Out with the old, in with the new

︎ by Emma Crimaldi, Brand Designer

If you were to visit the Pleo Stockholm office, you’d find a few things:

☞ A seemingly infinite supply of barista-grade oat milk;

☞ Three soundproof phone booths to make Very Important Sales Calls;

☞ A poor coat rack working overtime between the months of September and April;

☞ A fiddle-leaf fig that is somehow thriving;

☞ Millions of Aykasa boxes of all colors and sizes overflowing with laptop stands and post-its;

☞ ...and a big fat ground-level window looking out into Tegnérgatan — our street.

Hundreds of thousands of people walk by Tegnérgatan every month, right past our window. Commuters. Students. Tourists. Dads with BabyBjörns. Why not tell them what we’re so busy doing inside?

The brief

“Out with the old, in with the new. Pleo stands for the modern workplace. No more paper receipts. No more sloppy business spending. No more Blackberrys”

So that’s what we started from.

Gathering references

Designing and redecorating the Stockholm window was one of my very first projects here at Pleo. And it was also one of those extreeeeeemely rare tasks with no real deadline attached to it. And for how liberating that sounds, I quickly realized that time constraints are the one thing that can motivate me when nothing else will. Because it’s so easy to justify working on something else, when that something else needs to be done “by next week but preferably as soon as possible, thank you!!

Once the messaging was clear (and a few failed concept-developing attempts later), I took a trip down memory lane; which eventually started to take a visual form: if we’re the “new”, what is the “old”?

Looking at the space

What if we built a physical time capsule that is vaguely reminiscent of an early 90’s office desk? With that in mind, we were set on putting together a showcase of an outdated workspace, right in front of the future of work.

Out with the old, in with the new.

The window itself was perfect for this, as it naturally looks like a display space.

The props

When pinning down all the necessary props for the space I realized that the height of the window base was already slightly over a meter off the ground, so a regular desk (70-75 cm) would be way above eye level. Swedes may be tall, but surely not that tall.

The best solution was to look for a white platform or slab to act as a table top for the rest of the items.

The list of additional props to buy included: a velvet curtain to frame the space, an office phone, a computer or laptop, a blue neon strip or tube, a filing cabinet, floppy discs, a badge lanyard, and an old calculator. As well as a few print-on-demand things like a pack of “Hello, my name is” stickers, and a custom mug.

The 3D saga

After assessing and measuring out the space, I found this to be the perfect excuse to test out my limited 3D skills to get a feel for the finished product. By day, and by night. The goal was to create a space at scale and proportional to real life so that I could virtually test out different props and objects I found online before purchasing anything.

And, hey! They were pretty good.

Facebook Marketplace, your Lord and Saviour

It was finally time to buy. eBay, Blocket, Tradera, Facebook Marketplace, the more the merrier.  All of which I still receive emails from to this day.

And all, of course, charged on my handy Pleo card ;)

I also designed and printed a little fake badge for the lanyard to really sell the fantasy. I love designing objectively ugly things with a purpose when the time calls for it, and so Guy Smith was born.


The curtain track was quickly installed, and I took some time the morning after to assemble the platform, which came in a million bits and pieces, and start placing the props.

[At the time I was also moving apartments, so my IKEA assembling skills were luckily at an all time high].

What’s funny is that I was born a few years too late to have a first hand account of what an early ‘90s office looked like, so it felt a lot like recalling someone else’s memory.

In my defense, my grandma left my uncle’s mid-90's room untouched when he moved out (yes, really), and still looks like a time capsule to this day, so I felt some minimal ground to stand on.

And here we go! If you ever find yourself on Tegnérgatan in Stockholm — you know what to look out for.

© Pleo 2023