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VOL.8 NO.2 JUN - SEP 2015 SGD13 BND13 AUD13.95 MYR15 HKD80 THB295 PHP295 INR395 IDR90000 (Included GST)

DELIVERING SIMPLICITY A STYLISH CLASSIC | DESIGNED TO LAST | DESIGNING CUSTOMER JOURNEYS ELEGANT SOPHISTICATION | BOLD AND CONTEMPORARY | TRANSPARENCY BUILT-IN


Designed to provide easy access to power and communication connections without having to modify existing furniture, this modular unit can be mounted on top of a table surface. The NETBOX Global can be customized to a choice of more than 200 modules and is available in various sizes.


PUBLISHER’S LETTER

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BASIC IS BEST

I Simplicity delves past the exterior before patiently working its way outwards, teasing out solutions along the way that manifest themselves as uncomplicated forms, informing as well as delighting us.

n design, minimalism and simplicity are often thought of as one and the same. In my humble opinion, the opposite is true. While both may appear to share a common aesthetic, look a little closer and one will soon discover that the two are entirely different where design approaches are concerned. Minimalism celebrates unadorned surfaces in all their flushed and streamlined glory whereas simplicity delves past the exterior before patiently working its way outwards, teasing out solutions along the way that manifest themselves as uncomplicated forms, informing as well as delighting us. Though both approaches have their respective merits, in this issue of Office Concept we are opting to pay tribute to the latter and in turn, the people and projects that champion its implementation. Off the top of my head, a few specific examples come to mind. For instance, there is the Malaysianbased SW1, a fully integrated consulting, design and construction outfit that is quickly making a name for itself by devising simple, effective solutions that don’t compromise on style. Prior to beginning work on a project, SW1’s people strive to understand not only who the client is and what they are about but also who they want to be tomorrow, alluding to the aforementioned notion of working inside out to achieve optimum results. One only has to look at recently completed projects such as the Shanthi Kandiah Chambers Office in Damansara, a ‘quirky’ law office, or the Maybank Academy, a multi-use learning centre that features a merging of modern and traditional elements, to get a sense of their thoughtful, high caliber projects. Alongside our showcase of these projects, we have also included some stellar furniture designs from design icons and promising young hopefuls that further reinforce our chosen theme. Enjoy the issue and do let us know what you think! Kenneth Khu

kenneth@officeconcept.asia

Softseating by Molo

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CONTENT

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE BASIC IS BEST

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INTERIOR DESIGN A STYLISH CLASSIC DESIGNED TO LAST DESIGNING CUSTOMER JOURNEYS AN INSPIRED LEARNING EXPERIENCE EXQUISITELY MALAYSIAN ELEGANT SOPHISTICATION BOLD AND CONTEMPORARY CONTEMPORARY AND CONNECTED TRANSPARENCY BUILT-IN DESIGN BUILT UPON RELATIONSHIPS A FIGURE OF GROWTH DESIGNING EVOLUTIONARY AESTHETICS

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OFFICE CONCEPT

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LEADERSHIP VIEWPOINTS BREAK AWAY FROM TRENDS AND BUILD BENCHMARKS

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FITTING INTERIORS FUNDAMENTALLY FAB OUTDOOR ELEGANCE HOMAGE TO A CITY UNBEATABLE SEAT GET CONNECTED STOKING STORAGE ENVY DIVIDE AND CONQUER CREATING WORKSPACES FIT FOR EMPLOYEES GREEN INTERIORS WITH EKOUS HEALING THE PLANET

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THE SOCIAL CIRCLE TAKING PART

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CONTENT & TEAM

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BREAK AWAY FROM TRENDS AND BUILD BENCHMARKS

OUTDOOR ELEGANCE

CONTENT MANAGING EDITOR Kenneth Khu EDITOR Pang Yin Ying ASSISTANT EDITOR Mandy Chin CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Adele Chong CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Dorothy Lung ART DIRECTOR Eric Phoon SENIOR DESIGNER Sandy Liew

Kriteria by Kastel

EMAILS ADVERTISING advertising@officeconcept.asia EDITORIAL editorial@officeconcept.asia CONTRIBUTION ideas@officeconcept.asia SUBSCRIPTION subscribe@officeconcept.asia WEBSITE www.officeconcept.asia MAGAZINE OFFICE CONCEPT is published three times a year and is circulated throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Opinions expressed are those of the contributors and not necessarily endorsed by the publisher.

CONTACT MEDIA EDGE PUBLICATIONS 1001 Block D Tiara Kelana, Jalan SS7/19 Kelana Jaya, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. T: +603 7887 4525

COPYRIGHT NOTICE All rights, including copyright, in the content of this publication are owned by Media Edge Publications, Malaysia. You are not permitted to copy, broadcast, download, store in any medium, transmit, show or play in public, adapt or change any in any way the content of this publication for any other purpose whatsoever without the prior written permission of Media Edge Publications, Malaysia.

PERMIT NUMBER KDN PP15689/11/2013(033144), MCI(P) 029/01/2015

OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA

TAKING PART

COMPANY PUBLISHER Kenneth Khu BUSINESS MANAGER Edmond Lee BUSINESS EXECUTIVE Kelvin Ong

PRINTER GRAMEDIA PRINTING GROUP Kompas Gramedia Building Jl. Palmerah Selatan no 22-28 Jakarta 10270 - Indonesia.

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PHOTO CREDITS COVER: SW1 (SHEA STUDIO) SECTION OPENER: INTERIOR DESIGN SW1 (SHEA STUDIO) LEADERSHIP VIEWPOINTS SW1 (SHEA STUDIO) FITTNG INTERIORS SCHIAVELLO THE SOCIAL CIRCLE HERMAN MILLER & SCHIAVELLO


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STARK STYLE A collection of soft seating by British design duo Luke Pearson and Tom Lloyd, Open turns up the heat by showcasing simple, striking lines. Sharing an angular aesthetic, the collection’s chair and sofa appear at once firm yet pliable thanks to moulded seat shells, cushions devised with a ‘bull-nosed’ edge and a slim steel rod base-frame that anoints the pieces with a feeling of visual symmetry. www.zenithinteriors.com

SMOOTH OPERATOR Users only have to look at the Kriteria chair to feel relaxed. One of Kastel’s most fetching pieces, this plush executive number with a wraparound headrest exudes comfort at first glance. Function and deft ergonomics swathed in a pretty, sleekly upholstered package, Kriteria is also customisable, coming with fixed or swivel base frames as well as modern neutral hues that are sure to turns heads in any space. www.kastel.it

WELL ROUNDED The word ‘ottoman’ often conjures up visions of misshapen leather lumps fast gathering dust in a darkened, wood-paneled den. Dispelling any stuffy associations, the Pix Mini by Ichiro Iwasaki delivers an enlivening take on the conventional lounger. Brightly hued and soft to the touch, this kid-sized pouf is available in different sizes, including a stool version. Pix Mini can also be used a table and a backrest. www.spacefurniture.asia | | | | | |

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CLOSE QUARTERS Inspired office solutions have always been Schiavello’s specialty. One of the five key elements of Parcs, an interior landscape designed by Pearson Lloyd and developed in partnership with Austrian office furniture company Bene, Toguna Circle nods to the ever-changing needs of the modern workplace. With concentration and collaboration at the heart of the design, this elegant enclosure not only facilitates extended periods of concentration, it also serves as a striking statement piece. www.schiavello.com

PERFECT SYMMETRY Designed by the late Finnish architect Alvar Aalto in 1935, the Artek 69 chair is every bit the classic it was originally intended to be. Featuring a wider base and backrest made from natural birch, the chair embodies stability and good sense. Modernist in look and feel, the L-leg structure is an Aalto calling card, enabling the legs to align perfectly with the seat for superior balance. www.spacefurniture.asia

EASY CHAIR The SixE is surely a game-changer where stackable shell chairs are concerned. Created for multipurpose environments, this innovative piece chimes with Howe’s reputation for solidly envisioned products that prioritise function, ergonomics and great design. The utilitarian details are a gratifying highlight: a discreet lip on the upper back makes the chair easy to handle while the flexible, well-formed backrest also supports the lumbar region, making it possible to sit for longer periods. www.howe.com

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SPIN THAT WHEEL Though Canadian design studio Molo Design launched this quirky number some years back, its widespread appeal remains steadfast. Its simple construction is part of the allure, along with its fire-retardant and recyclable qualities. Made of unbleached paper that has been compressed to bear heavy loads, Molo softseating comes together via magnetic ends that allow each piece to either wind into itself or join with another piece, offering endless possibilities. www.molodesign.com

PULLING IT OFF Revered experts in high-quality extendable tables, Girsberger knew what they were doing when they created the Jasper. Featuring a special extension mechanism with a lift-and-roll function, the piece’s extension, when unlocked, enables the table to be lifted from one end and moved over flooring of any kind, aided by castors fused into the table legs. An invaluable addition when it comes to large and small gatherings alike. www.girsberger.com

AT YOUR DISCRETION Designed by frequent Schiavello collaborator Ivan Woods as part of its Kayt Village collection, Kayt Hutch is an enclosure that allows for focused work sessions at the office or quiet moments in any setting. Set on sturdy aluminum legs, its eye-catching angular framework was created with interior spaciousness in mind. Facing one another, two enclosures give rise to a space for conversing and social interaction, making the piece a versatile option for either individual or group work. www.schiavello.com |

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LINE OF VISION Described as “a pencil line drawn in the air,” String Lights brims with minimalist je ne sais quoi. Inspired by how utility poles interact within the landscape, the concept was conceived as designer Michael Anastassiades was looking out the window while traveling by train. The result is a suspension light featuring a black electric wire that stretches across spaces in different configurations, becoming one with the architecture. www.spacefurniture.com

CONNECTING THE DOTS One of the highlights of ZAVA’s Designer’s Collection at Euroluce 2015, Dot to Dot is an applique lamp that embodies equal parts quirk and sophistication. Designed by young Italian studio C12, the lamp is proudly evocative of its creators’ playful aesthetic. Easily customisable, users may shape or connect the lamp’s elongated parts according to preference, putting the focus on forgotten corners and other areas to grand effect. www.zavaluce.it OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

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SW1

Where form meets function in office space for the modern professional Nestled in the bustling heart of Mont Kiara, SW1 Solutions is a fully integrated consulting, design and construction solutions provider with a proven portfolio of premier international and Malaysian names in the corporate, commercial and professional office segments. From strategic planning and interior design, to project management and construction the company provides end-to-end solutions for every aspect of a clients’ occupancy needs.

“To us design isn’t just the ability to conceptualise a creative idea or to have the ability to deliver on a project within exceedingly tight deadlines. It’s about delivering a process through which a client understands what it really is that they are looking for. Finding the best possible means to create a solution for that. Then executing everything in a way that ensures end-to-end client transparency and honesty to the budget” says Managing Director, Mr Swami Jayaraman.


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“Our first priority is to understand who you are today, and most importantly, where you want to be tomorrow.�


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SW1

Committed to a tradition of providing comprehensive solutions, every project begins with the team geared towards identifying and discovering all of a clients’ current and future needs. This process of discovery entails more than simple requests for information as the SW1 team works with clients to fine tune briefs to the point where they themselves gain greater technical as well as strategic visibility of their long term office capabilities and needs.

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Ensure the ultimate result is executed correctly and delivered on time

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“Our first priority is to understand who you are today, and most importantly, where you want to be tomorrow. It sounds simple but it is an in-depth process and a vital aspect of any truly successful office space design.”


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“Creative energies need to be focused and we see it as our role to ensure that clients are well informed enough from the get-go to be able to make informed decisions on what they want to achieve.”

With creative philosophies which are rooted in having a comprehensive understanding of what inspires a client’s identity, creative designs are developed within the frame of understanding that creativity must be met with practicality, but that neither is necessarily a limitation upon the other. These are guiding principles which have earned SW1 Solutions the privilege to work with a remarkable range of clients; from renowned multinational financial institutions sited at premier LEED Platinum certified buildings in the heart of the commercial business district to stylishly chic repurposed offices in downtown Kuala Lumpur.

“Creative energies need to be focused and we see it as our role to ensure that clients are well informed enough from the get-go to be able to make informed decisions on what they want to achieve. This is essential because the look and space of the real estate needs to create value. It must not be whimsical and arbitrary but rather is developed from a firm understanding of a company or individual’s identity. This is what is then translated into an aesthetic which has meaning and is derived through reason and purpose in mind.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

SW1

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“The key is always value and we seek to give every one of our clients true value with what we have to work with.”


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

SW1

Working directly with a list of reputable trade partners and suppliers, the SW1 team is further empowered to meet client preferences in quality, control, delivery and installation at every step of the supply chain. Expertise in the areas of procurement and construction ensures that work is correctly executed and delivered on time. In this, the company’s proposition is very specific; that it provides its clients a clear understanding and overview of the project at every step, from beginning to end. It’s systems are flexible enough to adopt changes readily and make corrective responses at any juncture of the project cycle.

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“We recognise the forces which at times constrict a client’s options and opportunities. Cost is the glue which binds the process together but it is nonetheless our belief that price should not be the singular definition of creativity or quality. The key is always value and we seek to give every one of our clients true value with what we have to work with. Through this singular service umbrella of specialised expertise , SW1’s ability to integrate all of the necessary value chain roles as a unified force delivers to the client what is today’s ultimate business need – simplicity.


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A STYLISH CLASSIC


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

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FOURWINDS

Crema Marfil and Silver Travertine marble gives a clean yet intrinsic character to the reception area.

The FourWinds Group of Companies, a subsidiary of international firm THARWA Investments, established FourWinds Project Development (FWPD) to become a premier development company specialising in the industrial, infrastructure and real estate sectors in the region.

With ongoing global ambitions, the company sought to inject its dynamic character and world class identity into its new 11,300 square-foot corporate office in one of Kuala Lumpur’s most prestigious towers, the LEED Platinum award winning Integra Tower.

Through FWPD, the Group provides project sponsors with access to capital, technical expertise and strategic planning. Investors are offered direct exposure to unique and attractive projects through a full range of services from financing, engineering and project design to project management and construction.

Portraying an elegant yet robust persona, the design of the office provides seamless continuity between public spaces whilst at the same time preserves the privacy of working areas and the management suite. A blend of modern, contemporary and classical cues are used to complement the architecture of the building, in itself an exemplary feat of innovation and creativity. The end result, a truly remarkable working space which exudes professionalism and elegance.


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Wall finishes of Crema Marfil and Silver Travertine marble are used to complement the polished and honed beige travertine of common areas such as the lift lobby and building reception entrance. In accord, built-in joinery of mahogany veneer provide a traditional touch which complements the earthy tones of the base building’s common spaces, with floor finishes of warm beige and brown hues reinforcing the contrast with the base building’s tonal qualities. Earthy colour tones coalesces the entire office to theme together the use of differing schemes distinguishing the reception area, VVIP lounge, Executive Boardroom, Operational Office and Chairman’s Suite.

Optimised natural light penetration provides a warm natural ambiance and reduces energy consumption. Office partitions designed perpendicularly to the perimeter windows allow rooms to be divided for greater privacy without obstructing the flow of natural light. Additionally, a parallel glass wall provides further seclusion of private offices from operational areas. Because of the unique layout of the building and diverse operational needs of the office, a specially designed circulation corridor was placed around the core of the office to provide efficient flow between sections, amenities as well as exits and primary lift lobby.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

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FOURWINDS

Every opportunity was created to accentuate the offices’ premium styling and a series of metal artworks carrying the same concept, yet each unique from the other, were installed. Signifying the “Four Winds” a mixture of silver, bronze, nickel and copper is weaved around and bonded to each other to represent the values of a strong relationship, collaboration and unity. The final result is a premium office truly unlike any other in terms of aesthetic theme, efficiency and business fluidity. An award winning project which offers visiting business associates and potential clients an immediate visual sense of the professionalism, intelligence and premium quality of the FourWinds team.

TOP & BOTTOM LEFT: Uniquely crafted metal works signifying the “Four Winds” are strategically placed throughout the office as visually impactful artwork whilst reminding the team of the values which unite them. RIGHT: A work desk, premium lounge and executive meeting area provides the Chairman with ample discussion areas to suit various meeting styles and situations.


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Stylised ceiling architecture creates a uniquely contemporary theme which at the same time highlights a natural and distinctly Malaysian identity.


BANGI, MALAYSIA

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MAYBANK ACADEMY

DESIGNED TO LAST As the nation’s leading bank, Maybank plays a pivotal role in the promotion of learning initiatives for the nation’s banking industry. So when it came to the interior design and upgrade fit-out works of the Maybank Academy Learning Centre in Bangi, SW1 geared towards establishing an award winning plan which would have modern world class design & delivery, top of mind. A sprawling multi-use development with extensive training facilities, hotel quality accommodation and dining services as well as a full sports complex with football pitch, athletics track, swimming pool and stadium, the complex is a canvas of massive proportions to serve a multitude of needs and uses.

Modern and intelligent solutions were considered for each of the centre’s requirements ensuring a consistent and characterful contemporary styling without sacrificing practicality or future proofing, giving the centre an enduring identity set to last the test of time. SW1’s design strategy was thus to identify existing key interior and architectural elements throughout the centre which were focus points where staff, trainees, athletes and guests would gather around the most often. From the guardhouse all the way through common spaces, reception & registration areas, walkways and more, visitors would be immersed in the synergistic identity and modern yet recognisable theme of the new Maybank character.


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The centre’s unique ceiling allows the ample entry of natural light onto the common space and multi-function performance stage.


BANGI, MALAYSIA

MAYBANK ACADEMY

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LEFT: The sleek and modern design of the executive lounge provides the perfect setting for networking as well as the entertaining of guests during special occasions. RIGHT: Designed with sharp yet soothing colour tones and eye-catching geometric patterns on the ceiling and floor, the Lecture Hall is a stimulating learning environment for the centres’ many trainees.


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Other key points for the refurbishment were to create a fresh feel to the centre’s new floor and wall finishes as well as to provide an outdoor canopy along major walkways which would again bring to focus Maybank’s new brand identity. Large open areas were designed with subtle colour tones naturally interact with the centre’s unique ceiling architecture and solid colours to provide an immediate sense of familiarity with any of Maybank’s retail Ample space was provided for socialisation with open outlets. public areas, lounges and even a multi-function stage to create a healthy and communal environment. A design Meanwhile the centre’s more intimate settings such as solution which would also allow for quick and effective the executive lounge and lecture theatre were given a louder design focus; the executive lounge with the goal of transformation as and when the centre’s needs evolved. creating an ergonomic, stylish yet conducive environment for business discussions and the lecture theatre to create a stimulating yet comfortable space that would provoke lively discussion and thinking. Within a layout that is functional with strong well defined areas, an injection of greenery into the interior space projects a flow from the outside in and creates a warm and welcoming environment. Areas are clearly demarcated through individual aesthetics specially designed for the centre and are at the same time linked with a common identity.


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This revitalised reception area matches requirements for an energy and cost efficient design by maximising the use of natural light and minimising the need for additional floor lighting.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

BRITISH COUNCIL, THE CURVE & WISMA SELANGOR DREDGING

DESIGNING CUSTOMER JOURNEYS

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Opening its doors in 1947 the British Council is one of the oldest active institutions fostering intercultural relationships between the United Kingdom and Malaysia. Promoting numerous inter-cultural exchange programmes and educational seminars throughout the country the British Council is unique in that it voluntarily complies to a list of strict building parameters and regulations set by both the organisation’s adherence to its core values as well as those laid out by the British government. This in turn presented a unique challenge for the SW1 team. One which they were determined to embrace during the refurbishment of the organisation’s teaching centres at its Kuala Lumpur headquarters in Wisma Selangor Dredging and its first English teaching centre inside a shopping mall.

To begin with, both venues needed to comply with a codified set of parameters to maintain consistency with the British Council’s core values and goals; to project an image of a contemporary UK, to optimise the potential roles of the space for flexible operational requirements, to ensure complete service integration and efficient work flow for customers and staff alike and to provide a clear and exciting ‘customer journey’ with a logical and clear orientation from a visitor’s perspective. In addition, any work for the British Council had to adhere to strict energy efficiency and sustainable material guidelines.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

BRITISH COUNCIL, THE CURVE & WISMA SELANGOR DREDGING

LEFT: This revitalised reception area matches requirements for an energy and cost efficient design by maximising the use of natural light and minimising the need for additional floor lighting. RIGHT: Abstract wall features provide a meaningful clash of spot colours which energises the space with a sense of creative vibrancy.

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With an appreciation for the core values and benchmarks which the British Council wished to adhere to, the SW1 team set out to develop an open and transparent theme which would emphasize excitement, creativity and efficiency. Floor to ceiling glass panel walls, a neutral white background tone and light timber veneer floors would be a recurring feature at both sites creating a consistent sense of familiarity between the two facilities. This soothing, professional theme would then be juxtaposed with bright and energetic geometric colour patterns, furnishings and finishes for a distinctive sense of the energy and enthusiasm which fills the space when occupied. As an imaginative final touch, portrait walls featuring the images of real people emphasize the warm and nurturing nature of the services offered within.

With a layout which focuses on being logical, ergonomic and efficient the British Council’s teaching centres are fitted with a comprehensive suite of private teaching rooms, common spaces and customer service desks. Visitor lounge and waiting areas are creatively married into the architecture of the office itself for even greater space optimisation and adds to the visually pleasing aesthetic. The ample availability of natural light is further augmented through a combination of stylish pendant lights as well as practical, efficient yet stylishly presented ceiling mounted track lights. Despite subtle differences in styles between the two facilities; the tall-ceiling of the Kuala Lumpur branch necessitating the use of a more powerful industrial scale system while the natural curvature of the Curve branch allowing for a more creative and effectively hidden approach, the distinctive ambiance of being at the British Council remains evident in both.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

BRITISH COUNCIL, THE CURVE & WISMA SELANGOR DREDGING

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With its stylish dÊcor and colour tones, efficient layout and modern ambiance the British Council’s teaching centres deliver a unique and refreshing journey to their Malaysian customers and visitors.

LEFT: Pendant lights are sparingly used, but when done are with style and practicality in mind. TOP RIGHT: Furnishings and finishes are weaved into the natural architecture of the space for optimised practicality, efficiency and style. BOTTOM RIGHT: Once again the use of contrasting lines and shapes demarcate roles between different spaces. A clean, cost effective and attractive solution.


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AN INSPIRED LEARNING EXPERIENCE


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

ASIAN BANKING SCHOOL

The Asian Banking School is a world-class education centre and the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers premier learning vehicle for delivering intellectual content and fostering skills in the financial services industry. It has adopted a strategic approach to its institutional growth and worked with SW1 to design its new school and corporate office premises to reflect the character of the institution.

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students in a remarkably literal manner. Meanwhile touches of pastel tones utilised in the furniture and breakout areas serves to break monotony and alludes to the lively character of the space when fully occupied. Purpose built classrooms enable flexible training configurations and ample space for socializing in open breakout areas to create a robust, sociable learning environment. High technology and display showcases such as an Electronic Interactive wall, Audio Visual System & support facilities are all seamlessly incorporated into the school’s overall aesthetic for an uninterrupted blend between form and function.

Unobstructed natural lighting into the office interior space projects a flow from the outside in to create a warm, welcoming and friendly office environment. In cohesion with the stylish yet pragmatic setup of the school, the facility’s design aesthetic helps to project a typical bank setting for staff and students, giving them added familiarity with future working environments. Flexible space planning further allows the school to be multiconfigurationally giving it the ability to host a very dynamic A mixture of subtle, literal and abstract use of ABS’s corporate range of activities and also allows for easy expansion and colours with a touch of stainless steel, warm grey colour purpose tuning to the Asian Banking School’s business highlights and contrasting timber doors and frames allows needs of the future. the school to exude its typically associated values to its

LEFT: Exciting colour tones blend with modern design elements to create a space which exudes sophistication and style. MIDDLE: Juxtaposition of ABS corporate colours with contrasting pastels alludes to both the professionalism of the institution, and the diverse characters of its students. RIGHT: Designed to be modular, ABS is prepared to handle a multitude of configuration scenarios with space to continue to evolve as necessary.


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EXQUISITELY MALAYSIAN


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

RANJIT SINGH & YEOH ADVOCATES & SOLICITORS

Strategically placed within reach of the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex for increased client convenience and efficiency, Ranjit Singh & Yeoh is a boutique legal firm which deals with high-net worth individuals and corporate clients on a regular basis. This dynamic firm is often the focal point of collaboration with facilities designed to cater to the firm’s partners and associates as well as visiting clients and external stakeholders.

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To cater to these needs the SW1 team applied a unique floor space configuration which saw the office’s conference room linked at both ends to each of the senior partner’s private offices. Subtly hidden sliding book shelf cabinet entrances allow ease of access to both and can be partitioned off, thus providing privacy or additional work space as needed. Its strategic central location makes the collaborative spirit and character of the entire firm clear to all.

With its raised platform finished with rustic black oak timber flooring, characterful flanking feature art pieces and stylish antique “Peranakan” doors, the conference room is a focal point of collaborative activity set with distinctive Malaysian charm.


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LEFT: The firm’s chic standing bar and pantry offers ready relief to the hustle and bustle of legal practice and is often employed as a desirable alternative work space. RIGHT: The main reception and waiting area effortlessly marries a variety of materials such as raw cement, timber, marble and coloured glass to demarcate specific areas yet still create an engrossing and unified aesthetic theme.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

RANJIT SINGH & YEOH ADVOCATES & SOLICITORS

Visitors are immediately put at ease upon entering the firm’s reception area with its professional yet stylishly chic marble topped counter and waiting lounge ambiance. An eclectic décor flavour was developed for the entire space based on the client’s desire for the office to have a contemporary aesthetic expression of a traditional barrister’s chamber while at the same time having a uniquely Malaysian character. In doing so the aim was to create an environment which would exude a mix of cultures and heritage, all at its best, working harmoniously with each other. To achieve this a set of antique Peranakan doors, a feature derived from the merging of ethnic Chinese immigrant and local Malay cultures from as long ago as the 15th Century, was sourced from artisans in Penang and refurbished to serve as the main entrance door to the conference room. This was then designed with a mixture of wooden flooring, walls and finishes, as well as a pair of immediately identifiable wooden carvings to give the entire office a sense of local charm. An important design decision was the sparing and singular use of black oak flooring for the conference room to provide a uniquely variegated yet complimentary identity with the Peranakan doors.

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Usually a vital yet mundane looking part of any respectable legal firm, Ranjit Singh & Yeoh’s library was also designed to complement the natural yet characterful charm of the firm’s overall décor. A light colour scheme is used for the libraries’ bookshelves to allow the natural character of the firm’s range of legal statutes to be self-evident, a subtle creative tribute to the vibrancy of the law itself. Finishes following a refined yet industrial tone with limestone floors of the senior partner offices contrast with the cement render of the associates working area, the wooden flooring of the reception area and the black oak of the conference room. Juxtaposed throughout the space with modern materials, fittings, sharp and unifying geometric edges, distinctive neon green feature glass panels and the unmistakably British Union Jack refrigerator, the office projects the dynamic personality of the firm and its occupants; attributes which provide Ranjit Singh & Yeoh a work space like no other and which have earned the firm the Highly Commended Office Interior Award at the International Property Awards of 2014-2015.


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ELEGANT SOPHISTICATION


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

SHANTHI KANDIAH CHAMBERS

The al-fresco staff lounge and common area is unique and injects an element of cool serenity to the space.

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Situated in a shop lot of the old Kuala Lumpur neighbourhood of Damansara, Shanti Kandiah Chambers is a firm which makes use of the typical to create a work space that is truly unique and inspiring. Working within a space which was never built to accommodate the technology and comforts of a modern office, the SW1 team nevertheless worked closely with the firm’s partners to transform the ordinary into a truly unique look & feel.

Significant efforts were made to fully optimise available space; located on the top floor the existing low set roof trusses and rafters were exposed to create a greater sense of volume to the office and also allow the entry of natural light. A traditional air-well, which would be typically converted to create more expanse was instead enhanced without compromising space to serve as an al-fresco multi-function area filled with natural light and the natural greenery of soft landscaping. A prime example of being truly honest to the original architecture and history of the building itself.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

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SHANTHI KANDIAH CHAMBERS

Throughout the office neutral tones are perfectly contrasted with the bold colours of furnishings and fittings to set a distinctively cool and professional ambiance filled with eclectic style. Meanwhile an injection of yellow, sometimes subtle and sometimes loud, generates a level of vibrancy and positive energy. Edgy design elements such as brick accent walls and industrial looking ladder rails & ceiling lights are juxtaposed with smooth marble counter tops and wall finishes for a raw yet sophisticated interior. Graphics and artworks seamlessly interweave with no corner of the space bereft of a strong statement, giving the property attitude and unmistakable personality. The final result is greater than the sum of all its parts creating a functional office which not only provides for all the needs of the firm’s Partners and Associates but which also exudes the character, work ethic and culture of the its eponymous founder and dynamic associates.

LEFT&RIGHT: A contrast of raw and sophisticated design elements injects both a sense of professionalism as well as style.


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LEFT: Every available space is used to make a statement for even greater character. RIGHT: Stylistic design elements provide both functionality and form.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

SHANTHI KANDIAH CHAMBERS

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A stylised monument around the central support pillar provides a focal point for the design elements which inhabit the space.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

SREENEVASAN YOUNG ADVOCATES & SOLICITORS

BOLD AND CONTEMPORARY

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Universally recognised for its excellence in counsel and professional efficiency, the partners of Sreenevasan Young demanded no less of their firm’s new office. A mid-sized boutique legal firm specialising in corporate and commercial law, the firm boasts a visionary design which provides the very best in space optimisation with an exceptionally customised aesthetic décor. From the entrance the unique contrast of solid white walls and black veined marble boasts of highly contemporary and premium styling. Blue hues in customised fittings exudes the firm’s principle of confidence, efficiency and innovation. The principal partners’ offices takes advantage of the building’s natural curvature to create a uniquely panoramic view which in turn allows the abundant entry of natural sunlight into the space.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

SREENEVASAN YOUNG ADVOCATES & SOLICITORS

LEFT: Visitors to the firm are immediately given a sense of confidence and efficiency by the welcome area’s dynamic and modern aesthetic. RIGHT: The ambiance of the firm’s principal meeting rooms and common area is intentionally designed apart from the rest to embody the spirit of embracing differences in ideas and opinions.

A vital creative decision was made to incorporate the office’s central support pillar with a custom made barrisol feature fitted from within to give off a striking aura to serve as a unifying point which amplifies all other design elements. Support and administrative staff workstations are strategically placed around the rotunda to provide smooth opportunities for collaboration and communication while a recreational lounge, intimate meeting rooms and easy access to the firm’s library caters to all the day-to-day needs of the firm’s inhabitants. Moving towards the central communal and meeting area, a blend of colours, material and furnishing is creatively married to incite the lively exchange of ideas and views. Complementary yet contrasting tones break monotony while modern and contemporary furnishings provide a distinctively eclectic feel.

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CONTEMPORARY AND CONNECTED

Gananathan Loh is a well-established boutique legal firm with a proven track record in providing advisory, negotiation and commercial conflict resolution services to clients both in Malaysia and abroad. Dealing with clients who are at the pinnacle of their respective industries, it is vital for the firm to be immersed in the psyche and innovations impacting the corporate world; attributes which the firm’s partners were keen to have imbued into their workspace.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

GANANATHAN LOH ADVOCATES & SOLICITORS

With ultra-modern design cues and concepts, the firm’s furnishings provide a sense of added vibrancy and allows for exceptional practicality; pendant lights bearing contemporary expressions of classic items feature in the firm’s reception and conference room. Gliding wall mounted book-shelves allow for nearly double the normal amount of storage. Customised work stations in partner and open space office areas allow for absolute optimisation and worker comfort.

Centrally sited for ease of access from each section of the office, the conference room is further fitted with a complete suite of AV assets for both in-person and virtual meetings. Glass panel walls create both a sense of privacy, as well as heightened awareness amongst meeting participants. Clean tones of white and grey are juxtaposed with exciting hues of neon yellow panels and multi-coloured walls, rugs and legal tomes to bring the space to life. Meanwhile the abundant use of glass panels creates a heightened sense of transparency, openness and warmth. Values which are essential in the firm’s business dealings and identity.

LEFT: Neon yellow works harmoniously with neutral tones of grey, white and light timber veneer for a clear sense of modern sophistication. TOP RIGHT: Stylishly modern furnishings marry with the overall colour theme to provide an exciting environment with built-in practicality. BOTTOM RIGHT: Clear see-through glass walls allow the aesthetics of the entire office to fill the centrally placed conference room with energy.

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TIMELESS CLASSICAL MINIMALISM The founding Partners of Navaratnam Chambers are well established legal professionals who were emerging from high profile practices and determined to make their mark on the industry. Their offices were designed to celebrate both the sense of independence and excitement of being a new player in the industry, and facilitate dealing with involved cases on a daily basis. The firm’s partners also wished for the space to be an oasis of thought and the pursuit of knowledge. Furniture and wall arrangements with neat lines and angles throughout, create a sense of tasteful modernity and practicality, while a mix of neutral colours such as white, black and gray provide a perfect canvas for more classical dark wood accent finishes and furniture to visibly emerge. Black tile floors and white walls in the welcome area create a perfect colour contrast. The logo is an artistic allusion to the balance found in law, and is a subtle yet striking accompaniment to the firms’ identity; boldly displayed upon a stainless steel hairline frame set upon a compressed plywood backdrop partition wall. Built at an angle, a display shelf with a miniature reproduction of Rodin’s Thinker and an art piece depicting essential tools of the legal trade adds to the space’s character, providing visitors with a clear sense of purpose.

LEFT: Stylish and meaningful. The aesthetic of the firm’s welcome area creates an immediate appreciation as to the purpose of those who sit within. TOP RIGHT: The neutral business-like colour tones of the boardroom allows the natural character of legal tomes to be the focus of attention. BOTTOM RIGHT: Natural light imbues the staff lounge with a sense of warmth making it the perfect place to temporarily unwind and relax.


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NAVARATNAM CHAMBERS

An adjoining welcome lounge on the other hand creates an immediate sense of comfort and tasteful elegance with its dark brown tufted Chesterfield-style leather armchairs, cream coloured rug and classical table ornaments. Two-toned walls of gray and white complement the natural geometric lines of the ceiling to create a uniquely timeless sense of modernity. The main bookcase in the conference room cuts through the otherwise serious tone of the space with its delightful mix of white and dark wood shelves, housing multi-hued legal tomes. Natural lighting and timber-effect vinyl floor strips create a sense of space in the staff lounge area, with a minimalist approach yet again creating a stylish yet practical space for individuals to interact in a relaxed manner.

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TRANSPARENCY BUILT-IN


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

PERBADANAN INSURANS DEPOSIT MALAYSIA (PIDM)

Welcome areas possess a clean and minimalist theme alluding to the company’s core values of professionalism and transparency.

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Perbadanan Insurans Deposit Malaysia (PIDM) is a government agency bearing the responsibility of promoting stability within the financial system through incentives which encourage sound risk management and corporate decisions. Occupying four floors, with almost 50,000 square-feet of built-up space, in the prestigious Quill 7 building of KL Sentral, PIDM’s new home would cater to all of the company’s corporate needs. Subtle geometric and Islamic motifs feature as a common theme. When married with the combined use of modern as well as classical materials; pre-finished Merbau timber, honey onyx marble, blue

coloured glass, Agathis timber veneer, crystal white and grey marble, the office portrays a unique modern image of professionalism and transparency alluding to the company’s vision and role in developing the nation. Well-lit airy spaces and neutral tones predominate work areas, oozing a sense of calm serenity and efficiency. Distinctively, modern furnishings are juxtaposed with the use of classical materials and wall motifs for a uniquely Malaysian corporate feel. Bright spot colours of blue and orange, the corporate identity of PIDM, inject zest and energy in communal and staff recreation areas; further augmenting the spirit of a vibrant work culture.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

PERBADANAN INSURANS DEPOSIT MALAYSIA (PIDM)

Having to deal with top-level negotiations across government-agencies and private sector corporations on a regular basis, PIDM’s office is also equipped with a practical yet classically modern executive boardroom. It’s oval shaped design promotes a non-hierarchical environment which facilitates its participants to discuss matters as equals and on the basis of mutual respect. An adjacent executive dining room and lounge allows the space to cater to even the most demanding of discussions and guests with exceptional efficiency and comfort. This sleek functional ambiance continues in the executive offices which possess ample private and correlative spaces to conduct discussions in while subtle and intricate application of geometric patterns once again create an exclusive sense of style and sophistication. LEFT: The oval shaped executive boardroom allows top level executives to hold discussions on equal terms. Ample space and the combined use of natural and ceiling mounted light features subtly encourages a sense of transparency and trust. TOP RIGHT: Executive offices carry on a unified theme with executive areas but with the subtle injection of geometric patterns for an added level of character. BOTTOM RIGHT: Spot colours of blue and orange, the corporate colours of PIDM, inject common areas with both a sense of identity and creativity.

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TOP LEFT: The flow of the office itself is used to add stylish character. BOTTOM LEFT: An up-cycled freight container serves as a design centrepiece and unifies all the other creative elements within the space. BOTTOM RIGHT: Timber finishes demarcate sections within the office with a touch of character.


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ABRIC WORLDWIDE

DESIGN BUILT UPON RELATIONSHIPS As is often the case in business, there are times when a relationship transcends beyond merely the provision of a service, but instead becomes a mutual journey of growth and discovery. SW1’s relationship with Abric is but one example. From the operations of Abric Worldwide, a leading security sealing solutions provider to the corporate investment holding operations of Abric Berhad, the SW1 team has constantly been called upon to imbue the brand with a distinct physical identity every step of the way. Because of the nature of the business, it was clear that the office needed to be efficient, possess a dynamic environment for customer engagement and business development, and be an exciting work place for staff. Quality and integrity were key values which the aesthetic would need to imbue, and a global mindset demonstrated through the clever and efficient use of materials and finishings.

A dynamic yet organic approach was thus utilised, with the ebb and flows of the architecture married into the final expression to deliver a functional yet stylish work environment. Vertical spaces were utilised to create added vibrancy through several means; Creative communication walls provided a sense of identity and purpose, contemporary artworks a sense of energy and imagination, and concrete facade homogeneous tiles a sense of strength and integrity. A truly unique and unmissable feature in the Abric Worldwide office is a re-cycled freight container carrying the company’s corporate colours, a perfect venue for client meetings and war room planning. Meanwhile modern and contemporary aesthetics were subtly built through the use of the company’s exciting colour tone upon a canvas of neutral white walls and workstations for a unified identity throughout. Management and private offices were then further demarcated with timber joinery and finishings for an added touch of character and class.


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A BRAND EVOLUTION

Success begets success and for Abric Worldwide, the business would grow to a point where significant and positive transformations would be made. The operational business of Abric Worldwide would be acquired to become a new business entity known as Essentra; to aid in that company’s diversification of its plastic and fibre products portfolio, while the original Abric team would take a leap up the value chain to manage Abric Berhad as one of the country’s established investment holding companies listed on the main market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad.


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ABRIC BERHAD

LEFT: The Abric Berhad logo boldly brought up through its subtle contrast with the neutral tones of the overall space. RIGHT: Modern clinical tones and furnishings convey absolute professionalism of the business and its team.

Such a leap in purpose and role necessitated the relocation of space and identity, and with a strong appreciation for the values which drove the team, SW1 was eager to deliver. A new contemporary and premium aesthetic character was developed in recognition of the high-value interests of the company’s new clientele.

tones of grey and white further adding to the sense of security and integrity of the space.

These design elements would so impress the Abric Berhad team that they would also drive the development of the company’s new corporate logo, a tastefully premium emblem with a hint of the dynamism which defined their former identity. A symbol which An emphasis on private and semi-private was seamlessly married into the design of the work and discussion areas was made to cater office’s reception and stands out as a mark of to confidentiality requirements with neutral their success.


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A FIGURE OF GROWTH

MMC Corporation Bhd (MMC) is a premier utilities and infrastructure group with interests in Ports & Logistics, Energy & Utilities and Engineering & Construction. Involved in numerous vital nation building projects such as the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Northport, the Senai International Airport in Iskandar Malaysia and many more, MMC’s corporate offices’ encompass a total built-up space of almost 40,000 square-feet spanning 9 floors of Wisma Budiwan in Kuala Lumpur.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

MMC CORPORATION BERHAD

Design elements for this multi-billion ringgit business would thus need to project a clear sense of modern global ambition and distinct local identity. A unified theme built around minimalist corporate colours of blue and red were applied in public and common areas to create a sense of identity and modernity. Meanwhile, private meeting rooms and offices would feature richly veined timber finishes giving a warm and elite Malaysian character. Both elements were then contrasted with a neutral background of white and grey to bring the corporate image to life.

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Ample multi-role work areas feature in every floor with open-to-public training and meeting rooms located on the ground and mezzanine levels while executive boardrooms, lounges and the Chairman’s Office are located in the penthouse.

Each level would be further outfitted with meeting rooms, common facilities and private offices to suit the needs of each of the company’s respective business divisions with additional common staff facilities sited on the mezzanine level to foster even greater levels of inter-company A mixture of ultra-modern as well as classical furnishings, collaboration and teamwork. fittings and artworks scattered throughout the building are representative of the make-up of the company All in all, MMC’s corporate offices offer crisp clean efficiency, and the aspirations which it embraces for a modern stylish modernity and a work environment which embodies multicultural Malaysia. the spirit of the nation.

LEFT: Bold yet subtle use of corporate colours add a touch of excitement to the professional aesthetic of the building. TOP RIGHT: A rich variety of finishes and contemporary furnishings welcome visitors in the building’s reception lobby as well as emphasises the volume of the space. BOTTOM RIGHT: Executive boardrooms possess a classically functional character with heavy use of veined wood finishing for a distinct Malaysian character.


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PREPARED FOR GROWTH


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

FINANCE ACCREDIATION AGENCY (FAA)

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FAR LEFT: The corporate executive boardroom promotes interaction and allows an unobstructed view of participants and visual presentations. LEFT: The subtle use of FAA corporate colours resonate throughout the office. TOP RIGHT: Warm tones blend harmoniously with the corporate colours of FAA.

The Finance Accreditation Agency (FAA) is responsible for raising the standards and quality of professional learning and development in the financial services industry and aims to create a highly skilled and internationally mobile pool of professionals. An independent quality assurance and accreditation body supported by Bank Negara Malaysia and Securities Commission Malaysia, the agency is staffed by a team of technical experts, industry professionals as well as leading academics from around the world. SW1 was tasked to develop an office which would be reflective of FAA’s role and stature. The office should support dynamic and lively discourse and embody the identity and values of FAA.

To accomplish this, the SW1 team decided on an interior design which would complement the physical layout and be fitted for scalable as well as modular use. To achieve efficient flow of traffic, training space was segregated from day-to-day work areas to facilitate ease of access to both areas and to ensure minimal disruption. The SW1 team combined functionality and aesthetics to provide ample room for interaction and learning in the form of open office work stations, training rooms, a staff lounge and public meeting areas. The FAA identity is underscored throughout the office through the use of the corporate colour theme which is a combination of soft grey and striking red tones.


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DESIGNED TO EXCITE Founded in 1994 Interactive Intelligence is a global provider of collaboration, communications and customer engagement software solutions and cloud services. A business which is driven by innovation, built through experience and committed towards delivering value, the company’s Malaysian 11,000 square-foot office serves as a regional HQ for clients across the region; namely Malaysia, China and Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam. Having to cater to a bustling business operation handling a multitude of challenges across multiple cultures, the SW1 team was tasked to create an ambiance which would sustain positive energies throughout the business day and provide Interactive Intelligence’s employees with a smooth, practical yet exciting work space with multiple options for creative collaboration.

To achieve these goals the SW1 team optimised the layout of the office with the use of modular workstations built along three of the four glass walls of the building. By doing so the team was able to ensure that all vertically built up partitions and walls would be kept to the inner core of the space, thus allowing natural light to fill operational work areas which adds to the sense of energy within. Vibrant tones of yellow and orange set throughout the office deliver a bright contrast against neutral white and grey settings. Working in tandem with the clever placement of playful elements such as loose furniture, graphic walls and pendant lights found throughout the office, the unique composition is abuzz with creativity and excitement which also functioning as alternate collaboration areas, communication boards and focused lighting respectively.


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA

INTERACTIVE INTELLIGENCE

In a clever twist, the office’s recreational hub employed the same combination of colour contrast to ensure continuity throughout the office, but reversed the colour ratio to have neutral white and grey as the dominant tone. This was an important aesthetic decision as staff on break are immediately made to feel like they have taken a pause from their usual pace which aids in their ability to relax and unwind.

LEFT: Bright colour tones, panoramic views, natural light and loose fittings which break monotony and double up as practical office facilities give an immediate appreciation for the sense of energy which drives the Interactive Intelligence team. TOP RIGHT: Aside from private meeting rooms, strategic placement of multiple semi-private meeting areas in various formats allow for quick and convenient meetings and discussions to take place. BOTTOM LEFT: Reversed colour tone ratios create an immediate sense of peace when entering the recreational hub. BOTTOM RIGHT: Multiple seating styles featured throughout the office provide individuals with an abundance of alternative settings to work or hold collaborative discussions in.

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Specifically designed to meet the planned capacity needs of the company up to 2017 the office is future proofed for potential innovations and needs and is set to aid Interactive Intelligence towards even greater success throughout the region.


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DESIGNING EVOLUTIONARY AESTHETICS Modern offices today are designed to embody both the identity of a brand and be a platform towards achieving its aspirations. Designing a corporate office is thus not simply a matter optimising use of space to manpower needs but also an essential process of identifying and then embodying the space with the collaborative and progressive spirit of the company itself. A principle ably demonstrated by the SW1 team when designing the offices of one of Malaysia’s leading electronic payments service provider.

applications of blue hues and warm neutrals these elements provide an unmistakable yet unobtrusive presence of the company’s corporate identity.

Built from the onset with an emphasis on providing employees comfortable work areas the office makes use of space in a continuous flow which also helps to ensure optimised efficiency. The space is further future proofed with contingencies for headcount as well as IT asset expansion over the next few years. The end result is a Clean and transparent elements and bold vertical features, highly modular office environment which is set to stand such as a full height clear tempered glass wall which the test of time with maximum potential for corporate spans the length of the office, are emphasised. Working expansion and future churn. together with a mixture of subtle, literal as well as abstract


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MALAYSIAN ELECTRONIC CLEARING CORPORATION (MYCLEAR)

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Materials used include finger jointed pre-finished Merbau timber flooring, blue coloured glass, locally sourced Damar Minyak Agathis Timber Veneer, crystal white man-made marble, Green certified quality nylon carpet tiles with cushion backing as well as many other complimentary finishes. When combined they project a powerful corporate All facilities are easily accessible and circulation areas are image which exudes professionalism, excellence, strength, ample, thus providing a safe, healthy and friendly workplace stability, honesty, integrity and respect. for employees to maximise their productivity. In addition the centralised staff lounge can also be used for socialising, as a breakout area or as a casual meeting room. Operational offices are fitted with a centre spine workstation system which is highly collaborative, compact and flexible. Training rooms are partitioned with an openable wall system developed by Hufcor to enhance flexibility, privacy and space expansion options.

LEFT: The use of stylised glass panels within a modern setting gives visitors an immediate visual cue of the emphasis on transparency. TOP RIGHT: Well equipped recreational areas provide welcome relief to employees by breaking monotony and fosters closer co-operation between individuals. BOTTOM RIGHT: Modular working environments prepares the team for any working occasion and also provides ample opportunities for future growth.


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LEADERSHIP VIEWPOINTS As the world of design transforms and transitions, industry leaders are constantly challenging themselves to innovate. We go up close and personal with these leaders to uncover their plans.

SW1

... Managing Director - Swami Jayaraman ... Creative Team - Sandra, Afiey, Azali & Jasmine ... Project Team - Nicholas, Patrick & Leo


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Swami Jayaraman, Managing Director, SW1

OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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BREAK AWAY FROM TRENDS AND BUILD BENCHMARKS

The dynamic progress of Malaysia’s economy has seen the rapid growth of corporate real estate throughout the Klang Valley. More and more businesses with local and international aspirations continue to look to the country as a center of operations and the vibrancy of the business environment. We speak with Mr. Swami Jayaraman Managing Director of SW1 to hear his thoughts on where he believes the industry is heading towards here in Malaysia.

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WORKPLACE DESIGN SPECIALIST

“We sift through a

client’s priorities and from there establish key elements of what they need, in terms of practicality, and what they want to project, in terms of identity.”

Swami Jayaraman, Managing Director, SW1 Q: It has been widely reported that Malaysia’s real estate prices are going up and up, yet despite that new developments continue to be seen throughout the Klang Valley. How does this shape your counsel to clients? A: Market forces are generally pushing prices of everything up and real estate is one of those things. However it is important to appreciate that we are really lucky here in Malaysia, in terms of corporate real estate, because the cost here continues to be very competitive compared to other parts of South East Asia and Asia in general. Corporate leaders here have greater flexibility when it comes to injecting character into the work space, which in turn encourages greater productivity in the workforce. Traits which we believe many businesses should and are taking into consideration when selecting Malaysia as a location for their offices. Nevertheless costs, particularly in CBD areas where development is at its peak, have gone up. So what we aim to deliver to our clients is optimised usage of their real estate. A lot of the stuff which we do with clients today is really about trying to understand what could be done to help them work better, or grow better so that we can better utilise what they have available to them.

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“What our clients appreciate most is our ability

to gain a full understanding of all the aspects involved. From business needs to space and material challenges, and even potential people reactions.�


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WORKPLACE DESIGN SPECIALIST

It’s a very iterative process and it comes down to clear planning. In the past you could do a simple space calculation, where you factor in things like headcount, identify what facilities the client’s business needs, and then provide counsel that in many cases went along the lines of “Yes, all of that can definitely fit in there.” Our belief however is that there’s a lot more detail which needs to be explored. This is especially relevant today as many businesses are aiming to optimise real estate choices to an extent where a lot of space is now half of what it may have been 10 or maybe even just a few years ago. So ultimately, what we seek to do is work with clients to explore the business planning process rather than try to look at an upfront design choice. It’s then from there that we inject creative ideas which marry efficiency with business needs. Q: Do you believe that there is still a compelling reason for businesses to invest in stylistic office designs? A: If you took stylistic to simply mean “good looking” then yes in many ways it does limit a decision to invest in a creative design, but this applies to everything and not just interior spaces. But what is important is someone’s experience inside an office, which must reflect the values and corporate culture of the business. There is of course a functional aspect of business operations which we cannot ignore and often place a significant level of emphasis on with our counsel. How many people a company has, what functions do they need to perform, how many rooms do you require and so on. However there is also an equally important experiential aspect businesses should take into account, where people are able to feel the presence of the brand or to feel to be a part of a team with a unique identity and purpose. So yes. Absolutely, I would say that there is a very compelling reason to invest into stylistic designs. Especially in this day and age where technology, the internet, social media and so many other things are creating readily accessible distractions in modern societies. Where people are hungry for as much exciting content as possible.

practicality, and what they want to project, in terms of identity. Only from there are we then able to identify and counsel ideas which demonstrate how the use of form can in fact encourage things like office flow, efficiency, productivity and more. It’s a necessary and healthy process of counselling. Q: What do you feel is the key counsel which most clients are looking for or are hoping to get out of you? A: What our clients appreciate most is our ability to gain a full understanding of all the aspects involved. From business needs to space and material challenges, and even potential people reactions. One great example to demonstrate this is the general popularity of the open office concept. This typically involves very practical business needs to gain the most efficient use out of real estate in a way which retains a sense of spaciousness in-spite of, or more accurately perhaps because of, the fact that businesses are shrinking people into smaller and smaller personal spaces. Now from a design perspective, as far as people are concerned, shrinking space is at times one of the worst things which you can do. Especially if the client is one that is very recently moving away from rooms and personal offices into an open space concept. Because it can, when improperly done, potentially be misconstrued as a downscaling of an employee’s value with obvious repercussions to staff satisfaction and ultimately business efficiency. So when management decides to take away personal space, they’ve absolutely got to also give back common space, and give back elaborative space, and you’ve also got to give back other things, such as features or design elements which make people excited and happy to be in the environment which they are now in. Because at the end of the day keeping your people happy and energised is often what it takes to keep them productive. So as you can see in this type of situation the value of our counsel is that we explore a business to the extent that we’re able to identify even potential human resource and efficiency issues, and through our recommendations are able to build design solutions which can cater to them.

Q: From your experience, do you feel that there is a need to push clients towards a greater appreciation for form, or is that something which you find clients are already eager to push for themselves? A: It’s a good question, push is probably the right word. The fact is that a lot of clients don’t know what they want and this is in many ways the main thing limiting them from making that decision between just having something or having something with style. They think they do but once you start talking to them there’s a whole bunch of spurious requirements which eventually come out of the woodwork. But that is absolutely fine because that is where our counsel really begins. What we’re able to do is sift through a client’s priorities and from there establish key elements of what they need, in terms of

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Q: How would you design an office space to complement the growing mobile and highly connected work culture which we see today? A: Smartphones have changed everything. It’s simply massive. From an office design perspective there’s two aspects to it. Firstly is the mobility aspect, where people don’t really need to be in the office to do work. The second part of it is that when you’re actually in the office, you work in a very different way to what it was like in the past. To top it all off, both of these elements are also weighing in at a time where shrinking real estate is the business reality. If you look at many of the top management consultant firms out there for example, you’d recognise that a lot of their staff actually spend the bulk of their time working on-site in their client’s offices. Making the challenge both to not have excessive and under-utilised office space of your own, and to ensure that you do have sufficient work and common space for them to interact and collaborate in when they are. While also taking into account the types of tools and devices they will want to use when doing so. These are in fact points which businesses should consider in depth these days because wi-fi and wireless technologies are readily available and can make a meaningful difference. Planning the office in a way where people can share information is both vital and entirely possible. Ways of displaying shareable information, the social norm of today, via conveniently placed flat screen TV’s or projectors and without having to pass a smart phone around transforms a habit into an efficient process. Depending on the type of business you are in this could be a key and unexplored means of enhancing productivity. Again it all comes back to being able to build that clear understanding of how your client works because in an environment where such practice isn’t the norm amongst your employees it would obviously be the wrong way to go. But management does play a role in telling their people that they don’t need to work like how people may have done in the past. People today are sharing, and interacting, and brainstorming potentially with remote participants from half way around the world. So as designers we have to think of ways to make sure that it’s all working together. It’s an integration of space, technology and people.

Q: With years of experience in the industry here in Malaysia, how would you describe ‘Malaysian tastes’ when it comes to office designs? A: Every country tends to have a certain direction when it comes to general tastes and preferences but if you look at corporate real estate, it often depends on the company and its company values. In a Malaysian context however, especially from a corporate sector point of view, I dare say that tastes are often very eclectic. I think that Malaysians generally, we have very artistic sense and a culture with an appreciation for what is tasteful design because perhaps of our very wide cultural heritage. Having said that as designers ourselves, we really shouldn’t have preferences as we don’t really see ourselves as your typical “artists” who can often be very stubborn as to how they want something to look like. We on the other hand have to have quite a high level of sensitivity towards what the client has in mind and that means we have to be almost completely non-subjective to preference. Things like colour for example are very subjective so we really often manage that by not trying to dictate styles in any way. We do what’s appropriate and we provide tremendous levels of creative input when needed but always based on a client needs and not out of any desire to convince a client that there is any single fashion or style to go with. Q: Do you feel that the country, whether its industry players, clients or perhaps even the government, is doing enough to encourage the adoption of environmentally friendly and sustainable offices? A: That is a tough question and I would have to say that the bottom line answer would be no, because answering yes would have to mean that we Malaysians as a whole are very conscious in this regard which unfortunately is simply not yet the case. The way the industry works is that we have accreditation bodies such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program and the Green Building Index which establish benchmarks and standards dictating what is or isn’t environmentally friendly. They are a prescribed and structured system with inputs from various parts of the world, and offers various perspectives towards the issue. These standards only work however if there is wide-spread buy-in from stakeholders, who are already having to manage multiple layers of challenges when it comes to setting up work space. As a company everything that we do is green from the onset in our consultations and recommendations to our clients. Whether this is through the sourcing of sustainable materials, or the manner in which the office uses energy, or even by incorporating natural architectural features such as the availability of natural light, we are always looking for the most holistic solution possible.


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Q: Are there any specific areas or benefits from environmentally friendly designs or innovations which you believe should be given more attention here in Malaysia? A: You know what, a lot of it really is about the basics. For example, our perspective as designers is that the key thing in terms of saving energy is that if you aren’t using it, switch it off. That’s perhaps the very most basic principle which Malaysians as a whole need to consciously embrace. Especially when you take into account that we can very easily engineer that into offices today with things like lighting and motion sensors. Energy saving and environmentally friendly technology is not new, is relatively inexpensive and can very easily be installed into existing offices. When you talk about green, usually it involves additional costs which is the common inhibitor. For example when you want to lay down some office carpet and you say that you want to load VOC glue which is non-volatile compared to other alternatives, that adds a cost factor to the process. However things like making it switch-able or having the option to turn it off is not. It’s just making it easy for the user to practice good habits.

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DESIGNING THE SPACE YOU’D WANT AND NEED Designing an office inevitably necessitates a lot of creative work as even the most spartan and formal of workspaces deserves a professional assessment of what should or should not go into a space. But why does creativity matter? We asked the SW1 creative team for their collective thoughts.

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Q: When it comes to office design, or any interior design work for that matter, the first thing which often pops into mind are colour schemes, striking visual features, artistically outrageous centrepieces and so on. Is that the reality of what you do? A: The holy grail of design is of course to always create something with a difference. It’s why we do the things we do, and why we have so many sleepless nights. However as a team we at SW1 believe that the reality of it is that our role is to present value. To show that we are able to enrich a client’s business through the ideas and concepts which we build, based on a firm understanding of what their individual or company values, needs and goals are. Q: Is there strategy in design? A: Absolutely. Design is always a process and we like to think of design as a process of elimination. How we go about this is that we eliminate the unnecessary. Unbound creativity is just so incredibly broad in nature with possibilities which are almost endless. That is why it’s vital for a client to have a very strong brief outlining what it is that they want. As a matter of fact a lot of our initial efforts are to provide them with as much counsel as possible, towards helping them build their own brief. Because we fully understand that often times the reality is that clients simply do not appreciate what it is that they need to know and rely on our expertise to create the necessary understanding of what can be achieved. From there we are then able to bridge ideas to more practical aspects, the requirements of the people or business functions of the office itself. It’s also important for us to be honest to the architecture. Understanding how incorporating our creative ideas can actually meld with what is available and does not

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>> gratuitously add to the complication or cost of the project itself. The emphasis is always to understand the client, the business and then from there the brief. The constraints which are created from a brief actually provides perspective of the overall intention of the project and through this perspective, we are able to eliminate unnecessary options to the plan. This process of elimination creates focus in design, and that’s truly where we can begin to be creative. We know what we don’t need to do and so can be more focused, because as creatives the desire is always to want to do more. Most people hate constraints but as designers constraints are very important to give us creative focus. The worst brief is the one that sets not parameters, or is too open because from there a million ideas can emerge but which one do you actually focus on and try to do? It leaves things open to a lot of assumptions, and a lot of double work which inevitably also drains the client as well. Q: How do you harness your creativity and does coming up with designs for office space specifically limit or expand your creative opportunities?

A: If you are approaching it from a purely artistic sense it would be easy to state that yes the creative opportunities are narrower. But the fact is that as interior designers, our role is to create value and because we work with parameters, with limitations, we are empowered to be a lot more focused in what we do. The more that you understand the objective of the project, the more you are able to properly apply your creativity. In Malaysia, where working cultures can sometimes be relatively conservative, office designs occasionally start on a basis of being very generic. With budgets which are really tight. Many corporate customers are looking for very traditional solutions, some of which do begin to feel somewhat out of date. So what we like to do is encourage our clients to place emphasis on how they work, and from there consider how they can make their work place a better place to work in. How can we make that experience better? How can we make people communicate better? How can we make people enjoy work better? How can we get performance out of people via creativity and great design? So what is essential is that we remain subjective in our creative counsel, because it isn’t about what we want after all. It’s about un-


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WORKPLACE DESIGN SPECIALIST

derstanding what the client wants and then being creative enough to project that within an office space. It is also important for us to be bold in educating our clients and that can be a very exciting creative journey as well. Q: What is the most effective way to generate that creative energy for brainstorms or concepts which really help out when it comes to designing an office? A: Fundamentally it’s about pushing ourselves to always seek to understand what we don’t understand. There’s always some principle in design, or something which we’re looking at that’s being done abroad but which has yet to appear locally and we always push ourselves to ask the question when we encounter such situations. The question being, how is it that something so simple, or obvious, or practical has not been done here, or not understood. And we always push ourselves to understand or apply it. When it comes to designing corporate offices, it’s not necessary to design something outrageous, but that does not mean that there is any less art in it. Rather, the art is more focused towards how a space can be made into something stylish, yet achieve very real and practical needs which in itself can also give you a very rewarding sense of achievement. Office design has to be scientific, it has to be calculated. Only when it has gone through a scientific process can we then even begin the creative process. I mean if you compared retail outlets to corporate ones, retailers have already been doing it for years where when you walk into any significant major retail outlet you’d be immediately immersed into what that brand stood for or makes a consumer feel about his or herself. You are in no doubt at all whether there is or isn’t a logo on the wall or a sign anywhere. That is because the design process has gotten to such a degree that it is simply impossible to not have a clear sense of where you are and what aspirations it makes you feel. Q: What do you believe will be the emerging design challenges of coming years? A: As we’ve become an increasingly knowledge based society with information on pretty much any topic including interior design available at your fingertips, clients tend to be a lot braver these days about pushing for their ideas. This is of course a good thing because it encourages the level of conversation and understanding which we want to develop with our clients and can be a key part of ensuring that we are delivering the value which they want. However there is also a flipside as there is also a growing tendency for clients to want to dictate what they think can be added or removed from a design. Whether it is to save on cost or any other type of reasoning they may have developed along the way because of the democratisation of knowledge. So the simple answer would be that the emerging challenge is in fact the same one that has always existed, and that is to manage expectations. But that needs to be understood in the current context of the times, where people are able to access a wealth of information prior to making a decision. In that regard it is thus even more important for us as designers to be pushing ourselves as well. So that when a client pushes one way or the other we do perform a thorough process of discovering an answer, in terms of architecture, logistics, cost and so forth.

Sandra

Jasmine

Afiey

Azali

“The reality of our role

is to present value.”

Q: What does it take to be a good creative designer? A: You’ve got to be attuned towards being around people. As designers you need to be able to express emotions and energy into a perceptible form. The only way you can do that is if you are able to relate to what people are feeling when they see or experience something. It’s like if you were a comedian and no one laughed at your jokes, it’s a sign that you need to do or understand something more. So as creative people we need to be able to bounce that energy. We need to do things and experience emotions. Education is important but it will only get you so far. Experience that is what will give you that real creative energy and ability. It’s what our clients, partners and colleagues want from us as well.

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DELIVERING SERVICE EXCELLENCE When it comes to Office Design, most people go straight into thinking about the creative direction, an office’s ability to project a brand image to its stakeholders, be they prospective clients or even a company’s own employees. But turning an idea into reality requires a lot more than simply creative designs. As a fully integrated consulting, design and construction solutions provider SW1 provides its clients with end-to-end services and support, with ‘simplicity’ as their value added product. We speak with the project managers of SW1 to find out more about what their role entails.

Nicholas

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Q: What’s it like to juggle the expectations of a client, enthusiasm of the creative team and their ideas, and the practical realities of getting a job done? A: It’s certainly the part of the job that keeps things exciting for us. We strive to deliver the client’s vision with as little

Leo

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Q: Tells us a bit about how you, as project professionals fit into the scheme of things when it comes to planning the design of a new office for a client? A: The simple answer is that we are project managers. We work with the creative team to assimilate their concepts and ideas while at the same time giving them clear appreciation for what industry realities are. Be it in terms of matching design with feasible materials or building techniques, availability of supply, timeline restraints and so on. We’re also heavily involved with the client in this, making it clear to them what feasible project realities are and helping them to overcome hurdles at any point of time through the project cycle. Beyond that however what we also deliver to our clients is trust. Not just in us, but with our partner vendors and construction site workers with whom we have built up a strong working relationship with. Once again even here our methodology is evident and all of our vendors are selected because of their reputability and quality, and all of our site workers are managed by construction managers who report to us directly.

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SW1 - PROJECT TEAM

WORKPLACE DESIGN SPECIALIST

dilution as possible. I think however that as a whole, we at SW1 have been able to maintain a clear and consistent methodology in our approach to clients, and what we aim to provide to them, which is value. Because ultimately, the expectations of the client and creative direction embarked upon have to also appreciate the realities of cost. The cost of everything is very much at the centre of a project, much like the sun in the solar system. Not necessarily more important or less important but with all other variables and drivers of the project floating in an orbit around it. We look at the aspirations and goals of the client, with the creative and material possibilities available and from there derive the most viable solutions. That’s the methodology which we’ve developed. This requires a lot of research and involves a lot of groundwork on our part before the very first creative idea is put onto paper. It’s about really understanding who the client is, what they do, where they place in their industry, where they see they are going to be, where they want to be, where they don’t want to be, those kind of abstract questions which you might think have nothing to do with a piece of office real estate but in fact are essential to being able to properly map out a creative direction and also what an office’s needs really are, now and in the years to come. Those are the things we work with clients to decide upon early on. Because once we have identified those points and values, when difficult design decisions emerge later on, questions like ‘Do we give those employees specific rooms or do we use this level of quality materials or not’, the decisions become a lot easier to make.

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Q: What are some of the key things which you believe clients sometimes mislook but are vital when it comes to putting an effective office design together? A: Generally speaking the industry has come to a point where there is a fairly strong level of familiarity between clients and solutions providers in this regard. However one point which sometimes does need to be emphasised on is that it is important that a project is looked at not as an interior decoration exercise, but as an interior design one. Meaning that besides aesthetics there are factors which are very importantly regulated. Such as building safety by-laws, engineering requirements, material feasibility and so forth. Again this is also something which we always seek to ensure a client is familiar with at a very early stage of the project cycle, so that limitations of the space can be incorporated into the creative design as opposed to becoming a problem which emerges during the project cycle.

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FITTING INTERIORS Discover the right fit & balance with careful material selection

KUSCH+CO | 3600 ARN SPACE FURNITURE | LANDI CHAIR & DAVY TABLE ZENITH INTERIORS | EDO HAWORTH | ORGANIC SPACE SCHIAVELLO | BOMBA HERMAN MILLER | PUBLIC OFFICE LANDSCAPE EURO | DATABASE ARTE COMO | SIARRA INTERFACE | HUMAN SPACES TAZ | EKOUS CARPETS INTER | ECOSOFT


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PARCS by Bene, distributed through Schiavello

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FUNDAMENTALLY FAB Exemplary of timeless Scandinavian design, the multifunctional and environmentally friendly 3600 ARN chair is truly simplicity at its best.

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3600 ARN | KUSCH+CO

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ith a plethora of new chair designs circulating at any given time, choosing one that works for you can prove to be a particularly daunting decision. It’s an ironic dilemma considering that we are talking about one of the most basically constructed furniture pieces. Those on the lookout for an adaptable option might do well to consider the 3600 ARN chair by Kusch+Co. Envisioned by Danish design duo Antonio Scaffidi and Mads Johansen, the design is an ingenious take on the established furniture brand’s original 100 chair, launched back in 1947. Featuring clean, minimalist lines and a cubist-inspired look and feel, the 3600 ARN was intended for use in all manner of environments. A welcome addition in restaurants, offices, living rooms or even healthcare environments, the chair’s unique qualities lie in its simple make, high quality materials as well as a robust seat designed for optimum static stability. Incorporating an injection moulded polyamide part, the seat merges seamlessly with the ergonomically shaped backrest to allow for a fully supported repose. Propped up by legs made from either aluminum or solid wood, the 3600 ARN’s striking transitions, chic finish and easy-care make it a winner in everyone’s book. Also available in an upholstered version. www.kusch.com

TOP & LEFT: Suitable for indoor and outdoor use, the stackable 3600 ARN chair is a sensibly designed all-rounder boasting strong geometry, function and beautiful ergonomics. OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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OUTDOOR ELEGANCE Perfect as a pair, the utilitarian Landi chair and Davy table by Vitra lets you stay out in the sunshine in style.

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CHAIR & TABLE

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LANDI CHAIR & DAVY TABLE | SPACE FURNITURE

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nown for championing innovative design, Swiss furniture behemoth Vitra has long maintained a reputation for delivering cutting edge products that give everyday rituals a stylish twist. A classic industrial design piece in the brand’s unsurpassable portfolio, the Landi chair first raised eyebrows when it was debuted an official piece of seating for the outdoor sections of the Swiss National Exhibition in 1939. Designed by humanist and artist Hans Coray, the aluminum-wrought Landi has undergone multiple manifestations, having passed through the hands of different manufacturers over the years. Finding its place in the chic showrooms of Vitra 75 years later, this iconic piece is once again receiving its due. This time, it’s being celebrated alongside the Davy, a new table design by Swiss creative Michel Charlot. Conceived specifically to complement the Landi, Charlot’s creation features a similar materiality in addition to an inherent functionality derived through its lightweight and waterproof qualities. Composed of anodised aluminium sheeting and aluminum tubing, the robust Davy is compact and easily transportable, with a stackable quality that allows for up to four tables to be stacked at an angle. Finally, the tabletop is punctuated with a hole at the centre to accommodate a parasol, for those warm afternoons spent outside. What more could one ask for? www.spacefurniture.asia

PICTURE: Vitra’s newest dynamic duo, the Landi chair and Davy table are an aluminum-wrought match made in heaven.

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HOMAGE

The structural symmetry of the Edo 1 Collection stuns upon first glance while offering up serene spaces for contemplation, collaboration and rest.

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MODULAR HIGH BACK LOUNGE

TO A CITY

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EDO | ZENITH INTERIORS

hile the mention of Tokyo, Japan’s ever-bustling capital, often conjures up images of neon-drenched skylines and space-age architecture, the city’s more subdued side continues to shine throughout the ages. The unassuming charm of its intimate teahouses, laneways and fetching courtyards has long struck a chord with those enchanted by the quieter parts of the Japanese metropolis, prompting many to draw inspiration from the understated beauty of Tokyo’s urban landscape. Australian design studio Schamburg + Alvisse did exactly this with their visionary Edo 1 Collection. Focusing on the clean architectural lines that gradually became synonymous with Edo, Tokyo’s former incarnation, the designers sought to create solutions that paid tribute to the city’s spatial diversity. The collection’s exquisite set of upright loungers that emerged as a direct result of this creative process showcase this to great effect.

PICTURE: A vibrant addition to any space, the Edo 1 lounger is defined by a bold minimalist framework and colours evocative of Edo-era Japan.

Complemented with bold minimalist lines, the eye-grabbing upholstery is truly the showstopper here. Featuring ivory-grey fabrics contrasted with a sunny pop of yellow, these high-backed pieces brim with an energy that stems from a thoughtful merging of modern and traditional sensibilities. The lounger’s sculptural qualities are another highlight, lending an artful air to office waiting areas and living rooms alike. Be it a standalone piece or a grouping of loungers, the astute design ensures that privacy is a given – a benefit that owes much to high backrests that may be adjusted to variable heights. www.zenithinteriors.com

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HAWORTH ANNOUNCES NEW ORGANIC SPACE FIRST IN SHANGHAI Haworth is excited to announce the opening of its new Shanghai Organic Space in the Jing’An Kerry Centre of Shanghai’s central business district. It is one of the first WELL-certified facilities to be built in Asia Pacific.

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ORGANIC SPACE | HAWORTH

TOP: Club Space – Pop-up displays and community space for collaborations.

BOTTOM: Special Projects Area – Activity based projects and materials library.

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CASE STUDY

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ORGANIC SPACE | HAWORTH

TOP LEFT: Atelier – Studio integrated with technology for workshops and conferences.

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BOTTOM LEFT: Back Office – sit-to-stand workstations including activity-based area such as focus pods and phone booths.

BOTTOM: Café – Venue for informal meetings and team activities.

aworth’s new Shanghai showroom is a pilot project for the Well Building Standard, a performance-focused system grounded in medical research that measures, certifies and monitors built environments to promote health and wellness. Well Building environments take into account air and water quality, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. Haworth’s showroom design therefore incorporates increased levels of fresh air exchange, ergonomic furniture, sit-stand desk options, non-toxic and non-off gassing materials plus air and water quality filtering and testing. “We wanted to engage with business leaders and the community to let them experience, first hand, what was possible in wellness design,” explains Frank Rexach, Vice President and General Manager for Haworth Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. “In addition to the WELL Building Standard, Haworth is demonstrating its commitment and leadership in sustainability by pursuing LEED v4 – the latest and most challenging version of LEED – and its pushing us to perform at a higher level,” he adds. “The 20-year-old building has presented significant challenges for sustainable design,” further explains Matthew Tedesco, Managing Director of Haworth Greater China. “However, we understand the importance of creating sustainable spaces and have worked hard to meet these standards.” “In addition to WELL and LEED certifications, our showroom will have the ‘cleanest air in Shanghai’ with RESET certification and a continuous air monitoring system in place,” he says. “We firmly believe we can be a positive example in the community, support the industry and help challenge the marketplace to go further.” ap.haworth.com


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UNBEATABLE SEAT Exuding a sleek, timeless appeal, the versatile design of Schiavello’s Bomba sofa system was conceived with fun and function in mind.

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SOFA SYSTEM

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LEFT & RIGHT: Strategically designed, the Bomba sofa system comes available in a variety of materials and colours, including grey-coated fabric pictured above and to the right.

ince its inception 47 years ago, Australian furniture company Schiavello has been producing noteworthy pieces that adhere to its longstanding ‘Anything is possible’ mandate. Created by principal designer Ivan Woods, the impressive Bomba sofa system does justice to the company’s bold outlook by pairing simplicity with innovation. Featuring a changeable framework that adapts well to any environment, Bomba – quirkily named after a popular Latin American musical style wherein dancers’ movements are spurred on by drumbeats – is proving to be what the doctor ordered where protean spaces are concerned. Users are at liberty to devise seating arrangements according to need and preference all the while reaping the benefits of firmer cushioning as well as a more upright posture that supports sporadic periods of productivity. Embellished arrangements are also possible; users have the option of adding on integrated side tables finished in American Oak, giving way to aesthetic yet purposeful groupings that accommodate collaborative work styles with the greatest of ease. The modernist geometry of the Bomba also works wonders in lobby areas, imbuing these much-frequented spaces with a calm, uncluttered utility. www.schiavello.com

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GET CONNECTED Composed of several interchangeable components, Herman Miller’s innovative Public Office Landscape is the ultimate in customisable office solutions, bringing workplace collaboration to an exciting new level.

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PUBLIC OFFICE LANDSCAPE

DESIGNED BY YVES BÉHAR & FUSEPROJECT | HERMAN MILLER

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ince the advent of digital networks, workplace dynamics have grown increasingly fluid, giving rise to a newfound flexibility that benefits telecommuters and office staffers alike. Acknowledging the evolving need for customisation at the workplace, industrial designer Yves Béhar and San Francisco-based studio fuseproject have dreamt up an office ‘landscape’ primed on collaboration and interaction for furniture company Herman Miller. Designed explicitly with connectivity in mind, Public sets the stage for seamless teamwork by reimaging formal and informal office areas as an integrated whole. Improved creativity and productivity is facilitated through a combination of casual and group seating. The Social Chair, a central component, sits at the heart of the system. An embodiment of high-end ergonomics, its compelling shape - encouraging one to sit while retaining a seamless link with other adjoining components such as desks, chairs and storage units - makes it a viable ‘connector’. Best of all, its streamlined form is preserved through the inclusion of patented polymer-composed internal supports, allowing for extended work sessions. Made to accommodate a range of activities and postures, the chair’s versatility is aptly symbolic of the contemporary staffer who will benefit from its dexterous design by deriving unending inspiration from his surroundings as well as the like-minded colleagues who sit in his midst. www.hermanmiller.com/asia

LEFT & RIGHT: The Public Office Landscape combines casual and formal work dynamics to boost creativity and collaboration.

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PICTURE: Database’s strong geometric lines, sleek surfaces and subtle storage details make a contemporary office both user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

PICTURE: Open shelves, panel doors and flat-front drawers unite in a glossy shade of white.

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DATABASE | EURO

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The Database is proof that storage where you need it can change the way an office works. 3 TOP TO BOTTOM: 1. 170 Open Degree Clip On Hinges 2. Core Removal Function 3. Slim Profile Design

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uro Chairs has plenty of experience helping buyers manage workplace ergonomics. Now it’s moving on to clearing workspace clutter and creating sprawling storage of organised calm. And for good reason; research shows there is a direct correlation between productivity and clutter: productivity and profits plunge when clutter and chaos climb. The furniture manufacturer’s Database storage system is designed to work in any office environment, thanks to an assortment of filing and storage options with almost endless configurations. While desk-height cabinets ensure easy-access filing and become practical extensions of the desk and can be outfitted with stacked units for more versatile storage and greater customisation of the

workstation, the Database range also features stationary cabinets in the back and side-to-side movable cabinets in front. To access the back cabinets, simply slide the front cabinets sideways. With its clean lines and pared-down silhouette, the Database range exemplifies a less-is-more aesthetic, and immediately sets the scene for a contemporary-style office. And the glossy white palette ensures that the workspace feels calm and serene rather than frantic and full of activity. www.eurochairs.com

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DIVIDE AND CONQUER

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MULTI-FUNCTIONAL SPACE DIVIDER

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The Siarra’s concept of office furniture as needed is worthy of the 21st century collaborative workplace.

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aving trouble coming up with new spaces for collaborative activities in the workplace? Furniture company Oasis offers them not by addition but by subtraction. The company’s latest design concept, the Siarra, embraces the idea of an instant mobile office space that is constructed from an assemblage of space dividers and stools to provide visual separation along with a concept of utilising empty spaces in open areas, back rows of seminar rooms, lounges, and even pantries. In designing the Siarra, Oasis’s Sujaklosophy intends for the Siarra to be as much about addressing the interactive, serendipitous manner in which creative professionals work today as it is about organizational efficiency or workspace flexibility now that some corporations have downsized in actual square footage, and place an increased focus on sustainable office design. This pop-up zone, which is by definition ephemeral, is intended to be an open and inviting space that draws workers together, creating a hot spot of interaction and internal company interchange for ideas of every kind, for exchange and inspiration. In other words, the informal centre of the company is located precisely here, where people can talk, work and negotiate in a relaxed, convivial atmosphere, whether they be customers, guests or employees. To that end, the dividers are intentionally double-sided such that a group of users may be seated on stools in front with the panels doubling up as high backrests, while others may be gathered around at the back with the dividers serving as body props and standing desks. While permanent office spaces aim for a certain level of predictability, this pop-up zone strives to make each experience different and accidental. To be sure, the Siarra brings an un-officey and distinctly modern profile to seating comfort in the workplace: the dividers — available in two versions, Siarra 1.0 and Siarra 2.0 — resemble abstract pieces of sculpture with their angled, asymmetrical design while hollowed-out boxy stools in eye-popping colours and a round table complete this crowd-pleasing collection.

BOTTOM: The Siarra space dividers pull multiple duty as backrest, body prop, standing desk and shelving unit.

www.arte-como.com

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CREATING WORKSPACES FIT FOR EMPLOYEES

Debate surrounding the impact the office environment has on employees is becoming more prevalent, but what has been proven is the well-being and productivity benefits incorporating natural elements, or biophilic design, into a workspace can bring.

Professor Sir Cary Cooper, CBE, Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University, and leading expert on well-being and stress at work |

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CARPET TILES

HUMAN SPACES | INTERFACE

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he biophilic design concept is founded on the idea we have an innate need to be continually connected to nature. The body of work supporting this concept and its benefits in the context of the workplace is growing rapidly. In most the recent research, the Human Spaces global report, office spaces incorporating natural design elements were found to increase workers’ well-being by 15 percent, productivity by 6 percent and creativity by 15 percent. In his 2012 film ‘Biophilic Design: The Architecture of Life’ , Stephen Kellert suggests that the designer can help to bring about a design revolution that connects buildings to the natural world, creating work environments where people think, feel and perform better. With businesses becoming more aware of the value of providing ergonomic and naturally inspired workspaces, the designer must now take a leading role in bringing the concept to life. Bringing the outdoors in, as it is often envisaged, can convey a number of challenges for designers. You may have the luxury of building from the ground up, but many will be coping with existing spaces that don’t lend themselves easily to biophilic design, and, of course, budgets are a prime concern. Regardless of the project, research clearly headlines a number of areas that form the foundation to approach biophilic design in the workplace. NATURAL LIGHT When asked about the most desired element in an office, 47 percent of global office workers in the Human Spaces global study specified natural light as their number one choice. Sunlight is the most fundamental aspect of the natural world and, regardless of what lighting is available, design professionals should advise business leaders on how to maximize this as much as possible in the workplace. As an example, Google asks its employees to wear light meters to collect data on how much natural light is achieved in-house and inform the design process. Another key consideration is the function of space. It is much more beneficial if natural light can be optimized for long-term workstations, rather than spaces that are only temporarily occupied, such as meeting rooms. COLOURS The subject of colour is a complex one. The range of shades and lack of research mean, currently, it’s impossible to attribute defined meaning to any one colour. What we do know is that certain colours engender a deeper physiological and psychological response, including enhanced creativity or better cognitive focus. For example, shades of greens have been linked to better creativity, while blues have been associated with improved productivity. What the designer should consider is how these shades can be incorporated as accents into the overall look and feel of a workspace and where the use will be most effective.

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LAYOUT Many modern offices adopt an open plan design, a sprawl of desks grouped together to encourage collaboration. There are few barriers, while ringing telephones, clattering keyboards, and colleagues’ voices likely form the backdrop. Questions are being raised over the suitability of this environment for ensuring happy, productive and creative employees. As a case in point, almost two fifths (39%) of respondents who were surveyed for the Human Spaces global study said they would be most productive working on their own in a solitary environment, while 36% opted for an open plan office. Interestingly, individual countries also show a much greater preference for certain environments. For example, in Germany almost two thirds (59%) of workers prefer private offices, while almost half of workers in Brazil (46%) and India (47%) preferred open plan spaces. What these country preferences for office layout suggest is that it’s likely individual inclinations extend to the organizational and individual employee level. Designers need to work with businesses to establish how the space will work effectively for each client on that individual basis. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution, however offering flexibility with the types of spaces available and considering acoustics can all improve the overall impact of the environment on well-being and productivity. TEXTURES One of the ways in which biophilic design is thought to be most effective is through the use of patterns that mimic the randomness and variety of nature. It’s thought that this diversity produces the greatest amount of activity in the brain, and as a result delivers the most stimulation and pleasure. Creating effective randomness is almost asking for the impossible, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that this is fast becoming one of the most scientifically studied areas. One of the ways designers can look to incorporate patterns inspired by nature into the workspace is through texture. This could be in larger areas such as flooring or walls, or individual pieces such as artwork or furniture. A carefully planned office design can reap tangible daily rewards for employees. They could potentially see their outputs increase, well-being improve, and creative processes boosted, which all can affect the bottom line rather healthily. Design professionals are the lynchpin of this, ensuring the concept of biophilia can work effectively in any space to help organizations create inspired workspaces that challenge the norm and cultivate better, more effective ways of working. www.humanspaces.com

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GREEN INTERIORS WITH EKOUS Though rooms will end up looking better, Ekous’s efforts aren’t just about decorating, but are also about saving the planet and improving quality of life for consumers.

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TOP LEFT: Made from recycled polyester, the Ekous room divider enhances the user experience beyond mere eco-consciousness.

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n today’s world, more and more people are concerned about the environment. With so many disposable products in the market, it’s no wonder eco-friendly products have become such a hot topic. From manufacturers to consumers, people are looking for ways to help preserve the environment. Consumers are faced with a dizzying array of choices when it comes to which products to buy. Ekous’s hope is that consumers think responsibly and buy products made from recycled materials. The company, which prides itself as an acoustic solution provider, manufactures products that are made from high-quality polyester fibre derived from 100% certified recycled plastic PET bottles. PLASTIC AND POLYESTER: WHEN A BOTTLE IS NO LONGER A BOTTLE Most of the plastic beverage bottles we drink from come marked with the number “1” inside the triangular symbol to denote recycling, along with the abbreviation “PET” or “PETE” below it. Both of those abbreviations stand for polyethylene terephthalate, commonly called “PET” or polyester The containers that hold your mineral water are made from the same material that makes up your shirts. Ekous is one of a number of product innovators that have found a way to channel those discarded bottles to good use. To make recycled polyester, bottles are cleaned, sorted and placed into a machine that chops and grinds them into small bits. The bits then get melted, and the softened plastic gets squeezed through a plate that has a number of tiny holes in it, not unlike that of the old


ACOUSTIC SOLUTIONS

EKOUS | TAZ

Play-Doh Fun Factory. The plastic comes outs in thin filaments that are spun on large metal rollers, forming a yarn that’s ready to be weaved into recycled polyester. WHY EKOUS PRODUCTS? Ekous has the capacity to keep billions of plastic PET bottles out of the world’s landfills each year by using post-consumer plastic bottles instead of virgin materials in the fibre manufacturing process. By doing this, the company helps lower harmful air emissions and save millions of barrels of oil from being used which, in turn, reduce the harmful effects of acid rain, global warming, and smog. Materials made from Ekous are chemically and functionally nearly identical to those made from non-recycled fibre. The difference is that Ekous products are made without depleting the Earth’s natural resources. With properties such as strength, softness, shrinkage-resistance, and colourfastness, market applications particularly in interior acoustics, Ekous product range is growing rapidly. So the next time you find yourself lounging around and sipping a soda while decorating your interiors with Ekous products, you might as well pat yourself on the back for playing your part in green innovation. www.ekous.net

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TOP RIGHT: The Ekous room divider brings privacy and noise reduction to an office environment while letting in light with its decidedly open fretwork.


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HEALING THE PLANET

PICTURE: Eco-friendly EcoSoft not only meets all stringent criteria required in a carpet tile, but consistently outperforms conventional PVC and bitumen hard backings as well as urethane cushion backing in durability, walking comfort and indoor air quality.

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Distinctly green, EcoSoft brings a breath of fresh air to the carpet industry, enhancing the user experience beyond mere eco-friendliness.

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iven that carpet production has long been intertwined with profligate waste that is damaging to the environment, “healthful” may be about the last word you would choose to describe the carpet manufacturing industry. Or maybe “sustainable.” Serious about making environmental issues an official company policy, Carpets Inter has introduced the latest improvement to its carpets with the EcoSoft carpet tile backing system which would make users gravitate towards those positive descriptors. The EcoSoft’s list of green features is all but inspirational: RECYCLED & RECYCLABLE Made from 80% post-consumer discarded PET drinking water bottles, plus 5% post-industrial recycled PET, users of the carpets can breathe and walk easy. Through the EcoSoft experience alone, the company recycles more than 27 million PET bottles each year, which would otherwise gobble up precious landfill space and increase air pollution from incineration.

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LEFT & RIGHT: Whether it’s the luxury of a hand-tufted carpet or the flexibility of carpet tiles, Carpet Inter’s alluring range of design choices will meet any project requirement.

Carpet Construction

LIGHT & EASY A square metre of EcoSoft backed tiles is about one kilo lighter than PVC-backed carpet tiles, giving the EcoSoft a double advantage. For one, the lighter EcoSoft-backed tile is easier to handle, thus making it quicker to install. In addition, it takes 1.35 times transport energy to move 1000 square metres of PVC-backed tiles compared with EcoSoft tiles of the same area — or 35% more. And this energy use leaves a carbon footprint. In shipping, for every 1000 square metres of EcoSoft backed tiles (2.96 tonnes), 118g of CO2 is emitted per kilometre compared with 162g of CO2 per kilometre for shipping the same area of carpet on PVC backing (4.07 tonnes). ENERGY EFFICIENT Test results comparing PVC tile and EcoSoft carpet tile show that EcoSoft trumps a hard-back tile by more than 150% for thermal effectiveness. In other words, EcoSoft promotes thermal comfort, saves energy and reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are major contributors to climate change. INHERENTLY POROUS The porous nature of the EcoSoft carpet tile backing avoids moisture build-up under the tile as it allows the concrete slab on which it is installed to release free water vapour, thus minimising the risk of adhesive failure through alkaline hydrolysis and the release of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).


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ECOSOFT | CARPETS INTER

BLISSFULLY QUIET The felt-like structure of the recycled PET EcoSoft is ideal for absorbing ambient noise and impact noise. Acoustic tests that were undertaken by sound labs at RMIT, CSIRO and AIRO show that carpet tiles with EcoSoft backing have twice the Sound Absorption Average (SAA) compared to typical hardback carpet tiles. A high SAA contributes to a lower reverberation time (RT) in a room, which shortens the length of time a sound takes to decay in the room, and reduces build-up of sound even in the presence of continuing sound sources, such as conversation in a busy party.

• Floor Planning and Estimation • Fiber & Yarn Production • Twisting and Heat Setting • Dyeing • Weaving, Tufting, and Non-woven • Needle Punched Product • Finishing & Inspection • Warehousing, Distribution & Installation www.carpetsinter.com

ABOUT CARPETS INTER Established in 1974, Carpets Inter is the largest contract carpet manufacturer of woven, tufted, and modular-tile carpets in Asia for the hospitality, cruise liner, aviation, and automotive industries, offering a comprehensive product range that also includes nonwoven needle punched floorings for automotive and exhibition sectors, as well as outdoor tufted synthetic grass for landscaping and sports. Its 160,000 square meter modern factory employs 1,600 people and houses a wholly vertically-integrated production. THE ‘ONE-STOP’ CARPET SUPPLIER:

• Design Concept & Service • Sample Service

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THE SOCIAL CIRCLE Get the latest scoop from the region’s latest social circle

HERMAN MILLER

PUBLIC GOES PUBLIC VARIETY + PROXIMITY + CASUAL = COLLABORATION

SCHIAVELLO

CHINESE NEW YEAR PARTY GO BACK IN TIME AND DRESS FOR SHANGHAINESE LIFE


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HERMAN MILLER THEME:

PUBLIC GOES PUBLIC VARIETY + PROXIMITY + CASUAL = COLLABORATION

VENUE:

THE GALLERY, SWATCH ART PEACE HOTEL, BUND 19, SHANGHAI, CHINA

WEBSITE: HERMANMILLER.COM/ASIA

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HERMAN MILLER

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SCHIAVELLO THEME:

GO BACK IN TIME AND DRESS FOR SHANGHAINESE LIFE

VENUE:

SCHIAVELLO SHOWROOM, SINGAPORE

WEBSITE: SCHIAVELLO.COM

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SCHIAVELLO

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SPOTLIGHT

TAKE PART A

s children, we are often encouraged to partake in constructive playtime in view of developing our cognitive skills. Approaching adulthood, this unrestrained sense of play tends to diminish, becoming bogged down by the pressure to ‘grow up’. Created by Italian studio Delineodesign for lighting design specialists ZAVA, the Giacolu table lamp attempts to turn back time by appealing to one’s inner child. Offering up a selection of basic, albeit vibrantly hued parts, the Giacolu’s DIY sensibility makes the typically tedious act of assembly part of the fun. The possibilities are manifold; a table lamp becomes an arm lamp before morphing into a lectern and so forth. Aqua-green adjoining parts give the convertible piece a quirky touch, imbuing it with an animated quality that doesn’t take away from Delineodesign’s sophisticated intentions. One of the many exciting light designs on view at this year’s Euroluce, the Giacolu is part of ZAVA’s much talked about Designer’s Collection 2015. Featuring eight talented designers who have established fruitful working relationships with the renowned brand, the Collection extrapolates on ZAVA’s approach in combining technology, craftsmanship and design while driving home the company’s passion for Italian production processes. Aside from Delineodesign, the Collection puts the spotlight on upcoming designers such as Enrico Azzimonti, Filippo Mambretti, Brian Rasmussen and Douglas James MacFarlane. www.zavaluce.it

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OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


Office Concept V8N2  

Delivering Simplicity

Office Concept V8N2  

Delivering Simplicity

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