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/ WWW.DESIGNANDARCHITECTURE.COM / / ISSUE 106. 2018 • S$8 /
JANDABAIK VILLAS MJKANNY ARCHITECT
JFJ SANCTUARY PARABLE STUDIO
HOSHINOYA TOKYO AZUMA ARCHITECTS & ASSOCIATES
MEATING PLACE LAANK
BOUTIQUE HOTELS IN SIEM REAP
HOW DESIGN CAN HELP TO CHANGE A CITY’S APPEAL
/ FEATURE /
/ WORDS DANIELLE KEETON-OLSEN
DESIGN LENDS A HAND A growing collection of boutique hotels in Siem Reap is helping to attract higher income tourists to the Cambodian city.
espite the scorching Cambodian sun, the lush canopy of palms and bright tropical flowers form cool oases around the Templation resort grounds, enticing guests out of their rooms and into one of its 21 pools. The bathrooms and most of the restaurant of this Siem Reap boutique resort are openair, but the breeze is pleasant enough that many guests don’t mind, or even prefer, to limit the air conditioning they use. That experience is intentional, says Alexis de Suremain, hotel manager for Maads Group, which opened the resort in 2016. It turns out that French architect and Cambodian resident Ivan Tizianel, who owns Asma Architects, designed the property with
the mind-set of “simplicity in details and closeness to nature”. No wonder the resort touts a high pricetag starting at US$163 per night, but among the dozens of Siem Reap hotels priced below $50, Templation pulls in a consistent number of reservations. And it is not the only one. The unique countryside resort of Phum Baitang that looks out to rice paddy fields, is another example. It is perched on stilts and seamlessly weaves modern-day luxuries into an idyllic vision of Cambodian villages. General manager Colin Bryan says he was surprised to count repeat customers in the resort’s first three years, and he expects the number to grow, as a quarter of the visitors come from Asian countries.
Templation Hotelâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s meditative atmosphere arises from its harmonic relationship with nature, created through sustainable design and a plethora of pools.Â
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Properties like these, with their strong focus on design, have been coming online in the Cambodian city, best known for the ancient wonder of Angkor Wat, and the dozens of surrounding temples built between 800 and 1400 CE. In doing so, they are evolving Siem Reap from an overnight spot for intrepid travellers and backpackers, to a luxury destination. These higher income tourists, note hoteliers, come both from within the country (through a mix of both local and expatriates) and the rest of Asia.
Tommy Bekaert is the manager of Rambutan Hotel and Resort in Siem Reap and the low-density residence Villa Ni Say. He says he is also seeing an increase in Chinese tourists – an important source market for Cambodia – moving away from guided group tours and mega hotels, to customising itineraries and residing at these design-led, boutique properties. Collectively, they help to contribute to the Cambodian economy. With higher prices, boutique hotels claim to pay their staff better and offer benefits still uncommon in the job market, such as insurance and training opportunities. Their growing numbers also mean higher employment rates and boosting the standard of living of the locals.
NOT JUST FOR BACKPACKERS Before the scene began to diversify, Siem Reap was packed with gritty, $2-pernight hostels and guesthouses, and boxy, quick-construction hotels scaled to serve the mass tourism groups that come to tour the temples for a night. The only notable luxury properties were Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, a pioneer in the industry since 1932, and later, Amansara
Between its tasteful Southeast Asian antiques and elegant upholstery, the traditionally-inspired villas of Phum Baitang spare no luxury. But designers also took care not to build in excess, carefully deciding what interior choices would perpetuate its restful feel.
that occupies Cambodian Prince Norodom Sihanouk’s guesthouse since 2002. With rooms starting at US$775 a night in 2005 at the latter, Dirk Graaf found he had no affordable luxury options when he first visited Siem Reap that same year. He therefore decided to fill that gap with Golden Banana, a quaint boutique hotel in a restored villa, covered by sunshade and tropical plants, “I wanted to make something that people would remember and feel comfortable at, so they will want to come back.” You could say he was an early trendsetter. With the property being consistently booked and welcoming repeat customers, other
hoteliers started to take note and follow in Graaf’s footsteps. He considers his success as a combination of a few factors: primarily the welcoming staff and LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere, as well as the relaxing and tropical environment created through the properties’ design. Since then, the sector has not stopped growing – both in terms of size and creativity, of which Cambodia has no shortage of – in turn attracting wealthier tourists to the city. For instance, Templation captures a unique audience through its eco-friendly design and management, trumping most
Tucked away from the main tourist hub and shrouded in flora, Rambutan Hotel grew a steady stream of customers by hosting a limited number of guests in a renovated villa.
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/ WORDS CHARMAINE CHAN
PLAY OF SPACES How many roles can a three-storey shophouse play? As the premises of design firm Studio Terre show, the possibilities are endless.
ntering 66B Niven Road can be confusing â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a flight of steps leads into an expansive space that looks like a cross between a chic restaurant and a stylish home. Actually it is neither. Instead, it is an office, design studio, meeting place, event space and gallery showcasing the work of Studio Terre, its home accessories arm, Teapot & Giraffe and its architecture arm, Observancy Architecture. Founder and director Terence Chan
reveals that they moved into this 3,600ft2 space, spread out over three floors, only in April last year. There is an organised flow dictated by function â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the office is at the top on level three, with desks, computers and ample but discreet storage to house files, as well as samples of fabric, stone, wood and metal. The second floor is for entertaining. There are cosy groupings of furniture, a sleek coffee pantry, a fully functional kitchen and a dining
The stairwell on the left leads up to the second floor; the first floor showroom is located at the right of the building and accessed through a separate door at ground level, with no connection to the other floors.
/ PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO PERIPHERY
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Chan points out the blue side table in the window display and how it is in a polished stainless steel with a coloured lacquer over it something that wouldn’t have been achievable a few years back.
The shelving unit in the first floor gallery was designed by Chan and is heavy, weighing in at about half a tonne, because of the 25mmthick marble slabs.
area with a massive concrete table cast on site that seats up to 20. “This is where we run a lot of activities like coffee and sake appreciation and floral workshops,” says Chan. The ground floor space is the smallest, and most formal. Decked out like a private showroom, it effectively showcases what Chan can do with interiors and furniture. There are three volumes here – “the big rectangle gallery, a wooden box and a long and narrow passage”, Chan describes, as he walks through.
Each volume is designed to have a different feel, yet each blends smoothly into the next, and can be closed off by doors that complete the transformative cocoon effect. “The shape is odd but it effectively demonstrates to clients that even that can work if you design well and choose pieces to suit it,” he says. And he has. The furniture fit in perfectly with the atmosphere of quiet luxury here. There is a classic desk in leather, wood and patina brass, an elegant cabinet with sensor lights and pivot hinges, and most astonishingly a whisky bar made out of a variety of high-gloss woods, with an illuminated interior and doors that swing back and click into place due to a system of magnets, air pressure and springs. Although all of these pieces have been created by Chan, he eschews the label of furniture designer because his collection doesn’t include chairs. “That’s a whole different ball game and it’s a real craft because of the ergonomics and the comfort level,” he says. “I only design joinery pieces and I do it all out of interest. There has been no formal training. I just like to doodle a lot.” He shares that he was led into this area because of his primary job of interior design. In creating interiors for his clients, he sources everything – from furniture to fittings to accessories, “There were times I
couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for so I would design it myself.” Chan’s design vocabulary is extensive enough to ensure that what he comes up with blends in perfectly with the aesthetic of any given space or product. In the kitchen, the Bulthaup kitchen tool cabinet has had additional drawers built into it so that it looks like it came that way. Similarly, he customised wooden counter tops to slide over the Bulthaup steel island for easy conversion into a meeting
table. Yet, few can tell it was not part of the original set-up. Throughout the shophouse, designer pieces sit easily next to Chan’s own creations, seamlessly blending into one beautifully realised aesthetic. Confident curation is seen in the deft balance between the rawness of exposed pipes, steel, plywood and cork sheets and the expensive polish of Hans Wegner chairs, Cassina furniture and Louis Poulsen lighting. Things are positioned with stylish
The timber structure on the second floor was brought over from their old office on Purvis Street, which took 18 hours to dismantle and two months to reconstruct here.
/ OFFICE /
/ PHOTOGRAPHY OWEN RAGGETT / SKETCHES AEDAS
/ WORDS PRAISE POH
VILLAGE IN AN OFFICE Indonesian culture played a starring role in influencing the design of the Unilever Headquarters in Jakarta.
s commercial buildings are getting smarter, one may wonder if they are losing the human touch. This is what architects and interior designers from Aedas tried to prevent with one of its latest projects in Jakarta: the Unilever Headquarters. Located in the BSD Green Office Park, Indonesia’s first green office district (also master-planned by Aedas), the new low-rise commercial building boasts advanced green architectures that conserve energy, water and natural resources. A collaboration between the architecture and interiors teams led by Steven Thor, executive director of Aedas, and Steven Shaw, executive principal of Aedas Interiors, respectively, the building’s stunning curvilinear façade and dynamic interiors set it apart from the rest. Interestingly, traditional Indonesian villages serve as the inspiration for this elegant and modern-looking office.
FOSTERING COMMUNITY SPIRIT Combining four major offices into one central headquarter, the client, Unilever, wanted it “to have a campus feel – a town hall for the users to feel integrated”. This meant internal communication was essential to this project. “The conventional idea of a corporate office is usually not associated with terms like community spirit. However, the Unilever Headquarters building is designed with an aim to support the spirit of community, collaboration, engagement and agility,” says Thor.
/ OFFICE /
Visual connectivity across all levels creates opportunities for communication and transparency. It also allows the internal volume to be read as one big, communal space.
UNILEVER HEADQUARTERS LOCATION COMPLETION SITE AREA BUILDING AREA GROSS FLOOR AREA DESIGN AND PROJECT ARCHITECT INTERIOR DESIGNER BUILDING CONTRACTOR FAÇADE CONTRACTOR FIT-OUT CONTRACTOR C&S CONSULTANT QUANTITY SURVEYOR LANDSCAPE CONSULTANT AWARDS
“Values from the traditional Indonesian village are distilled into abstracted planning elements like ‘squares’, ‘main roads’, and ‘streets’. These were then incorporated with the planning requirements of an office to create this interesting hybrid.” Unlike traditional high-rise office towers, this five-storey horizontal building is designed in tandem to achieve both aesthetics and functionality, while promoting human interaction and communication among the users. As such, the internal planning and façade worked in harmony to facilitate collaboration and efficiencies, while keeping the form and space fluid. For instance, the light-filled courtyard atrium (largely facilitated by the doubleglazed skylight) at the centre of the building, serves to create a sense of community and
JAKARTA, INDONESIA 2017 30,000M2 32,000M2 50,477M2 AEDAS AEDAS INTERIORS BAM INDALEX PT GEMA GRAHA SARANA PT. MEINHARDT INDONESIA WT PARTNERSHIP SHEILS FLYNN ASIA A’ DESIGN AWARDS 2017-2018, GOLDEN WINNER, ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND STRUCTURE DESIGN
openness by promoting interaction and embracing diversity among the staff. It unifies the office by connecting all workspaces, meeting rooms and breakout areas, while also doubling as a large communal event space. Public and shared facilities like the musholla, staff dining area, day care centre, fitness centre, beauty salon, Magnum ice cream cafe, auditorium and multi-purpose hall are also located around the atrium on the ground floor. “The good horizontal and vertical connectivity reduces dependency on lifts, and creates opportunities for dialogue while boosting innovation and creative thinking. Visual connectivity across the four levels also allow the internal volume to be read as one big space that encourages communication and transparency,” adds Thor.
/ OFFICE /
For Shaw, the main stairway that connects the common facilities on the ground floor with the work floors is one of his personal favourite design features that embodies the element of community. “(It) was conceived to be a combination of staircase and amphitheatre – a place for people to gather and meet, sit and have lunch or as an alternative place to work and host group meetings as well as product road shows,” he says.
A SENSE OF PLACE The dynamic and undulating flow of the interiors, and the change in shape and form between floors, create a cosy environment with an extremely interesting visual treat for the users. “The unique shape was actually the outcome of internal planning. The working spaces and break-out areas are organised around a central circulation loop so that the spaces flow from one to another with continuity. The large floorplates of all four floors promote this horizontal movement
and accessibility, while the stairs within the atrium provide vertical connectivity,” Thor offers. “The layout of these internal spaces gives shape to the external form. The undulating flow is a result of pushing and pulling the interior volumes as a passive design strategy to create self-shading, and also to open up depths of the interior spaces to daylighting. The end result is this building form that exudes a contemporary image with dynamic lines.” With break-out spaces, lounges, and conference rooms strategically located along the main circulation route, users are encouraged to transit across floors without the need to take lifts, which ultimately facilitates a more efficient use of time, while promoting “the idea of incidental meetand-greet”. To create a cohesive and Indonesian feel in the workplace, Shaw chose to enrich the minimalistic interiors with a theme consisting of Indonesian batik fabrics, recycled teak timber, furniture and Indonesian imagery.
The undulating flow of the floorplates is a result of pushing and pulling the interior volumes as a passive design strategy to create self-shading and increase the areas daylight can penetrate.
/ OFFICE /
/ WORDS LUO JINGMEI
HEART AND SOUL Designed by Parable Studio, JFJ Sanctuary is a production studio and office that eschews the sterility of conventional workspace design, for an environment encompassing movement, tactility and a sense of wonder.
n Taipei’s Neihu neighbourhood occupied by tech companies, the nondescript architecture JFJ Sanctuary is housed in belies the thoughtful design that permeates both the interior and a beverage kiosk named Miracle Coffee that heralds the office’s presence at the busy junction. Designed by Singapore-based Parable Studio, in collaboration with Taiwanese multidisciplinary studio J.C. Architecture, JFJ Sanctuary is the headquarters and base for international music artiste songwriter,
and record producer JJ Lin and his team JFJ Productions. The client requested for a spatial experience that both reflects and informs the way he writes and expresses music. More importantly, it is to function as a “sanctuary” for Lin, his staff, celebrity guests and business partners. It contains a state-of-the-art production studio, offices, reception, hospitaity lounge, meeting room, storage spaces, Lin’s private office and a coffee kiosk. Formerly a furniture showroom,
/ PHOTOGRAPHY DEVIN HUANG
/ OFFICE /
JFJ SANCTUARY LOCATION COMPLETION GROSS FLOOR AREA ARCHITECT CONSULTANT MANAGER
66B NIVEN ROAD, SINGAPORE 2017 4,000FT2 PARABLE STUDIO X J.C.ARCHITECTURE CHIUN INTERIOR DESIGN
3 the space had fine bones to work with. High ceilings dominate, and a perimeter of full-height windows flushes the interior with much natural light. “After spending time with the client, it was clear that the space had to be a combination of craft, art and technology,” says Ken Yuktasevi, Co-Founder and Director at Parable Studio. “The concept that rose from the brief was an idealised home full of rooms that surround a central ‘heart’ — a hybrid multipurpose studio and concert stage, which JJ Lin calls the ‘Sanctuary’. We fell in love with the thought of music being at the heart of life, and life being the vessel for music.” The Sanctuary is situated in the bulletshaped plan’s centre, with a rotund layout that loosely corresponds with the lines of the perimeter walls. This placement breaks the potential monotony of the general space, while fostering an ambulating sense of movement throughout the office. The gesture is marked threedimensionally with an omnipresent Carrera marble wall running “across the various other programmatic spaces and thus connect them thematically, even the Miracle Coffee section”, describes Yuktasevi. Upon entry, one is greeted by a section of this wall with an animated welcome video.
It follows a left turn to the office, pantry and production room, and turning right, leads to the lounge and meeting room beyond. On the mezzanine level is Lin’s private office. “The wall of Sanctuary is the most painstakingly crafted part of the project. Clad in individually cut marble lines, the formwork for this piece was hand drawn and prototyped in paper origami before being sent for cutting in Carrera marble.
A curved wall in Carerra marble makes an arresting feature within the office.
Curved elements and pleasant shades of blue echo within the Miracle Coffee kiosk.
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SET IN CONCRETE Brutalist architecture helps this house fit in while being distinctive all at the same time.
/ PHOTOGRAPHY BETON BRUT (KHOO GUO JIE)
mid the hodgepodge of styles of houses along Old Holland Road, 821OHR is one that stands out from the rest. Don’t be mistaken though. It is prominent not in an “iconic” way – a direction that would be tempting when an architect is tasked to design an abode in this affluent neighbourhood. Instead, it is done in the brutalist style, with a boxy and defined form. Obviously, concrete takes the centrestage, where the versions of off-form and fair-faced can be found in grey and white-grey. In choosing this direction, Chan Loo Siang of Inte Architects applies onto this Good Class Bungalow a stark simplicity that allows it to sit comfortably in the estate, while making it unmissable.
The music room, most visible from the front of the house, is designed as a cantilevered concrete box that floats above the driveway.
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Lived in by a multi-generation family of seven, 821OHR is a two-storey house with an attic and basement. The aerial view will reveal two separate buildings on the same plot, connected by a fully suspended concrete bridge. In between sits the 15m by 6m swimming pool that doubles up as a courtyard. A major factor in informing the architecture of the bungalow is the fact that it sits on a gently sloping plot of land. As a result, the main entrance in introduced as a mezzanine, mid-way between the living room on the ground floor, and bedrooms on the second floor. “I have always been interested to design houses that sit on a sloping terrain. It poses as a natural setting where internal spaces
can be designed to respond to. External forms and volumes also become a result of how the spaces engage the land,” says Chan. “There is always a sense of anticipation as to how the spaces reveal and breathe when moving across them. In a way, I see myself as orchestrating the users to breathe rhythmically and in sync with the spaces as they flow.” Enter the house in the day and the foyer is awash with natural light streaming in from a skylight. The interiors are not immediately visible, done deliberate to allow a degree of privacy. Move further in and on the right is a lift that anchors the circulation space. Immediately above is a cantilevered U-shape concrete bridge that connects the elevator doors on the second floor to the private rooms.
Two flights of stairs lead from the front of the house to various parts: one, the kitchen and the other, the poolside, each serving a different purpose during house parties.
Recessed studs interrupt the otherwise smooth fair-faced concrete of the facade.
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NATURE’S BIGGEST FAN Dr. Timothy Beatley is the biggest champion of biophilic cities – no surprise considering he is considered one of the pioneers of the concept.
hile other kids have dogs, cats and goldfish as pets, Dr. Timothy Beatley preferred snakes. “It was not something my mom was crazy about, and for a time, I aspired to being a herpetologist,” says the Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities at the School of Architecture in the University of Virginia in the US. Further encouraging this was a childhood often spent outdoors with trees, birds and nature all around him. All this took place not in the countryside, but in Alexandria, Virginia in the US. “My father was the mayor in the city I grew up in, and as a result, I had an early exposure to urban planning and urban sustainability issues (though before that word was in use),” he explains. These factors unconsciously laid the foundation for Dr. Beatley to become one of the pioneers of the concept of biophilic cities, which is the merging of nature and the environment with urban areas. “My passion also comes from the strong sense that cities can profoundly improve the quality of our lives; an important part of that urban liveability can and must come from contact with nature. “We need the urban and the nature, and increasingly we have models of cities and urban development that effectively merge these two dimensions.” Speaking at the 55th International Federation of Landscape Architects World Congress 2018 held in Singapore earlier this year, Dr. Beatley shared some of the positive outcomes of living in cities suffused with nature.
They include reduced rates of childhood asthma, schizophrenia and depression, higher worker productivity and creativity levels, and increased laughter and joy. “It is a fallacy to think that greening a city is expensive. There is lots of evidence and we don’t have to argue too strongly to make an economic case,” he explains.
ACHIEVING BIOPHILIC CITIES Exactly how is this done though? Dr. Beatley says it should not be a random gesture. Instead, a whole-of-city approach is necessary, to ensure there are networks of interconnected nature integrated into it that are resilient and multi-functional. For existing cities, it could be as simple as planting more trees on the sidewalk, or incorporating gardens into pockets of space, “This is one of the most cost effective things to do.” Developers should also look into retrofitting their buildings by turning rooftops into urban farms, introducing landscaped terraces and balconies, bringing in natural daylight and installing green walls indoors. Dr. Beatley also has a range of ideas for architects. He recognises that while many of the big firms are already significantly embracing the biophilic agenda, persuaded by the body of research around the productivity benefits, more can always be done. “Where you need to be a champion, be one. Go back to school to understand the new tools. There is a publication called 14 Patterns of Biophilic Design that is a check-list of different ways a building or space can be biophilic.
“Look for creative ways to incorporate a natural feature in a building. For example, the elevators in the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore have these pretty leaf patterns in the ceiling – imagery also counts.”
WHEN THERE IS A WILL... It definitely does not sound like rocket science, so it is natural to wonder what the obstacles are. Dr. Beatley reckons it is a mix of funding, will, insufficient creativity and lack of green policy direction. He cites the example of a woman in San Francisco, founder of PLANT*SF Jane Martin, who was trying to get permission from the city council to use the sidewalks to plant gardens. Since there was not a specific permit to do this, she almost single-handedly pushed the city to change its permitting structure so that since 2006, there is a sidewalk permit that allows for it. “It doesn’t cost a lot of money, and it just takes a few weeks to get it. In this case, it was changing a rigid, regulatory structure,” he says. In Melbourne, this cause is championed by the government itself. The Australian city has a goal of doubling the canopy coverage from 22 percent to 40 percent by 2040. This will help it achieve its vision of being a city in a forest. Points out Dr. Beatley, “There are 1,001 ways we could be nudging everyone to think of how to make our cities more biophilic. There is clearly a public benefit and we should make this a priority.”
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DESIGNING FOR CHANGE Si Jian Xin and Leong Hon Kit are co-partners of wynk;collaborative, a firm they set up in 2012 to create experiences that delight and touch the soul.
/ PHOTOGRAPHY ALVINN LIM
Why did you decide to become designers?
Leong Hon Kit (Kit): I liked the idea of creating things that other people can use and enjoy. Si Jian Xin (JX): I was fascinated by the narrative and craft behind different spatial experiences. What is the most interesting project you have worked on to date?
The most interesting project is always the next project. We get to build on what we have learnt from previous projects, and layer on ideas and concepts in new contexts, which produces unexpected results sometimes. If I had to mention a completed project, it would be the Honestbee office. It allowed us to push the idea of office design from a functional exercise of planning workspaces and meeting rooms, to treating it as urban design with a social aspect. We took the approach to design the whole space with a flow and layout that is like an old European town. The office was designed as a series of volumes and spaces with a central “plaza” connected through nonorthogonal circulation spaces. There are many nooks and interstitial spaces where people can work at, have a break or hide, outside of their work station. The whole intention was to allow the user to be empowered to use the space in the way they want, to increase the chance for people to encounter each other, and allow for comfortable work environments that are more akin to sitting in a cafe or at home. What is your design philosophy?
We believe in the power of good design to influence and create change. Our process is rooted in the idea of collaboration and human centredness. By looking beyond the confines of architecture, interiors and landscape, we create experiences that delight and touch the soul. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Our designs usually arrive out of our interest in certain materials and textures in relation to the project, and how we can activate the social components of a certain brief, especially for commercial projects.
For example, when we were designing the restaurant Tanuki Raw, we wanted to play on the idea or “raw” and use materials that had a natural finish. We came across roundedcorner bricks (commonly used in outdoor planters in the 1980s and 90s) at an old school, and decided to incorporate them into the entrance wall. It has become one of the major design features. Why did you decide to branch out and set up your own practice?
Wynk began in 2012, when we had the chance to design a house from scratch. We thought it was a good opportunity to try to do something on our own, and we went in with a mentality of “if not now, then when?”. The company evolved over the years to focus on commercial and residential interior design. What is the top challenge you face right now and how do you overcome it?
We are always afraid of being too safe when doing a project. It is easy to give clients something they expect us to produce, and to give a very direct interpretation of a project brief. We constantly remind ourselves to push some boundaries for every project, even if just a small one, to keep the momentum of evolving going. What is it about Space Furniture that compels you to purchase repeatedly from them?
They carry very good brands like Cassina, which we love. Cassina produces a lot of the classics, often in interesting finishes. Every time we visit Space, there will be a piece in unexpected colours. An example is the LC7 Swivel Chair. We are used to seeing it in leather but one time we saw it in a yellow fabric. We like the way Space does the visual merchandising, which helps us imagine very easily how the products can be used. Also, the staff are very helpful. We’ve purchased the Emeco 111 Navy chairs from them to use in Tanuki Raw, and a few Fiam Neutra coffee tables for the Honestbee office, just to name a few.
This story is produced in collaboration with Space Furniture.
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DO YOU CARE? Working with a service design partner can make a difference to how successful your healthcare project becomes when it is built and functioning.
The resultant project was named “Who Cares? Transforming the Caregiving Experience in Singapore”, launched in 2016. The team created seven concepts with levels of impact that varied from policy to personal. These were effectively communicated through user-friendly and accessible platforms such as a book, toolkit and video stories. “A service design strategy may not be what many designers would be willing to take on, given its laborious ethnographic processes, “unglamorous” subject matter and uncertain outcomes,” said the Jury Citation. “The team has shown that the emotional rewards of such endeavours trump these challenges.”
Collaterals created by fuelfor as part of the Who Cares? Transforming the Caregiving Experience in Singapore project commissioned by the National Council of Social Service.
t the President*s Design Award gala event held in July this year, one recipient stood out from the rest in the Design of the Year category. László Herczeg and Lekshmy Parameswaran are both directors of fuelfor design and consulting S.L., who specialise in using design thinking to create products, processes and services for the healthcare industry. The pair had been commissioned by the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) to envision an ecosystem that would support the rising number of caregivers in Singapore, as the population ages.
MAKE SPACE FOR SERVICE DESIGN? That an organisation like fuelfor would win Singapore’s highest design honour speaks volumes. It recognises the value that service design has, and begs the question of how it can have a more prominent and important role, particularly when it comes to the architecture of healthcare facilities. Parameswaran is careful to point out that architecture best practices already involve an organisation’s stakeholders in the design process. “However, the nature of engagement and co-creation with patients, families and multidisciplinary teams in a service design approach is different; it is focused on people’s behaviours and care interactions rather than functional needs,” she says. “It is focused on the service experience (software) as it plays out in the physical space (hardware). And it aims to engage people in this transformative journey to their own new organisation so that the results feel familiar and like they already belong to them.” This of course is easier said than done. The duo has identified that the important part
László Herczeg and Lekshmy Parameswaran are directors of fuelfor design and consulting S.L.
of what needs to be done is changing the mind-set – starting with the person at the top of the organisation. “In our practice, many times, we are lucky to find these leaders. But at the same, we push care teams and the leadership to understand what is required,” says Herczeg. “As designers, we facilitate this change, without which the service that is introduced is not going to be sustainable.” Once the client has bought in to what fuelfor has to offer, they sit down together to draw the parameters of the challenge they are tackling. In the instance of the Who Cares? project, it was to understand how to provide better support and see to the needs of caregivers, an often-overlooked segment of the healthcare industry.
NEED TO BE PERSUADED? fuelfor believes there is a unique opportunity for architects to add greater value to care organisations they support by embracing service design methods and integrating them with architectural design best practices. This can be done either by building inhouse service design capability or through creative partnerships. Here, it offers three key ways that service design can add value to a care organisation, through working with architects to transform its services within a new setting.
1. Service design as facilitating organisational transformation and to journey with the organisation, supporting their engagement and collaboration throughout the design process. This can begin as early as feeding its vision and needs into the Request For Proposal, during the initial design phase, ensuring the best fit-to-purpose between architecture design concept and on-theground issues and needs. It should also be done prior to opening providing support in training care teams and staff in new service processes and behaviours as they gear up to move into their new space. 2. Service design as uncovering and addressing human insights and needs, through ethnographic field research that
looks at experiential issues and needs from a human-scale vantage point, that complements the bird’s-eye master planning view. This encompasses running on-theground, co-creation sessions with different groups of stakeholders from senior management to patients and families; visualising insights gathered as an experience journey that maps specific needs and behaviours over time and space, and enabling insights to be communicated and actionable. Experience journeys can act as a valuable bridge between organisational teams who are busy designing new care processes, and architectural teams designing new flows and care spaces. 3. Service design as an advocate for an organisation’s overall service goals. This ensures key service experience qualities are not lost in translation along the design process, and that important humanscale service interactions and behaviours remain possible and present between people using the building and services as the final building takes shape. This support then continues into that crucial first year when teething problems emerge and final finetuning can happen to evaluate and ensure services function and deliver the targeted experiential qualities of care.
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HOME IS WHERE MARS IS / WORDS LOW SHI PING / IMAGE NASA
What would a habitat on Mars look like? NASA thinks Team Zopherus from Rogers, Arkansas in the US has the answer. The American space agency awarded it the top prize in a competition to create the best 3D-printed habitat that can actually be built on the planet. This is part of NASA’s series of Centennial Challenges that engages the public in advanced
technology development. The team’s solution mixes materials on Mars – ice, calcium oxide, and rocks – to form a type of “concrete”. This is mixed inside a huge metal dome that also fits the 3D printer. Once a section of the habitat is done (pre-selected by a machine inside the dome), the printer will move itself to another part of the area to repeat the process.
What results are hexagonal habitats, constructed using “local concrete”, that can withstand the climate and absorb radiation to protect the lives living in it. The shape means several can be clustered close together to form a community. The mezzanine level even has a large window to allow light in to cultivate a hydroponic garden that can produce oxygen. Who’s ready to move in?