In front of you is your 49-inch, flat screen TV. You’re watching your favorite characters on TV have a seemingly innocuous conversation. Then one character’s voice starts to trail off, eyes glossing over, clearly her mind is elsewhere. In that moment, you can tell she just solved the biggest problem of the episode.
Great ideas can come at anytime and anywhere. You might be driving, taking a shower, or on a long run. But when inspiration hits, everyone knows the feeling of perking up, eyebrows raising, and a burst of excitement running through your body.
If you’re looking for conference room design inspiration, have you ever considered turning to your favorite television shows and movies?
Unless your name is Cosmo Kramer, even fictional characters need to make a living. Over the years, the jobs and workplaces of fictional characters have been the backdrop to many entertaining scenes.
In the cult-classic, Office Space, Peter Gibbons offered his famous take on his lackadaisical work ethic, “The thing is Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.”
At Dunder Mifflin, the beloved paper company of The Office, the conference room was home to the world’s most awkward diversity training. Mad Men’s Don Draper delivered one of the most memorable and emotional ad campaign pitches of all time, Kodak’s Carousel.
Just like in real life, indelible moments happen in the conference rooms of fictional companies.
Let’s take a look at a few noteworthy fictional companies, their conference rooms, and analyze why these conference rooms were designed they way they were, and what you can learn from them.
The Best Fictional Conference Room Designs
Wayne Enterprises (Batman)
Wayne Enterprises is a holdings company, inherited by Bruce Wayne (aka Batman). Primarily dealing in military defense products, it also has umbrella companies in dozens of other industries (e.g. biotech, energy, oil). The company has earned its playboy namesake a spot on the Forbes Fictional 15 of wealthiest fictional characters. His estimated net worth from the company is estimated between $9.2 billion and $11.6 billion.
It can be ascertained that the total value of Wayne Enterprises is $23.22 billion. Which tells us that it’s a gigantic conglomerate, valued in between Twitter and Linkedin, and on Fortune’s list of 1,000 most valuable companies.
Wayne Enterprises’ conference room for board meetings is vast. It’s in an urban high rise office space, surrounded by windows. The space is so big, it could house an entire startup company’s operations.
In the middle is a long, glass conference room table. It comfortably fits 30 executives. There are no conference room displays, just two power seats at the end of each side. These meetings are run by CEO Lucius Fox or Chairman Bruce Wayne. All eyes are fixated on them and nothing else.
If you’re looking to make a bold statement, and remind your team who’s in charge, this is your design; long, cold, minimal, and spacious.
Atlantic Cable News (Newsroom)
The Atlantic Cable News (ACN) network is a 24-hour news network, in competition with similar networks from Fox and MSNBC. It was a subsidiary of Atlantis World Media before it was eventually sold to billionaire, Lucas Pruit. Its flagship news program is News Night with host, Will McAvoy.
The fast-paced news network has multiple conference room and meeting rooms to take care of its needs. The most prominent meeting room is located in the middle of the newsroom.
This meeting room is small, with clear walls. It’s the dedicated meeting room for the news team, comprised of producers, researchers, and on-air talent, to plan that evening’s program.
With a company that large, it’s easy to imagine that there is a dedicated meeting room manager, but everyone knows the schedule doesn’t matter. The meetings are led by News Night executive producer, MacKenzie McHale, and when she wants the meeting room, she gets it.
McHale stands at the end of the conference table, mapping out the ideas on a simple aisle with a marker board. The room is intimate, built for about a dozen people, with not much standing space behind the chairs.
The close proximity keeps everyone on task, keeping team members to focus on MacKenzie, but also allows for comfortable collaboration. There’s limited excess space on the conference room table for anything other than the team’s notes.
The news moves fast and the ACN team needs to plot out their show quickly. If you’re looking for a conference room to quickly hash out ideas, without the frills of technology, look to ACN’s conference room for inspiration.
Atlantis World Media (Newsroom)
A few floors up from Atlantis Cable Network is the home of Atlantis World Media, the former parent company of ACN, owned by media mogul, Leona Lansing.
On several occasions when the ACN team finds itself in hot water, they’re called up to the big leagues, where they have to answer the tough questions.
The conference room at Atlantis World Media is much larger than the ACN meeting room. Its conference room table is long and wide, giving everyone comfortable spacing despite having everyone’s computers and notebooks on the table.
The conference room table is equipped with two conference call speakers, to accommodate the sheer length of the table. But as the team sits back in their comfortable Herman Miller chairs, they’re more fixated at the end of the table, where presentations are made.
If you anticipate having long meetings, with technical presentations, this is the conference room design for you. Your team will be comfortable and have excess space for all their belongings. They’ll have a clear view of the presentation area with no distractions from bumping elbows with a fellow teammate.
About the Fit (The Intern)
About the Fit is a fast growing women’s e-commerce company, founded by Jules Ostin. In just three years, she’s built the ecommerce store founded in her kitchen, into a venture-backed startup with 220 employees.
The offices of About the Fit are built in a converted warehouse, in the heart of Brooklyn, New York. The office space has an open, modern design to it. Its interior is predominantly white, with black trim. It evokes a very clean look with the heaps of natural light that pour in from the large windows on each wall.
The conference room at About the Fit is located in the middle of the office, towards the the back of the office space. It’s surrounded by large glass walls, with black frames. The conference table is white with modern, grey and black chairs.
The focus of the conference room is on ideas. It’s a space for team members to discuss different strategies for the business and designs for its products. The table is wide enough that team members can spread out sketches of new designs, while still having their laptop accessible. CEO Jules Ostin can pop in and offer her feedback without having to take a seat and sit through a presentation.
This conference room design is perfect if your team is looking to foster a creative and collaborative environment. The space isn’t too large that you have to shout to be heard, but it’s large enough to comfortably have scattered documents lying around for the creative process.
Ari Gold is one of the most powerful talent agents in the world. Before he was ventured off to start the Miller/Gold Agency, he was a long-time partner at the Terrance McQuewick Agency (TMA).
While at TMA, Gold represented some of the largest names in Hollywood. His client list included Vincent Chase, Mark Wahlberg, Larry David, M. Night Shyamalan, Eva Longoria, and Zac Efron.
At TMA, Gold pitched, maneuvered, and orchestrated some of the largest deals in Tinseltown. The conference room at TMA was built to impress clients and potential clients.
The central conference room had a long, granite table. It proclaimed to anyone sitting down, “We’re rich and we can make you rich.” The table fits 15 people comfortably, with access room behind it for standing guests. The clear walls make the room seem even larger, intimidating even the most senior of A-list actors.
At the foot of the conference room table are two large, flat-screen televisions. This is where Mr. Gold holds court. He’ll stand up in front of his clients, their entourage, his junior associates, and visualize the type of careers the actors could have, if they signed with him. Not only would they become huge stars, they’d become a household brand name.
If you’re looking to make a statement with your conference room, look no further than TMA. Everything in the room makes you feel important and that you’re in the presence of power. Impress your clients and potential clients with this Hollywood-inspired conference room.
Sterling Cooper and Partners (Mad Men)
After a recent merger with the Cutler Gleason Chaough ad agency, Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce rebrands into Sterling Cooper and Partners. The new agency is pitching for new business, including the coveted Hershey’s Chocolate account.
The conference room where Don Draper and team make their pitch is small. Its intimate feel brings the executives from both companies closer, literally and figuratively. The room is covered with opaque walls, to keep outsiders from knowing what exactly is happening in the conference room.
Since it’s the late 1960s, there are no laptops or wireless conference room displays. It’s just an aisle, with a printed pitch deck. The only accessory meeting attendees have is a notebook and a pack of cigarettes.
While the conference room technology is outdated, it clearly pre-dates sophisticated conference room management software, it does offer a sense of familiarity. The plant in the corner, the lamp on the end table. It feels more like a living room than a corporate office. If you’re looking to foster a closer relationship with your client, a Sterling Cooper-inspired conference room could do the trick.
Take your responsibility of designing your office’s conference room seriously. As you can see from our fictional examples, a lot can be said about your company and the work you do based on your conference room design. Use these fictional companies as inspiration for your office’s conference room design.