WorldWideWorkplaces is where we take a look at some of the best examples of office design from across the globe. 


Rapt Studio (whose Google office design we featured in a previous WorldwideWorkplace) recently designed the new headquarters for Ancestry, a tech company that offers internet-based services related to genealogy research.

With comfortable lounge areas, communal dining spaces and impressive art installations, it’s safe to say that the end result is pretty impressive.

The building, situated in central Utah, serves as Ancestry's headquarters. Founded in the 1980s, the business now has the largest genealogical database in the world.

With more than 1,400 employees globally, the company is designed to discover, preserve and share family history. Having already completed an office design for Ancestry’s San Francisco offices, Rapt were familiar with the brand’s heritage and identity.

As a company that explores genealogy, familial aspects are incorporated and interwoven into various elements of the design. The social connections that the website offers are also echoed throughout the office design.

Each floor includes a communal zone that can be used for informal meetings and to inspire spontaneous collaborations. ‘Family rooms’ can also be found just outside the conference rooms, featuring comfortable residential style sofas and chairs to give the space a more relaxed and homely feel.

With over 200,000 square foot and four storeys to cover, Ancestry's new HQ includes offices, a fitness centre and a patio.

The offices have an enviable backdrop with great views of Mount Timpanogos and the surrounding valley. To maximise these amazing office views, Rapt created glass-walled conference rooms and floor to ceiling windows, allowing the breathtaking surroundings to be the focal point of the design.                  

Throughout the four-storey building, specific parts of the space reference genealogy in various ways. For example, the employee café includes communal dining tables to emulate the feel of familial gatherings.

On one side of the restaurant, an entire wall is covered in a collection of heirloom plates that refer to the central role that family dining plays in cultures across the world. 

The designers also incorporated photographs of Ancestry employees with relatives that they have found through their own site. Each image is set side by side and we instinctively look for a resemblance between the two. 

Whilst the familial aspects of the office design are a nice touch and echo the brand's core identity, the workplace also has many other design features that make it an interesting space.

The building optimises both space and natural light well. The well-lit space beneath the staircase features a design highlight with sculpted cardboard globe lights suspended from the ceiling.

As you walk up the wooden staircase that zigzags through the atrium, the vibrant art installation that fills the lobby area instantly grabs your attention. The artwork uses fifteen vibrant colours to represent the diverse historical background of different populations. Each of the colours relates to a specific ancestry to symbolise and reference global diversity; a theme that is continuously echoed throughout the office.

The way in which Rapt has encapsulated Ancestry's core messages and values is particularly impressive, especially through the use of bespoke artwork. They've created a workplace that not only serves the needs of its staff but also perfectly represents the culture of the business.

Photography - Jeremy Bittermann

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Categories: Office DesignWorldWideWorkplaces

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