Toca Boca

How Toca Boca Campus became one of Sweden’s best-looking offices

Toca Boca Campus in Lumafabriken has been named one of Sweden’s best-looking offices. It’s a workplace like no other. The company has created a world of its own that exudes creativity, crazy ideas, unique features and love at its very heart.

Lumafabriken is situated atop a green hill, surrounded by the waters of Lake Hammarby. It was completed in 1930 and is considered to be Sweden’s first functionalist industrial building. For four decades, millions of light bulbs were produced here. Today, the blue-rated building (highest classification for buildings of cultural significance) of almost 40,000 square metres is one of Fabege’s most sought-after properties.

But it’s no longer the site light bulb production. Instead, this stunning factory building houses several tenants, including the brains behind one of the world’s most popular apps. In September 2022, the Swedish gaming studio Toca Boca, best known for its phenomenal success Toca Life World with 49 million users, moved to new premises at the property. And even before construction began, word was already spreading that the Toca Boca Campus would be an extraordinary place to work.

“We had a vision when we moved to Luma: the idea was to create a destination. Visiting us should be an outing in itself. So it doesn’t matter that it takes a bit longer to get here. Stepping inside and experiencing Toca Boca from within, with all the energy and creativity the campus holds – it should be worth the journey,” explains Lina Persson, Culture & Campus Producer at Toca Boca, as we settle ourselves into the pink armchairs by the entrance, next to a forest-green bookcase of toys.

And you can see straight away that they’ve succeeded. Toca Boca Campus is a meticulously curated explosion of bright colours, soft shapes and playful details, inspired by the company’s digital gaming world. Some examples: The office is home to a creative workshop with sewing machines and a 3D-printer. There’s a meeting room here that’s an exact replica of an apartment in Toca Life World. And a tween-room, decorated from floor to ceiling with 11-year-olds’ favourite books, dirty socks and Olivia Rodrigo’s latest single on repeat.


Meeting place with children in focus

Another key aspect is that Toca Boca Campus isn’t actually an office, but as its name suggests, a campus. The idea is to create a 2,000 square metre meeting place where people can socialise, work, play, learn and create – whether they’re an adult employee or a younger visitor.

“Just as we were about to sign the lease with Fabege, the pandemic came along. So we had to have a complete rethink: How do people want to work in the future? What will be the new normal? We ended up with a social environment without fixed work stations. There are 603 chairs but less than 100 desks. The campus should feel homely and help build a sense of community. That’s why we have plenty of social spaces, for example a fully equipped kitchen where teams can cook meals together. This morning, someone was baking scones for breakfast,” says Lina Persson.

Flexibility has been another watchword. All the tables and chairs have wheels so they can be moved around, and several of the meeting rooms have been replaced by mobile booths. And there’s a yellow groove in the ceiling where all the electricity and IT cables are routed. So when furnishing you’re not restricted by the walls, and instead it’s easy to rotate and adapt to the needs of the teams for that day.

On top of all that, Toca Boca Campus is divided into two sections – one public and one internal. In the public section, children are invited to test all new products and prototypes, or just hang out at the campus café, workshop or skate ramp. Toca Boca’s philosophy is ‘Kids First’, and everything they do is informed by the children’s perspective.

“Children are our experts. We purposely positioned the largest meeting room, which is made of glass, in the public section. If lots of kids are running around us while important decisions are being made, it reminds us of why we exist. Content from the Toca Life community is also being shown on the screens in the meeting room. Our users are such incredible storytellers it leaves you speechless!” says Lina.

Unique solutions place demands on Fabege

All these unique concepts and special solutions have of course placed huge demands on Fabege as a property owner. Particularly since Lumafabriken shares the same building classification as Stockholm Castle, and every single adaptation has been designed with sustainability as the top priority.

“Toca Boca’s approach has been a real challenge for us,” comments Magnus Smedmark, Property Manager at Fabege, who has been working with the project from day one. “They’ve used the space and volume to the max, and managed to turn the duller parts of the premises into the coolest. They’ve gone all in and pushed the boundaries of what’s possible, which has made it a very exciting journey.”

The relationship between Fabege and Toca Boca goes back a long way. Back in 2010, when the game studio started and was owned by Bonnier, it was housed in Fabege’s premises in Stockholm city. As the company grew, it consumed more space, and in 2015 they relocated to Luma. Over the past few years, Toca Boca has experienced significant growth both in terms of sales and its workforce, but there was no question of leaving Luma.

“At the time, few were taking the leap from central Stockholm, but now we’ve got Hyper Island, Goodbye Kansas and all kinds of major companies here. We wanted to be close to nature and the water. And then there’s the building itself, which we adore. It’s an amazing building, with history and an industrial feel. And of course we were keen to continue our relationship with Fabege,” stresses Lina Persson.


Purposeful collaboration towards the same goal

Both Lina and Magnus agree that collaboration has been the key to success for Toca Boca Campus. Although the pandemic hit just as the project got going – causing substantial delays and logistical problems – the renovation has been completed on schedule. And meanwhile all the crazy ideas they dreamed of have been made a reality.

“The most unique aspect is that we’ve worked so closely together. It hasn’t been a matter of negotiation, but rather implementing something together in the best possible way. I remember once we had a meeting with some external people who tried to negotiate on our behalf. But that’s not how we work! We aren’t opposing parties; we work towards the same goals,” says Lina, laughing.

The partnership with architects Spectrum also broke the mould. Lina Persson was recommended them by Magnus Smedmark. Then both Toca Boca and Fabege decided to engage Spektrum to manage the project and keep track of the vision. Lina was involved in every little decision – from how the water pipes would be laid, to the shape of the electrical sockets.

“Usually you have an architect who presents a proposal and then you go with it. Instead, we had a tenant who worked with the architects to build the product from scratch. You can’t pick out anything on the premises that hasn’t been thought about; that hasn’t been discussed in great detail. It’s very unusual. And everyone got to know each other really well. That’s why it turned out so well,” explains Magnus.

Clever details that spread joy

We take a tour of the newly opened campus. Some 200 employees work here from all parts of Toca Boca – illustrators, programmers, marketing executives and financial officers.

Lina Persson unlocks the door to the internal section using her mobile, as everything is controlled via an app. We pass through a tunnel of mirrors in all the colours of the rainbow, and past the wardrobes adorned with portrait-like Toca Life avatars of the employees. There are greenhouses, terraces with bars, basements with pinball machines and hundreds of pieces of individually designed furniture. And every room has different kinds of chairs, so you can always find the most comfortable one for you. It’s full of clever details like that.

“I’ve been running around for two years talking about Toca Boca’s new campus. That you have to go there because it’s so attractively, consistently and originally done. We knew this project would become a talking point,” says Magnus Smedmark proudly.

In November 2022, Toca Boca made it to the finals of Sweden’s Best-Looking Office competition. The company came second out of 72 nominated workplaces nationwide. And just a few weeks after the opening, many of the staff say that they had planned to work a lot from home, but now they can’t resist coming in to the campus.

“I realise we’ve succeeded in creating something unique,” says Lina Persson. “But it’s not expensive or flashy. Instead we’ve aimed to create a personal, warm and welcoming atmosphere. Even those who got out of bed the wrong side usually crack a big smile when they walk in. People just don’t want to leave.”