If we at TCH were to establish a new office, this is what it could look like. A clean, minimalist space, with a touch of history and elegance.
The 150 square meter office is located in Kortrijk, Belgium, in a historically important, restored textile weaving factory from the early part of 1900.
Vincent Van Duysen Architects handled not only the restoration of the space but also the interior design, and the design of much of the furniture.
The office consists of a large main space and smaller offices for the four staff members. Most interesting about this elegant project is the fact that the office is not for a design studio or architectural firm, but for Belgo-Seeds, a business involved in global importing and exporting of agricultural products, especially seeds. A shelving unit with beautifully lit glass containers of seeds is the only direct reference to this.
The brick ceiling and cast-iron columns are restored nods to the industrial past of the building, while the dark timber wall paneling, light oak floors and soft hues of fabrics and furnishings add a comfortable feel.
Most of the furniture was custom-designed by Vincent Van Duysen including the desks, all storage units and the pendant lighting. The office chair used in this project is the brown leather version Van Duysen’s design for Bulo. The coffee table is a custom version of Van Duysen’s Surface for B&B Italia:.
We love the lack of visual noise; the spaciousness, openness and sophistication achieved with the intelligent use of glass, screens and lighting. - Tuija Seipell
Photographer: Thomas De Bruyne
We like this 130 square meter (1,400 sq.ft.) office for its crisp simplicity.
It is a expansion project by Alain Wong of Comodo for his company’s own office space located in Knutsford Terrace, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
Wong calls the project Landscape in Bustling City, a fitting name for an office located in the middle of the busy city in an area that used to be lush gardens.
Comodo’s earlier office was predominantly black and white, as is the new one, except for the natural wood used to create platforms, partitions and furnishings.
The extensive use of unfinished raw wood board creates a nice balance of function and whimsy, and brings a sense of the outdoors inside. Natural light streams into much of the space through glass partitions. - Tuija Seipell.
The offices are located on Stockholm’s luxury power-shopping boulevard, Birger Jarlsgatan, in the two loft floors of building number 9 where the street-level occupants include Agent Provocateur.
Medge is a consultancy in sports rights management, TV distribution and media operations, so it is appropriate that their 180 square-meter (1937.5 sq.ft.) digs are testosterone-induced. Dark half-paneling with its English Gentlemen’s Club vibe gives a nod to the company’s other office in London and draws the line between traditional (below) and modern (above).
A hideously ugly reddish upholstered couch/sofa in a corner seating area, and the heavy iron bars and wood beams in the ceiling give off a sense of a confidence and strength. We love the use of white paint in the uppermost areas as it contrasts powerfully with the black, and opens up the space to the skylights. Tuija Seipell.
It’s the ceiling. Definitely the ceiling. And the wood, of course. We just cannot take our eyes off of cool wood features, so, naturally this studio in Melbourne drew our attention.
It is for Assemble an architecture, design and property development company focused on small footprint projects. Joachim Holland, one of the three key players at Assemble, is also the design principal at Jackson Clements Burrows whose work with the Trojan House we wrote about some time ago.
True to their hands-on spirit, the Assemble team participated in the actual building of the studio and, with professional help, put together its pine batten-and-stud latticework ceiling that was loosely modeled after origami.
In addition to looking lovely, the ceiling is highly functional. It conceals a network of pipes, ducts, tubes, fire alarms, smoke detectors and air-conditioning units, and also improves the acoustics in the space otherwise dominated by exposed concrete and glass.
The ceiling is constructed from five triangles repeated five times across the length of the ceiling. We like how the ceiling’s sense of light weight and openness livens up an otherwise fairly standard, boxy space. - Tuija Seipell.
A fresh take on the office cubicle is possible! Just look at the fun little houses in which the 30 or so cubicle dwellers toil at this Los Angeles-based creative media agency.
Designed by Edward Ogosta Architecture, the 6,000-square-foot (558 sq.ft.) warehouse space initially appears like any big white space with particle-board detailing. But the seemingly bland interior reveals a number of clever ideas, all designed to spark create ideas and encourage interaction as well as provide privacy.
Ogosta named the design Hybrid Office to indicate that every main feature represents two supposedly unrelated things: something from the surrounding city and/or nature married with an office function.
The office cubicles are called House-Tables and their skyline represents that of a row of houses.
There’s a gathering space, an amphitheater-like area constructed with book cases called Book-Arena, and a tatami-covered thinking space called Sky-Cave. Tall, cone shaped hollow tree trunks have become chairs that provide individual privacy. - Tuija Seipell.
Many of us know what it's like to work from home. Distraction upon distraction tends to stunt our productiveness. If only more of us could convince our employers that we can, in fact, stay motivated and actually get work accomplished in the confines of our own home offices.
The design team at Synthesis recently installed Chelsea Workspace - a custom home office for a private personal investment advisor. Constrained by both budget and space, the design team at Synthesis enwrapped a series of prefabricated CNC milled birch plywood ribs atop all the necessary features any home workspace should include: a desk, sliding and hinged storage units, a printer and paper shredder, concealed paths for wires and cables and recesses for lighting - thereby eliminating all unnecessary clutter.
One small window emits natural light onto the surfaces where horizontal spacers are arranged in the pattern of a world map, which will allow the owner to map out his travels. The design of the work space presents a viable solution to ensure working from home can be free from distraction, and where focus in an innovative space ensures the highest level of productivity. - Andrew J Martin
The interior of the headquarters for KH Gears exudes a sense of engine power, industry and technology. One can almost hear the metallic rumble of massive machinery, toiling tirelessly in a massive engine room somewhere in the not-so-distant future.
The 855 square-meter (about 9,200 sq.ft.) first phase of the 5,300 square-meter (about 57,000 sq.ft.) industrial laboratory and office space of one of the world’s largest gear producers, opened in Zhuhai, Guangdong, China, in December 2011. The remainder of the space will be developed along the same design guidelines in 2013.
Hong-Kong-based Arboit, lead by founder, Italian-trained architect, Alberto Puchetti, designed the space.
The overall goal was to refresh the brand image of the well-established company, to emphasize its strong scientific heritage and the high value of its products.
Arboit used extremely crisp and large grey-tone visuals of the actual gears sparsely yet effectively to celebrate their beauty, precision and balance.
KH Gears logo green appears strategically throughout the space.
It is used on walls and in corridors as a definer of space and as an aide to directions in the large facility where clients also frequently visit the laboratories, and on parts of furniture as an accent. The green also refers to the company’s environmentally friendly policies.
As a nod to the heritage of technology, the font used in the directionals is the typical font of the early days of computers.
The shiny, dark-gray floors, coated in epoxy resin, and the partially smoked glass walls add to the feel of meticulous, laboratory-grade orderliness and efficiency. - Tuija Seipell
We return to the creative work of Supermachine Studio, the multidisciplinary design firm that architect Pitupong (Jack) Chaowakul established in 2009 in Bangkok.
Last year, we covered Supermachine's design of Bangkok University Creative Center.
This time, our attention was piqued immediately by the first images we saw of Supermachine's ideas for the rebirth of Saatchi & Saatchi Thailand's office.
Supermachine was the team of choice for Saatchi & Saatchi's regional creative director, Joel Clement, because he was looking for playful and unexpected design solutions. Clement wanted a space "that inspires, is genuinely fun to come to everyday, and that didn't take itself too seriously."
The agency's move to the Sindhorn Tower, on Wireless Road in Bangkok, was part of parent firm Publicis's goal to gather its affiliated companies in one building for shared resources.
The somewhat dated building, tight space (400 m2, about 4305 ft²) and the tight budget posed challenges that Chaowakul and team solved with bold ideas that leave much of the space open but accented by strong visual elements. This openness was also part of Clement's brief to Supermachine, as the previously scattered teams had to learn to work together and become one functioning family.
We love Supermachine's happy nods to motion and mobility. The reception desk is on wheels and resembles a big white bus. Bicycles work as the legs of a large glass-top conference table that is fully mobile. The meeting cabins that feel like train compartments. There is also the reoccurring visual theme in the shape of a racetrack, hockey rink or stadium.
A large outer wall is covered with small, white "wood pixels" that are made of wood recycled from the agency's previous office. With this wall, Supermachine achieved not just practical goals -- to cover the ugly red marble wall and to save costs by recycling materials from the existing office -- they also created a visual link to the organization's past.
Perhaps in a nod to even further into humanity's past, there is the "monster wall." Its main feature is a 20 meter-long (65 feet), lizard whose skin is constantly redecorated with current work and inspirational items. Its jaws work as a bookshelf. The monster has already become the agency's new mascot and will appear on a T-shirt soon.
In addition to Pitupong (Jack) Chaowakul, the Supermachine project team included Suchart Ouypornchaisakul, Peechaya Mekasuvanroj, Santi Sarasuphab, Kasidis Puaktes, Jetsada Phongwasin and Korthong Thongtham Na Ayutthaya. - Tuija Seipell
After several months of construction, Red Bull’s Dutch subsidiary, Red Bull Netherlands, has settled into its new headquarters on the North side of Amsterdam’s Port area. The almost 1000 square-meter (about 10,763 square feet) office is part of the 7800 square-meter (83,958 square feet) Media Wharf complex at the NDSM Wharf, on the shores of the river IJ.
The office was designed by Sid Lee Architecture of Montreal and Amsterdam. The theme of the space is duality and polarity -- reason and intuition, light and dark, art and business, public and private.
Much of the space is undefined, seemingly unfinished, with a feel of street culture and the rough edges of the shipyard’s past echoed in the design.
Red Bull Netherlands’s director Jan Smilde was quoted as saying that the company wanted a location with an entrepreneurial spirit where they would have the freedom to develop innovative ideas and events.
Established before WWII, NDSM (Nederlandsche Dok en Scheepsbouw Maatschappij – Dutch Dock and Shipbuilding Company) was one of the world’s largest shipbuilders. It continued to operate until the mid-1980s, after which the shipyards were deserted except for squatters and artists who established a “breeding ground” of emerging artist there.
This area, the size of 10 football fields, has now been developed into an artistic and media hub, with studios and workshops, offices, open spaces, student housing, festival venues and restaurants. More here in English.
Perhaps we are overly practical here at TCH, but we could not help but wonder what Red Bull’s heating bill for this space is in the cold Dutch winter months. - Tuija Seipell
Last year, we covered Macquarie Group's massive Sydney headquarters designed by West Hollywood-based Clive Wilkinson Architects. Earlier this year, the same two players completed another spectacular office project, this time in London.
Macquarie, a global provider of banking and investment services, gathered up its various divisions from several buildings under one roof in the brand-new Ropemaker Place. Macquarie occupies 217,500 square feet (20,207 square meters) on six floors in the 20-storey, LEED Platinum building designed by Arup Associates.
Wilkinson's team took its cues from the new trend of transparency in financial services and balanced that with the more traditional and practical needs of prestige and privacy.
The beautiful, open space is a triumph of simplicity. A skillful and meaningful use of bright colour, combined with the all-white inner structure gives the open plan a sense of delight and order.
The centerpiece is the open atrium where the bright red steel staircase and upper-level steel catwalks link the various floors in a visually stunning way. The sculpture-like staircase, with its underside also painted red, is the focal point of the entire space and symbolizes not just openness but connectedness as well.
Privacy and prestige are evident in the more secluded client areas, where the traditional pinstripe lines appear in several iterations in ceilings, partitions, environmental graphics and other visual cues.
Exquisite furnishings, such as the purple Tom Dixon seating in the upper-level guest relations and reception area, exude prestige with modern sensibilities.
The traditional boardroom is furnished by existing furniture from previous offices, including Eames chairs and walnut-veneer table.
Environmental graphics, by Los Angeles-based Egg Office, continue on the theme of transparency and privacy with vertical pinstripes the key visual element. - Tuija Seipell.