to collaboration. Circular ceiling lighting provided the finishing touch of professionalism to the room, its soft glow effect creating a welcoming environment.

Both logistically and financially it made sense to reuse the existing power and data in the main work area. Electrical floor boxes decided where the seating for the staff would be, but to give us more flexibility we created two planters with wires passing through metal rods that gave us the scope to expand the workspace as needed.

We created 4 clearly defined spaces inside the office, each with separate functions. Using our ceiling design and lighting as guidance to reflect the function of the area, we opted for high bright open spaces for the kitchen, living and dining areas, and darker lower spaces for the quiet zones with phonebooths and the meeting room. We sprayed the flat soffits in the entrance and board room to create focused space and then left the remaining 60×60 soffit tiles for the main workspace from what was there initially.

When colleagues from London come down to Malta from time to time, they need an area they can work from comfortably. A high table and highchairs with strong back support was the answer. Just the right level to work at standing or seated and easy enough to move around the space. This set up is also multifunctional and can be used for internal brainstorming sessions, stand up meetings, 1-1 sessions or even space for staff to stretch their legs and work in an upright standing position for a few hours a day.

Noise and background sound is something we take into serious consideration in our designs, because office space must be conducive to work. Apart from creating a design layout that keeps this in mind, one of the larger walls in the main area was treated acoustically by using two layers of sound absorbing wallpaper. Cut into diagonal lines in black, white, green and grey lines, the wallpaper helped the room’s acoustics level out, making it easier for staff to focus.

In our experience a lot of companies spend more time and money on client facing features. To us, it’s equally important to enhance areas which staff use all the time, as this brings balance to the function of an office. A happy team is a productive one and has a tremendous impact on the growth of a company.

Just off to the right of the main workspace, we dedicated an entire area to a large kitchen/dining/living room. Whitewashed walls played with the natural sunlight and the introduction of parquet flooring made the space feel even more welcoming and helped reduce noise levels. A large wooden dining table and a custom designed wood kitchen created a calm atmosphere – a home away from home. As there was no outdoor area for the staff to use, we wanted to create a space with an outdoor feel to it. So towards one end of this area, we introduced turf flooring and a comfortable sofa and TV area for staff to take a short break in.

We designed two arched entry ways for the wall separating the kitchen/dining area from the main office area. The side facing the desks was painted a deep blue/grey colour and gave us an ideal location on which to place prints with iSoftbet’s core values. With the planned increase in staff in the coming years, this branding would help nurture strong corporate culture as the company’s team grew. We hung a long wall shelf with creeper plants on top to highlight the large format prints. This was also a way of introducing nature and greenery into a small space.

At the back of the central work area small windows offered a stunning view of a church steeple and just beyond the Valletta harbour. We placed window seating here offering a tranquil area for staff when they needed to take a moment away from their desks or find a little quiet space within which to work comfortably. This is where we introduced a phone booth pod, where someone could have a private conversation in peace without being overheard or interrupted.

To separate the main room from this area, we designed a bespoke wooden partition which was part wall, part storage. Large arches provided passageways to both sides of the room, bringing symmetry into the design concept like the entrance feature area. Additional storage was supplied in the server room, spacious kitchen area and the large reception desk to ensure the office was not inundated with unnecessary and unattractive clutter.

One of the nicest features of the newly designed space was the use of the natural lighting. Open archways allowed natural light to meet the main workstation area, but it did not overwhelm it. We strongly believe it’s a pity when companies need to close off light to be able to work by using blinds or curtains. At iSoftbet the light was in areas where it could be enjoyed – not blocked off.

04

Project Manegement & Execution

The concept of ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to workplaces has finally come to end. An organization that’s hungry to attract top talent must create an environment that brings the leadership goals to life and provide an engaging space within which to achieve maximum performance and push the organisation forward.

We work closely with experts in our industry whether it be engineers, manufacturers, lighting specialists and project managers to ensure high quality results. Together with the team hired for this project we were able to execute this captivating transformation of space in only a matter of 3 months.

Considering the level of bespoke designs and custom creations, this was quite an impressive feat. Closely monitoring budgets and progress at every stage of construction and finishing, we met our client’s deadline and stuck to the agreed spend.

Managing costs is important, but at Angie the Architect we find balance between working to budget and delivering designs that offer the most value to the company, who they are today and where they will need to be tomorrow.

In our client’s own words, there is joy in gaming and beauty in simplicity – an undeniable thrill in discovering something new and finding it intuitive and exciting to play. We used our client’s own ethos for game design as our main source of inspiration – a visually stunning, easy to understand and endlessly engaging workspace.

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