Woolf Works

Woolf Works is the first women-only co-working community in Asia. It is also a place for meetings, events and community activities. Therefore, a functional but flexible design was necessary in fitting out the new premises. The design brief also required retaining the calm atmosphere curated in the current office and in-depth space planning.

The main challenge was in maximising the volume of desk space and seating, whilst still allowing for comfort and privacy in an open-plan office environment. The space needed to be a sanctuary away from the distractions at home and alternate co-working options.

In addition to an open-plan area, the office needed to appeal to a diverse range of clientele through multifunctional space offerings. Three meeting rooms of differing sizes would target both individuals and larger groups. As an established business, Woolf Works worked hard to curate a specific ambience at the previous premises. It was necessary to carefully emulate this whilst making general improvements through smart design.

Located in Chinatown, Woolf Works pays homage to the heritage architecture in its immediate surroundings. Through the development of bespoke graphics depicting a traditional Peranakan shophouse, the central meeting room proudly reminds users of the rich culture that the district offers. The physical space inside the unit fosters a range of social interactions through the creation of different zones for group or individual use. An expansive large rooftop terrace nurtures a rich sense of community through gardening projects, yoga classes and monthly events.

The client was drawn to a minimalistic and honest material palette. This vision informed a pared-back and restrained choice of materials from local suppliers. The floor is a polished concrete and all other surfaces are white, with just a small accent of yellow. Furniture and fixtures were made from plywood and branded with a simple emblem. As Woolf Works is a space that attracts professionals from a broad cross-section of industries, this unobtrusive naked palette aims not to distract, but cultivate an environment that increases productivity.

Budget constraints invited creativity through minimalist material selections and reusing existing furniture and fittings where possible. The project had a timeline of four weeks—from site acquisition to opening its doors for co-working. This meant working closely with local suppliers and ensuring project communications were transparent for all involved parties. The end result provided Woolf Works with a marketable space that can evolve as the business grows.

By applying space-planning expertise, Woolf Works immediately saw the return on investment as desk and seating capacity allows up to 40 attendees per day—doubling the capacity of the prior premises. The meeting rooms appeal not only to people who co-work, but also to individuals who need to provide a professional front for hosting meetings or workshops. The open-plan office space can be quickly transformed into a large open area to allow for networking nights, presentations and hire by external parties.

Project Name: Woolf Works
Location: 19 Carpenter Street, Singapore
Completion Date: May 2016
Gross Floor Area: 150 square metres
Number of Rooms/Units: 3 (meeting rooms); 1 (open-plan office)
Client/Owner: Michaela Anchan (Woolf Works)
Interior Design Firm: Aym Design
Interior Fit-Out Contractor: Retz Design
Images/Photos: Todd Beltz Photography