Snipperoo: 10 seeeeeriously cool workplaces: "Our office is cool, but maybe not the coolest. We designed and build the table above to fit the space and to fit our working practice (we sit around it and work and chat)."
I had a longish email conversation with Andy Budd about office space recently. We're very fortunate with our office - more by luck than by design, we inhabit a near-dotcom-cliche loft space with exposed brickwork, wooden floors, and lots of light.
But FP has inhabited quite a few offices over the years: the spare room in the house that Jay, Dan and I shared; a small, flea-infested and burgled unit on the site of Magnus Volk's engineering workshop, now the Silicon Beach Training premises; Wayland House; the living room of Rosehill for 3 weeks; the attic of Rosehill for several months; and our current premises at Gloucester House.
In this time we've also played with several layouts, and the one which I think works the best is where we've had a group of 3-4 people, all facing one another. You get a lot of good communication, you all feel engaged with one another (particularly working on the same project), and distractions don't become too much.
A company whose office I loved was ThoughtEngine - they had a huge round table which individual folks would come and sit at when they needed to work together. I'm not sure how well this works when you're not all laptopped up, but I liked the freeform nature of that.