Cultures Combine at Nokia’s Istanbul HQ

Project Details
Designer: Yalin Tan & Partners
Project Management: Cushman & Wakefield
Photgrapher: Ibrahim Ozbunar

A city that bridges two continents is the perfect location for an office which prides itself on the marriage of its minimalist brand identity and rich local culture. The brief was clear for architects Yalin Tan & Partners when they were asked to design Nokia’s new HQ: combine modern-day Istanbul with the brand’s Finnish heritage, but do so with employee experience at the centre. To achieve this from the ground up, and ensure that the build lived up to its own and Nokia’s sustainability standards, Yalin Tan & Partners worked with global flooring manufacturer and leader in sustainability Interface to find a flooring solution that made the right impression.

It was important for Nokia that the Scandinavian clarity on which its brand identity has been built did not make for a cold environment for employees. Protecting its teams’ health and wellbeing was a key concern for the company, and so the design team created a workplace with a diverse mix of zones for different types of work, which employees could tailor to their individual needs.

Neslihan Kücükaslan, Key Account Manager UAE, Turkey and Israel at Interface, said: “We worked very closely with Yalin Tan & Partners to translate their vision for the office into the flooring design. It was a really enjoyable project to be a part of, and a really forward-thinking design; we’re proud to have our products included in a workplace that perfectly encapsulates Nokia’s identity and the local setting of Istanbul.”

Less is More

Scandinavian design has always favoured minimalist, clean aesthetics, and Nokia’s design philosophy is no different, consistently producing sleek, simple styles supported by powerful, innovative technology. The design team used this philosophy as the basis for the design and having such an understated backdrop would allow employees to add their own personalities and ways of working to the space.

Yalın Tan, founder of Yalin Tan & Partners, explained: “Minimalism was the guiding principle, but with a focus on doing more with furniture and textures, rather than simply opting for a lack of design features. The end result is a peaceful, spacious environment that gives people room to look after themselves while still equipping them to do their job.”

Interface’s Composure carpet tile collection was specified in a pale stone colour called Harmonious for the majority of the space to keep people grounded and project a sense of calm within work areas. The flexible, non-directional design of the product allows it to easily fill larger spaces without having to lead to a focal point. The carpet tiles were also chosen for their environmental credentials. As with all Interface flooring, they are carbon neutral, and are made from 80% recycled content, while effectively reducing the amount of fine dust in indoor air, helping support users’ physical and mental health.

Yalın described how Composure contributed to the design: “Flooring has a huge role to play in a minimalist design. Using less furniture makes it more visible, and it often has to contribute more when paired with other muted aesthetics. We settled on Composure following some really valuable input from Interface – Neslihan, our account manager, knew exactly what we needed from a carpet tile for this project, and recommended a collection that played an active role in the design without intruding on the spacious feeling that we wanted to achieve.

“The fact that all of the flooring is carbon neutral also made the decision process much easier, and meant there was no need to sacrifice the right choice for the design because it didn’t meet our environmental requirements. Sustainability is a huge driving force for Nokia and for us, so it was natural that we chose Interface’s products.”

Home Comforts

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to wellbeing in the workplace, as what might provide a sense of calm and focus for some could leave others under stimulated. Catering for diversity means offering people a choice of spaces, and making it clear what each zone is intended to support. The meeting and breakout spaces at the new Nokia HQ see a departure from global corporate styles to a more residential, Turkish-inspired aesthetic which allows employees to feel at home in their work environment.

In these zones, traditionally patterned carpets bring warmth to the collaborative spaces and recreate that familiar feel of Turkish interiors. This was made possible with the use of Interface’s World Woven™ carpet tile collection, which has a handcrafted feel that creates diversity and movement, while being made from more than 75% recycled content.

Yalin Tan & Partners combined its expertise with that of Interface’s Concept Design team to find the right flooring for each zone. “We worked with the architects to select the specific colours and textures for each of the open-plan zones. Hybrid models of working have diversified what we all look for in the workplace, but we often still need a little push to take advantage of new spaces designed to work differently. World Woven, and the contrast it creates with the Composure tiles used elsewhere, provides those subliminal cues in these areas,” explained Neslihan, who also designed Nokia’s concept.

Making employees feel at home is also about providing a safe and distraction-free environment, in which flooring has an important role. For kitchens and tea points, the Level Set™ luxury vinyl tile was chosen in Textured Stones. Blending seamlessly with the natural style of the Composure tiles, the collection was chosen for its functional performance. Sixteen decibel impact sound installation prevents people using communal areas from distracting those that want to focus, while its durable finish means it will continue to perform in the space for years to come.

The Next Generation

Nokia’s success stems from an ability to look ahead. The company has been a pioneer of much of the technology that has powered the telecommunications industry, from mobile phones to internet of things infrastructure. Its new Istanbul HQ is one takes a forward-looking approach to the changes happening in working practices, creating a variety of spaces that support health and wellbeing.

For more information about Interface, visit

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