Skip to main contentIBM Workplace Design


Flooring choices address more than practicality. They communicate function and atmosphere.


Concrete speaks to energy and industry and adds a durable, yet progressive, look. The raw, natural characteristics of the material, juxtaposed with more refined details throughout the environment, support the design principle of duality. When using polished concrete isn’t feasible, luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or other hard flooring with a similar appearance may be used. Use a neutral gray tone that complements the visual identity color palette.

Existing concrete floors should be lightly sanded and polished to enhance the natural characteristics of the material. Avoid highly polished and glossy finishes.

Concrete flooring works well in Welcome, Connect and Play zones, as well as open Collaborate zones and major circulation pathways.

Concrete flooring in hallway
Conrete flooring in high traffic area

Play zones benefit from the durable practicality of concrete.

Concrete flooring defines walk areas

Smooth concrete underscores intended traffic flow.

Concrete flooring in lobby
contemporary concrete wall

Concrete plays a supporting role to the contemporary wall finishes in this hallway.


A variety of carpet tiles within the environment help delineate zones and circulation paths. The style should look refined and elegant.

Choose a neutral palette of grays, ranging from dark to medium. Choose a small-scale pattern, remembering to keep to 3 or fewer patterns within a space. Subtle linear and grid-like patterns can be used to create more movement when needed.

Carpet works well in open offices, interior enclosed meeting rooms and lounges, and phone and focus rooms. Generally, the open workplace zone receives a different carpet tile than the enclosed rooms. All carpet tile should be specified from the current IBM-approved flooring supplier list. Any deviation from this list must be approved by IBM Global Real Estate.

Use colorful and patterned area rugs on top of carpeted areas to help delineate specific spaces.

Flooring in informal seating area

Carpet creates a place to step away from the flow into an informal seating area.

carpet in conference area
meeting room carpet
carpet in open work zone
carpet in open work desk area

Open work zones use carpet to underscore the quiet focus expected in the area.


While concrete or luxury vinyl tile capably serve the practical needs of high-traffic areas, the aesthetic of hard surface floors can seem austere in smaller interiors. Where hard surface flooring speaks to energy and industry, the warmth of wood floors speaks a quieter, more subdued language. For Welcome zones, particularly in historical buildings, wood recalls the original industry of the structure. For Collaborate zones, it brings a refined, almost academic feel to spaces where detailed engagement occurs.

A natural finish on white oak or other minimally figured wood highlights the intrinsic authenticity of wood, complementing and enhancing the gray tones of the IBM palette and our brand colors.

Welcome zone

Welcome zones with wood floors present a warm invitation to visitors.

wood flooring
Collaboration zone

Collaboration zones gain a confident energy from wood floors.