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The Polish office that was inspired by Christopher Nolan’s iconic film

Echo Investment, the largest Polish developer, opened its office in Warsaw in September 2021. MIXD architecture studio has redesigned the former brewery with incredible visual and content depths, verging on functionalism and surreality, reality and dream. As the office is the management’s headquarters, they aimed to make it representative, while the tone of the spaces reflects the company’s mission to create welcoming places to live, work and play. The outcome is surprisingly homely, bursting with warm colors, textures, exciting references and optical play.

“The project for Echo Investment is unique—just like the company itself. During the introductory interview, the phrase ‘city builders’ was mentioned, and we started to build our concept around that. We wanted the office design to reflect Echo Investment’s large-scale investments and the impact they have on cities. The lobby occupies almost a quarter of the office space. It’s an important meeting place, the first point of contact with the company, a place to learn about the investments and the brand. It has been deliberately designed to exude quality, energy and uniqueness: the values ​​characteristic of Echo Investment. The famous scene from the movie Inception, when the city ‘bends’ into space-time and fills the horizon, has become a direct inspiration. We recreated this phenomenon in the interior, creating the effect of standing in the middle of a giant model, where we are not sure whether we are in an imaginary or real place and whether the laws of physics still apply here. The aesthetics of the interior is very warm, inviting, like being at home, which is balanced by bold detailing and numerous references to building structures,” Piotr Kalinowski, CEO and Creative Director of MIXD, told us. 

The wooden forms of the huge ceiling installation Piotr mentions are a kind of mirror image of the giant model of Warsaw in the lobby, illustrating just how much the Echo Investment is influencing the current image of the capital. “We treated the ceiling as a priority for this project. The most difficult task was arranging and coordinating large-scale ventilation and air-conditioning devices. In the end, working with Morrow Woods, we were able to develop a unique system that allowed us to control the positioning of each cube with pinpoint accuracy. The project was managed with great care to ensure that all the elements of the interior design and installations could work together in harmony,” shared Anna Stachi, Project Manager at Echo Investment.

The inspiration of Inception also appears in the conference rooms: each one refers to a different phase of sleep. Just as dreams often contain surprising and impossible objects and events, each conference room has at least one optical illusion or element that refers to the border between waking and dreaming. We find, for example, a room with a copper lens that reverses perspective, a room with the impossible Penrose triangle, an “architectural” room with a model of the room itself, a room with 3D printing elements and a room called “origami” with a felt ceiling. The order is not a coincidence—each room refers to a key investment by Echo Investment and one of the concepts related to architecture and urban design, such as perspective, scale, form, creation or technology.

Each character in Nolan’s film also had an artifact that could distinguish dream from reality. One such artifact of the office is the Magis Spun rocking chairs in the lobby, which bear a striking resemblance to the spinning wheel seen in the film. The spinning motif also appears on the legs of some of the furniture. Another important source of inspiration for the interior is the Warsaw breweries, which is also a reference to the choice of location. Another important source of inspiration for the interior is the Warsaw breweries, which is also a reference to the choice of location. The original cast-iron columns from the demolition of the brewery buildings have been turned into plant pots, and several copper details refer to the brewery vats, while the door handles are interpretations of the Warsaw breweries’ logo.

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