Moving to a new office, the architecture and design firm took the opportunity to walk the talk on digital transformation to convert a conventional office into an agile working environment. The ultimate goal was for the office to not only become an enviable setting for their clients to emulate, but also to show how digital transformation and the use of cloud-based systems could reinvent the way business is done.
Rather than gradually phasing out papers and analogue systems, the move was more transformational. The process has opened a gate to freedom from repetitive analogue processes and enabled more creativity and better services for the clients. With the new wireless system, the team can now work from almost anywhere in the premises. Every legacy system, including file storage, communications and design tools have been digitalised. With this, dwp’s specialists based in the Melbourne studio can collaborate with the project teams in the Dubai studio. Engineers in Singapore can join in a briefing update delivered by an operator in Boston. With an online digital 3D model as a single source of data, everyone has access to one another and to all relevant information.
The main challenge was to transform the 30-year-old traditional office into a flexible workspace for modern designers. The existing entrance lobby was unappealing, so its angle was adjusted by 45 degrees to be directly visible from the lobby. In order to create a welcoming space, the entrance foyer was expanded, adjusted and rounded to soften the edges. Gone is the old traditional square office. The organic shape hides the air handling units (AHU). The walls covering the AHU room were made to flow organically, so much that this feature has become central in its own right. The rough concrete finish and the voluptuous lines are juxtaposed to refer to the original exposed pillars.
ADOPTING AN AGILE OFFICE PHILOSOPHY
The new open-plan office has spacious zones and the teams are no longer tied to their desks. Without a PC and a LAN cable, they can now work independently or in groups anywhere in the building. The informal reception area is designed to resemble a café, with a barista to welcome visitors with a cup of coffee. There is a large meeting room, two smaller meeting rooms, a townhall-like meeting area, a staff canteen and a pantry.
Digital transformation as integral part of the design is present in the form of clean desks and warm meeting spaces that allow collaborations among team members from all parts of the globe. Most of the furniture is free standing, movable and adjustable, specifically chosen to reflect the company’s brand identity that adopts an agile office philosophy. Storage is used without sacrificing aesthetics and space. The meeting room has a faux-wall to hide office accoutrement. Because personal desk drawers were removed, lockers were fixed into the hallway for staff to store their personal belongings.
CREATING FLEXIBILITY AND COMFORT
The open-plan office was designed for dwp staff to be creative and interactive. The social areas are popular among the teams and meetings can be held in every corner of the office. There is a thick wooden counter that makes a functional and aesthetic workspace in the café area. There are small desks in the pantry that can be used for internal meetings or for casual catch-ups with suppliers.
Natural light from the treelined outdoors flows in, reducing reliance on mechanical lighting and thus energy consumption. The floors are covered with carpets to absorb noise. Existing low ceilings were removed to create a sense of height and space. The social areas, meeting rooms and waiting areas are all located in the centre to allow for intimacy and flow. A zoning system separates the working area from the social area, with the latter receiving the most natural light from the windows to invite people to discuss and collaborate. Overall, the unity of the open-plan office has created greater communication and social cohesion. The spacious meeting rooms, equipped with modern technology, have also made dwp’s clients keen to hold meetings in the new office.
PLAYING WITH COLOURS AND MATERIALITY
The style of the dwp office is marked by the organic flow and rounded walls, juxtaposed with the rough concrete finishes. Exposed pipes and original markings on the beams were retained to become part of the artwork. The office also showcases dwp’s clever combinations of materials and colours. The social areas are warm and welcoming with laminated floors. The open office is more dynamic with black tonal carpets that contrast with the white walls and the concrete pillars.
There are three styles of meeting room. The boardroom dedicated for big groups is clean and simple with white and grey tones. Banquette seats lining up the walls are available for even larger groups. The second meeting room is more colourful; and the third, used mainly for internal meetings, is more casual.
Project names: dwp Office
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Completion Date: October 2018
Site Area: 1,245 square metres
Building Height: 1 storey
Number of Unit: 1 unit
Interior Design Firm: dwp
Principal Designer: dwp
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: WEP Engineering Partners Co Ltd
Main Contractor: Cre-Ful Co Ltd; VTEC Decor Co Ltd
Interior Fit-Out Contractor: Cre-Ful Co Ltd; VTEC Decor Co Ltd
Images: Penthai na Pombejra