London, United Kingdom
Masdar City, Abu Dhabi
Auckland, New Zealand
New York, New York
A Global Office Showcasing Design Process and Local Culture
This studio is designed to spur collaboration and showcase design, immersing visitors in the experience of a creative lab. Simultaneously global and local, it embraces the cultural benefits of the agile and diverse Global Studio to enhance the human experience in the same way the firm’s projects do. Equipped with modern tools such as a virtual reality space, a 3D printer and video conferencing to connect with international colleagues, the space’s array of furniture can adapt as needed. The open layout provides a shared space where work can be observed, and new solutions are presented.
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With the air of a contemporary hospitality space, the studio exudes comfort and sophistication. A central street running the length of the floor along the East to West axis creates a curated sequence that puts innovative thinking on display and takes visitors on a journey through the design process. Beginning at the reception area, the street takes you past models of award-winning work and the collaboration area for both designers and clients to experience the impact of new technologies. The material libraries, where the models are made, are followed by two large tables for all-staff meetings and presentations. Like most of the furniture arrangements, these are highly flexible and able to be rearranged as needed.
Open desks lie to either side of the street, where their exposure to natural light is greater. Around them, pin-up areas and shelving showcase drawings and models to provoke everyday conversation, collaboration and critique. The eastern terminus of the street is at the kitchen bar and lounge, which offers the best views over the city’s People’s Square for all to enjoy. Here staff can share meals and gather for events. Flanking the bar are meeting rooms, which have been reframed as “workshops” to evoke their real purpose.
The aesthetic is raw and authentic, with the bones of the structure—exposed columns and mechanical elements on the ceiling—available for everyone to see how the building works. While the fibre cement sheet flooring gives an overall compelling edge, carpets and curtains add a homey feeling to the workshops, lending a layer of privacy without cutting the office off with walls. The steel-framed doors refer back to the art-deco heritage of Shanghai architecture, as do vintage pieces placed throughout the office—which will accrue over time to reflect its locality in dialogue with a global design practice.