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Play zones are the social hubs for IBM team members to unwind, reset and converse. The spaces can accommodate spontaneous or planned events intended to inspire and support the creative process.

Signature moments

Play zones are centrally located. They can house events, programs and light refreshments to spontaneously bring team members together. The central purpose of this zone is to provide a sharp contrast with the work areas, and to support the freedom to have a change of pace within the workday.

Finish palette
For Play zones, bolder patterns can be featured on surfaces, including area rugs and furniture upholstery.
play zone finish palette

Color strategy
Play zones can incorporate more color and pattern to imply enhanced social activity. A broader spectrum of accent colors in textiles, finishes and graphics reinforces our sense of diversity and underscores inclusion within our Be Equal® program.
play zone color strategy

Brand expression

These communal spaces are ideal locations to reinforce IBM’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Be Equal is an internal and external program designed by IBM to expand, enable and ensure equality for everyone. Be Equal can be expressed in the environment in a variety of ways, both large and small. We invite IBM employees and clients to make their own pledge of commitment within the program.

Other elements can also complement Connect zones, such as our iconic Think® identity, typographic patterns or rebus symbol. Learn more about environmental elements and branding.

Bristol kitchen pledge wall
IBM Be Equal poster
play zone brand expression signage
brand expression in play zone

The environment should offer a broad range of seating. Choose furniture that invites a variety of engagement opportunities. For example, mix intimate settings, such as banquettes or booths, alongside more open conversational furniture, such as sofas, benches and lounge chairs.
play zone furniture with plant wall
colorful play zone chair
play zone plant wall detail
colorful chairs for play zone
stools and chairs for play zone

Flooring and ceiling

Concrete flooring is appropriate for the Play zone. Care should be used to provide an appropriate floor surface for the activity of the space. The use of specialty felt ceiling systems or open ceilings can be used to help define this zone.

The lighting in the Play zone should complement the ceiling elements in this space. A combination of linear fixtures and downlights should work to illuminate special Play zone features and game activities. Decorative pendants should be suspended over the bar-height counters.

perforated metal ceiling
felt ceiling in play zone
polished concrete floor in play zone
felt ceiling in play zone
open ceiling in play zone
linear pendant lighting in play zone

Biophilic design

Aligned with our principle characteristic of duality, biophilic elements integrate nature into the build environment. This principle can be integrated in a variety of ways using natural plants, biophilic forms and access to natural light when possible. Special care should be taken when considering long-term maintenance. Living elements should be designed as part of the architecture and finish palette. Avoid residential use of plants in individually potted or decorative pieces.

biophilic design 1
biophilic design 2