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EXPERIENCE FUELS ARTISTRY AT MRID STUDIO VOL.8 NO.3 OCT - JAN 2016 SGD13 BND13 AUD13.95 MYR19 HKD80 THB295 PHP295 INR395 IDR90000 (Included GST)

MARITIME MODERNITY | GOING WITH THE FLOW | SPECTRUM OF IMAGINATION BUILT FOR PRECISION | VIM AND VIGOUR | ORIGAMI EXPERIENCE | PLAYING PLANES


PUBLISHER’S LETTER

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THE PERFECT MIX OF WORK AND PLAY In the evolving landscape of today’s modern workplace, that old chestnut about “all work and no play” has become more pertinent than ever.

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n this issue, we take a look at new projects and furniture designs that cleverly champion the role of play at work by rethinking tired old templates and, at times, boldly going where no office has gone before. In the evolving landscape of today’s modern workplace, that old chestnut about “all work and no play” has become more pertinent than ever. Firms like Singapore-based MRID Studio, whose invigorating projects are featured in the following pages, are making lasting impressions with characteristic office designs that motivate through astute uses of quirk, interactivity and colour. On that note, I’d like to personally thank the principals for sharing their stellar works with us. Thoughtfully composed interiors aside, it goes without saying that the presence of high quality contents also matters. Maintaining a strong presence internationally, Schiavello continues to deliver exemplary furniture solutions that promote enhanced flexibility and wellbeing at the workplace. This outlook is discernible in its recent collaboration with M Moser Associates on LinkedIn’s new Asia Pacific headquarters, pictured on Page 108. And just as MRID and Schiavello bestow on workplaces a renewed appreciation for play, it gives me great pleasure to present our loyal readers with a special gift of our own. Bundled with this issue of Office Concept is the inaugural issue of our brand new publication, H+R (Hospitality + Residential). The result of many sleepless nights, the magazine was lovingly conceived as our tribute to the best hospitality and residential projects the industry has to offer. We hope you like what you see and humbly look forward to feedback from our readers. Lastly, I’d like to offer a sneak peak into the next OC issue. Along with a host of exciting design highlights, our February edition will turn the spotlight on office architecture projects by leading international design studios that continue to redefine urban landscapes in Asia and abroad. Here’s hoping this tidbit will entice you to look into what we get up to early next year! Kenneth Khu

k@kennethmedia.asia

Raimond Tensegrity by Raimond Puts Moooi | | | | | |

OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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CONTENTS

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE BASIC IS BEST

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ENTRÉE

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INTERIOR DESIGN MRID STUDIO MARITIME MODERNITY GOING WITH THE FLOW SPECTRUM OF IMAGINATION BUILT FOR PRECISION VIM AND VIGOUR ORIGAMI EXPERIENCE PLAYING PLANES LEADERSHIP VIEWPOINTS

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PASSION FOR DESIGN RAISING THE BAR ON CARPET DESIGN

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FITTING INTERIORS SEVENTH HEAVEN LIQUID INSPIRATION PURE PERFECTION PULL UP A CAMPUS UP WIRED FOR WORKPLACE WELLNESS STYLISH, VERSATILE SPACE SAVERS ACOUSTIC COMFORT EMPOWERING EMPLOYEES TO CO-CREATE WORKSPACE BANKING ON A SLEEK FOUNDATION

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THE SOCIAL CIRCLE THE APPLE BLOSSOMS

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TEAM & PARNER

editorial MANAGING EDITOR Kenneth Khu DEPUTY EDITOR Pang Yin Ying EDITOR Mandy Chin design ART DIRECTOR Eric Phoon SENIOR DESIGNER Sandy Liew contributors WRITERS Adele Chong, Dorothy Lung ID PROJECTS MRID Pte Ltd sales & marketing SENIOR SALES MANAGER Edmond Lee SALES EXECUTIVE Kelvin Ong publication PUBLISHER Kenneth Khu

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enquiries ADVERTISING advertising@kennethmedia.asia EDITORIAL editorial@kennethmedia.asia CONTRIBUTION contributor@kennethmedia.asia SUBSCRIPTION subscribe@kennethmedia.asia website www.officeconcept.asia | www.kennethmedia.asia contact KENNETH MEDIA SDN BHD 1002 Block D Tiara Kelana Jalan SS7/19 Kelana Jaya 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia T: +603 7887 4525 photo credits COVER: MRID STUDIO / KRIS GIRONELLA SECTION OPENER: INTERIOR DESIGN MRID STUDIO / KRIS GIRONELLA LEADERSHIP VIEWPOINTS MRID STUDIO / KRIS GIRONELLA FITTING INTERIORS SCHIAVELLO THE SOCIAL CIRCLE BRISTOL & SCHIAVELLO printer PERCETAKAN IMPRINT (M) SDN BHD No.538, Jalan 20 Taman Perindustrian Ehsan Jaya, Kepong 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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permit number KDN PP18848/09/2015(034306), MCI(P) 029/01/2015

RAISING THE BAR ON CARPET DESIGN

PUBLISHED BY

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OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA

magazine OC (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. copyright notice All rights, including copyright, in the content of this publication are owned by Kenneth Media Sdn Bhd, 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 Kenneth Media Sdn Bhd, Malaysia.

SERIES 7™ by Fritz Hansen


LAUNCH ISSUE: H+R MAGAZINE PRESENTED BY KENNETH MEDIA

Announcing the debut of H+R, an exciting new magazine showcasing the best in cutting edge hospitality and residential design within the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. www.hradi.asia


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DREAM TEAM Bringing together design greats Philippe Starck and Ettore Sottsass, this new edition of the Mademoiselle chair by Kartell continues to set collectors’ hearts racing. Comprising a moulded foundation of transparent polycarbonate, this ingeniously constructed armchair features Sottsass’ standout Memphis Letraset fabric in honour of the late Italian architect and designer. kartell.com | spacefurniture.asia

WELLNESS WONDER

Not just your average office chair, Zody by Haworth is more than meets the eye. Its stunningly designed, recyclable structure is the result years of intensive research into science-based wellness, individual comfort and sustainability. Asymmetrical lumbar adjustments in the lower back area means that the chair works hard to ensure stellar posture, making long seated periods less of an endurance. ap.haworth.com

THE PERFECT FIT Designed by Mathias Seiler for Girsberger, Adapt is sleekness personified. This scalable conference table system captivates upon first glance thanks to a triumphantly envisioned construction that brings wood and steel combinations to whole new level. Available in variations that seat anywhere from 8 to 14 people, Adapt’s solid wood tops also come in oak, ash, American black walnut or beech. Built-in power and data facilities also make this piece a must-have for any sophisticated, modern office. girsberger.com

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LOUNGE LORD The Mad King armchair by Marcel Wanders for Poliform may be easy on the eyes but its good looks make up only one part of its charm. Its sumptuous seat, upholstered either in fabric or leather, brims with contemporary decadence and personality, doing justice to its regal moniker. A sensible yet eccentric add-on, a wooden tray attached on one armrest makes the ideal perch for a drink, book or remote control. poliform.it | spacefurniture.asia

STEALTH STYLE Looking to perk up your office? This futuristic seating duo by Boss Design might be the answer. Designed with a view towards informal work environments where single-person booths take precedence over deskbound scenarios, Peek & Boo smartly fuses work and play as plushly structured enclosures that enable private spaces when used or alone or group work when combined as a pair. boss-design.co.uk

SIMPLY STURDY

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Addressing the ever-evolving state of today’s offices, the aptly named Needs table by Malaysian furniture brand Bristol is a deftly versatile piece that adapts to a wide range of spaces. Used on its own or as a larger modular arrangement achieved through add-on plastic connectors, Needs’ easily assembled framework allows for multiple accessories such as stationary trays for your odds and ends. bristol.com.my


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QUILTED COOL In line with her famous design sensibilty, Patricia Urquiola’s Husk chair plays up the emphasis on shape and tactility, evoking a feeling of sheer comfort. Created for B&B Italia in 2012, the piece’s distinctively modern quality is showcased in a design that cites the Capitonné style, a classic technique that sees the cushions being divided into square segments and affixed with press studs. bebitalia.com | spacefurniture.asia

THAT’S A WRAP Vaguely resembling a folded manila envelope, the Fold sofa’s light, whimsical feel owes much to its comfy, informal aesthetic. Devised with a steel frame and loose fitting covers, the piece’s snug exterior is further accentuated with the addition of a sprung webbed seat and feather-wrapped high resistance foam. Part of a collection comprising an armchair and sofas of differing sizes, Fold is both humble and luxuriant in appearance. markproduct.com

DO THE TWIST The Coza chair from Boss Design is anything but ordinary. Its striking design isn’t the only perk. Featuring a polymer shell shaped from a single ribbon of material for optimum flexibility, this unusually formed task chair shuns the need for multiple components or complex assembly. A vision poised on a polished aluminium base, Coza stuns while getting the job done. boss-design.co.uk |

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SOFT FOCUS Envisioned by Scandinavian designer Øivind Slaatto, Patera’s origins stem from Slaatto’s ongoing interest in the Fibonacci sequence, a spiral pattern found in nature that once ignited the imaginations of Leonardo Da Vinci and Johan Sebastian Bach. Composed of a subtle configuration of circles, angles and holes, its intricate design enables the emission of softly diffused light, likening Patera to a modern chandelier. louispoulsen.com | xtrafurniture.com.my

SPACE OUT Taking on the look of a whirling nucleus, the Raimond Tensegrity floor lamp is essentially a giant LED sphere that gives off the illusion of floating above its aerial wood stand. Symbolising the balance created via the coming together of push and pull forces, the lamp maintains an almost otherworldly appearance, culminating in its commanding presence in large and small spaces alike. moooi.com | spacefurniture.asia

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Textures and design flourishes give the office of MRID Studio a burst of energy


SINGAPORE

MRID STUDIO

MRID Studio Celebrating its fifth year in business, Singapore-based MRID Studio has built a strong portfolio that reflects the work of a confident and highly experienced team

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“Corporations are mostly documentation supported in their process. We believe it’s essential to provide documentation, schedules, site updates and proper spreadsheets to tie in with the systematic approach of the corporate world.” Marc Kwok, Managing Director of MRID

A visit to MRID Studio’s office brings you into a domain of warm, industrial-style comfort. A reception area faces the glasswalled meeting room and gives a glimpse into the communal office area. The two founder’s private offices are also in clear view. “What we have here is an egalitarian set up. Ronald and I have our offices, but the doors are always open. It’s a flat organisation, and everyone is accessible to everybody else,” Marc Kwok, Managing Director of MRID, says. “It’s a space where everyone could feel at home. It’s comfortable and efficient,” says Ronald Legaspi, Design Director of the firm. At one glance, it may be an industrial-style home that reflects a keen understanding of the needs of its largely Generation X and Y team. However, MRID’s approach to its own office reflects the depth of thought that goes into its projects.


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LEFT: A library of up-to-date books on design, finishes and materials provides fodder for inspiration RIGHT: Photographs and accolades come together as a feature in the meeting room

Woven into the office design are several key ideas and symbolisms. The meeting room chairs in different colours represent the company’s recognition of individual thoughts and ideas. The brick wall holds framed photographs of completed projects and awards, much like a wall of memories in a family home. Here, cement and concrete finishes signify a stable platform for any undertakings. The open concept encourages a spirit of limitless creativity and the red hand-moulded bricks, which give the space a welcoming feel, imply experience built slowly over time. It’s aptly so, because while the firm may be young, its progress is the result of leadership by seasoned pros in the industry. Marc has had three decades of experience in the office design industry, having started out in the field in his early 20s. Formerly a

partner of another office design company for decades, he brings to the table robust experience. Over the years, he has handled projects of any scale and jobs in countries such as Australia, Japan, China and the Southeast Asian region. Ronald, a licensed architect from the Philippines and an associate member of the US-based International Interior Design Association, is the creative brain driving the firm. Between the two, they have over 50 years of experience in the field. It’s no wonder then that, in just five years, MRID has built an impressive portfolio. These projects span across different industries, from investment to media production firms. As they reminisced about how they first discussed the idea of partnering together,


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there’s a sense that friendship comes first before business. They were colleagues almost 20 years ago at a Kuala Lumpur corporate design firm where Marc was a founding partner. Thanks to this long friendship, the two share an easy camaraderie. “I got in touch with Marc when I knew that he’d resigned from his partnership at the former company. I thought we had good synergy when we were working together. When we decided to set up the company, we would meet at a coffee shop weekly and talk through details over iced coffee,” Ronald shares, laughing at the memory. “I saw the potential of us working together. The synergy and understanding that we have is unique and special. I think working together in Kuala Lumpur gave us a lot of confidence that we could team up and move to the next milestone,” Marc adds.

As business partners, they are aware of what it takes to form a solid partnership. “Many times, business partners cannot work together when personalities clash and there are disagreements over the way matters are handled. But it’s really about having the maturity in handling businesses. Our partnership is very much like a marriage where respect and understanding are crucial,” Marc says. At the same time, creativity and perceptivity are needed in design while logic and pragmatism are crucial in business. These yin and yang traits provide MRID with the balance that’s instrumental for a company to thrive. And it is this emphasis on synergy and balance that MRID brings to the company’s projects too. The team uses a threepronged approach true to the company’s tagline “Creative. Corporate. Experience.”

LEFT: Each chair is in a different colour, celebrating the staff members’ independent thinking and contribution RIGHT: Marc Kwok (left), Managing Director, and Ronald Legaspi (right), Design Director


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Creativity and perceptivity are needed in design while logic and pragmatism are crucial in business.


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to give its clients creative office spaces that also retain the corporate environment. Each word means something, whether from MRID’s view or the client’s. Experience, for instance, denotes the company’s vast background in the industry and the experiential element of interior design from the client’s perspective. MRID stresses upon having a clear and systematic approach in managing each project. The key is to understand truly how corporations work. “Corporations are mostly documentation supported in their process. We believe it’s essential to provide documentation, schedules, site updates and proper spreadsheets to tie in with the systematic approach of the corporate world,” Marc says. Because

creativity is at the core of its work, MRID values individual input from its team to help move each project forward. From designers to the marketing team, staff members are encouraged to contribute. “Every project is laid onto a table and everybody shares comments on all aspects. While there is a general direction, as well as parameters, for each project, everyone participates in it. After all, a company is made up of different departments. So thoughtful contribution from the entire team gives us different perspectives and angles to look at a project, ” Ronald says. Matched with professionalism and pragmatism, it’s no wonder then that the firm has glowing testimonials from clients such as Corporate Travel Services and Vernazza Investments. “We cannot say enough about all the positive feedback


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FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: An interplay of rustic industrialstyle furnishings and contemporary system furniture makes for a creative and inspiring office space

we received about the dynamism, energy, uniqueness and the diversity of the design concept for the whole office,” says Dasmond Pang, Director of Vernazza Investments.

environment for creativity to blossom. Which is why the company firmly believes in promoting a family-like culture within the team. Doing so also keeps the team agile and empowered.

It has also garnered accolades such as the Successful Entrepreneur award and Singapore Brands award in 2012. In the same year, the Asia Business Journal awarded the Asia Pacific Brands Award to MRID. MRID has won the Singapore Business Distinction award this year. For MRID, however, achieving greater heights is about making deliberate and steady progress. Meeting the clients’ expectations also means staying ahead of the curve in office design trends and providing the right

To understand the inner workings of design trends, the close-knit team spends time having discussions on the latest in design, materials and layout. Marc says, “Our team has full access to our resources when not all interior design firms provide such access. It’s all about collaboration. And by creating an environment that stimulates our minds and gets our creative juices flowing, we know we can grow the company.”


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MARITIME MODERNITY Contemporary interactive and modular workspaces make up the revamped premises of Boskalis International


SINGAPORE

BOSKALIS INTERNATIONAL

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This double-volume reception area is perfect for the prominent placement of the company logo, as well as for oversized photographs representing the company’s business nature


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Contrary to popular opinion, flair makes a world of difference to a corporate space. And more often than not, the task falls squarely on the interior design firm. Having the right one could transform an office from drab to fab.

time, boosting circulation, injecting moodlifting colour schemes and aiding natural light flow.

For staff members and visitors, MRID conceptualised an explorative journey into its ‘inner space’. The reception area initiates visitors into the space dubbed the Boskalis International’s brief centred upon Ship’s Hull, a reference to the company’s glass-enclosed and soundproofed rooms, maritime core. “As you go further, common a space supportive of IT and electrical needs and a cubicle design that encourages areas become more like an industrial exploration feel. There are blue lights, interaction. MRID, however, went above louvres and an open ceiling. The look is and beyond for the Singapore office of to represent the engine and mechanisms this international corporation. MRID took present within a vessel,” explains MRID’s reference from the business nature of Boskalis International to craft a space with a Design Director Ronald Legaspi. strong corporate identity. And at the same

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LEFT: MRID works with the building’s architectural details to craft an engaging reception area BOTTOM RIGHT: For MRID, choosing the right colours extends even to the smallest detail


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TOP: Instead of woodtoned surfaces, furnishings in white and pastel yellow fill the communal office RIGHT: The Waiting Lounge brings to mind lounges in upscale hotels found in top cities BOTTOM LEFT: This meeting room is decked out in a sensuous, masculine combination of blue and black


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and timeless style. A prominent logo installation provides powerful branding for the company, and visitors make no mistake that they’ve arrived at the right place. Vast and voluminous, the waiting area exudes a gallery-like appeal. To link back to the company’s maritime influences, MRID lined the walls and ceilings with plaster boxed up elements to represent the keel. Every designated area — r­ eception, office area and meeting rooms — anchors unique Individual linear ceiling lights signify the ribs of a vessel. space ideologies to promote utility. Yet, the underlying differences are subtle Bright Prospects enough for the main design ethos to flow Venture forth into the light-filled coherently. main office area and a clean, crisp and collaborative setting presents itself. The A Warm Welcome open office concept with low-panelled The reception area extends an inviting cubicles encourages fuss-free conversations gesture with its modern contemporary The addition of SMIT International and Dockwise, as well as their subsidiaries, expanded the company’s range of services. Therefore, reworked premises where staff members can function efficiently and comfortably are essential to the company’s long-term plans.


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among staff members. It also allows uninterrupted visual flow from end to end. The pastel yellow divider panels add a punch of visual interest, and this office separates itself from cookie-cutter white offices. More significantly, MRID maximised this area by factoring in the possibility of future expansions. Adhering to their design principle of modularity, the team created flexible offices, which can be easily transformed into either open workstations or enclosed offices. Rise to the Challenge Despite operations running as usual during the renovation, the team worked efficiently

within the constraints. They completed the project in multiple phases and were professionals in ensuring minimal disruption to the staff’s daily work routine during the revamp. Another challenge that could change the entire game plan was the lack of natural light. However, as experts in carving out bright and open office environments, MRID managed to work around this by providing a suite of viable solutions. Communal Chic At the heart of the meeting rooms is the Waiting Lounge, which becomes the central holding ground. If we’ve learnt anything from the revamp of this office, it


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LEFT: In the canteen, cement screed flooring contrasts against the matte finishes for an up-to-date look RIGHT: MRID installs wall sconces to complement the ambient lighting and imbue visual texture

is that versatility and innovation make up the big picture. Therefore, the lounge is more than a waiting area. It can be used to host sales launches, annual meetings and company functions. As a prelude to the sleek aesthetics that wait within the meeting rooms, the lounge also hosts a drop ceiling feature to emulate an open and airy alcove. Blue recessed lighting illuminates the ceiling alcove. An adjoining counter flanked by trendy bar stools from high-end furniture retailer XTRA features a cheery yellow backsplash, creating an informal setting for work and relaxation. Following the recurring yellow palette, the main lounge is furnished with canary yellow lounge chairs from Haworth

paired with coffee tables from CB2 to form contemporary conversation nooks. With that, the lounge is set for all events. The meeting rooms cut an impressive figure with a similar open ceiling concept and industrial-themed strokes of blue lighting. Even more spectacular is the series of louvres installed in the conference room. To the streamlined design lingo, the strips bring a modern representation of an engine room. These bespoke design flourishes bring to light the harmonious integration of the company’s maritime brand identity into these utilitarian spaces.


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GOING WITH THE FLOW A fresh look at spatial planning results in enhanced space usage and movement flow in this office


SINGAPORE

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AN INVESTMENT FIRM

As an investment management firm, this company requires their new office to appear elegant, upscale and welcoming. But as with most office spaces, each comes with its unique set of challenges. Finding the right solutions often requires a fresh way of looking at what a space has to offer. Space was the limitation in this office. The office needed to accommodate specific requirements to support the company’s operations. The project too was to be completed within a short timeframe. Free Access MRID’s solution was multi-layered. Instead of enclosed, dedicated areas, here, spaces flow into one another easily. The prime example is right where the spatial experience begins: the reception area. While the company was ready to forgo the reception area, MRID’s design team dreamed up a solution that lets the company utilise the space better. From the entrance, a feature wall shields the communal office area from the outside. Just a short distance away stand an open pantry. Where such areas are often hidden deep within the office, this one is right up front. Staff could simply walk to it from the entrance in the office area whenever they need a break. From the main entrance, visitors can step into the pantry, which serves as an informal reception area as well.

The idea of a recessed feature gives it a striking, sculptural feel


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Paired with the use of light colours, the glass-fronted pantry expands the entrance area visually.

LEFT: Mirror finishes bring a sleek, luxe feel to corporate spaces RIGHT: Spatial challenges can be overcome by allowing spaces to perform more than one function

Clean Palette With office interior projects, the job of the design team is not only to satisfy the practical needs of a company, but also seamlessly communicates its branding messages. In this case, the design team introduced curves into the interior architecture. Free-flowing lines on the feature wall are in harmony with the brand’s identity. The rest of the spaces were kept minimalist as a blank canvas for paintings and artefacts. Meeting rooms are professional-

looking yet uplifting with the palette of cream and yellow. And where space allows, these meeting rooms are now fitted with storage cabinets. Shelves provide room for sculptures and objet d’art. In each, padded panels on the walls soften the look and feel, as well as aid in soundproofing. Tailored Solutions As office designers, the team from MRID takes pride in devoting the time to understand what a company needs. While the open office may be the popular choice for many companies, it might not truly be suitable for certain industries or relevant to the respective company. So even as the designers aim to create a space that’s as open as possible, they incorporated


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high-panelled workstations with partial glass partitions for the main office here. These workstations stage a setting necessary for the privacy and focus required for the job. At the same time, the glass panels provide the needed sense of openness to create a roomy feel for the office. Truth be told, constraints are central to every project. And with MRID at the helm, striking the right balance between the branding and spatial needs of the company and what the staff require to work effectively and efficiently is achieved.

TOP LEFT & RIGHT: A discussion room is nestled between the pantry and communal office BOTTOM LEFT: Muted tones uplift the ambience yet give the meeting room a corporate look


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SPECTRUM OF IMAGINATION The brand new office of media production provider Vernazza Investments is both fun and functional with colours that foster the staff’s creative energy


SINGAPORE

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VERNAZZA INVESTMENTS

A full-wall feature transforms an often-overlooked space like the corridor and gives visitors and staff a sense of place


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Successful office designs are always polished and thoroughly planned to the smallest detail. They follow a smooth order of uniformity. What about those who break these rules then? Well, they might reap better results, as what the design team from MRID has proven with this project. By taking a risk, the client Vernazza Investments now has the opportunity to strut its stuff with an ‘out-of-the-box’ office. As a media production provider, Vernazza Investments believes in nurturing the creative minds of its staff. Space is needed for collaborative areas to exchange views and unleash great ideas. And as

for the main design scheme of their 9,600 sq ft premises, the company firmly believes that colours go a long way in promoting inspiration. To answer to these requirements, the MRID team proposed a vibrant colour scheme that, at the same time, projects the company’s corporate status well. Other objectives, such as a large multi-purpose hall with versatile usability and a media production facility for video recording purposes, were fulfilled with care and consideration. Focused on Results The team began with tackling a few burgeoning issues. The first was meeting


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the headcount required for the original design brief, where the team proposed several layouts and computations for the space usage. In addition to ensuring that all alterations to the design and layout during the construction period were resolved smoothly, MRID also oversaw the sound treatment for the media production facility so that it was up to the mark. It’s About Balance LEFT: Geometric planes bring dimension to a space First impressions might matter, but MRID figured that they wanted to save the clad in white wow factor for the main office. The team RIGHT: Rainbow hues juxtapose with monochro- also wanted to stretch out the surprise. Therefore, the spatial experience begins matic finishes

with a reception area that starkly contrasts with the office interior proper. Clean and neutral, it might be subtle at first sight. However, the asymmetrical textures that make up the counter and backdrop slowly unveil the sleekness of the space. Less is certainly more in the instance of this standout design treatment. Rainbow Riot Upon entrance to the main office, get hit by ‘beams of creative rays’. These vividly coloured beams stretch from the floor up towards the ceiling, signifying the Cathode ray tube of a TV set. The colours are a dramatic reference that speaks


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LEFT: MRID creates a campus-like, informal setting for sharing ideas or conducting research BOTTOM LEFT: A wallcovering is an effective way of bringing the soothing effect of nature into the office BOTTOM RIGHT: Colourful vertical slats produce a powerful visual effect


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about the company’s business in media production. More than that, however, the colours make for a highly engaging work space and aids in raising the energy levels of the staff. Taming the riot of colours is a monochromatic colour scheme for the open-concept cubicles. The result is an attention-grabbing tension between the rainbow hues and the black, gray and white surfaces. These, as well as the tube lighting that streak across the ceiling, come together to project dynamism and youthful energy. Whether it is for a casual discussion or a spot of brainstorming, the multi-purpose

gallery is a great place for a change of scene. To set off a more relaxed vibe here, MRID picked out a cluster of lights to complement the conventional office lighting. The large arena is furnished with flexible, mobile furniture like cushy beanbags and low tables. That way, the staff can alter the space to host a variety of activities like training sessions, open seminars and small-scale meetings. A customised storage unit holding reading material also makes it an area conducive for research. Branding the shelving compartments are different coloured wall backings, picking up from the brightlycoloured beams in the main office.


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Studio Magic Though state-of-the-art equipment might be the main draw in the video recording studio, several other measures were put in place to derive the best visual effect. Suspended acoustic foam panels were introduced for enhanced sound quality in the sound-proofed rooms. For added versatility, the rooms also feature an operable wall for a convertible space. For formal meetings, the meeting rooms and conference room carry a monochromatic colour palette befitting

the occasion. Nothing looks out of place, though, until one looks up to find a random order of panels mounted on the ceiling. Disregarding uniformity, these panels frame the downlights and evoke intriguing shadows. Stylish offices are often sterile-looking workspaces. But with this office, MRID demonstrates that a fresh perspective and a daring use of colour are the secret to breaking away from the clinical-looking mould of what’s considered a cool office.


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BOTTOM LEFT & MIDDLE: Acoustic foam panels become functional and decorative elements in meeting rooms and recording studios RIGHT: The open concept office is one that encourages communication and collaboration


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BUILT FOR PRECISION

A highly disciplined office design reflects Heerema Marine Contractors’ high standards in the field


SINGAPORE

HEEREMA MARINE CONTRACTORS

As a world leading marine contractor firm in the international offshore oil and gas industry, Heerema Marine Contractors (HMC) is a company that prides itself on its efficiency and precision. Headquartered in the Dutch city of Leiden, HMC has built a network of offices across the globe.

LEFT: White surfaces provide the perfect setting for HMC’s corporate colours BELOW: Crisp, immaculate lines strengthen the brand identity

The company established the Singapore office in 2008, which was followed by a move to new premises in 2011. A move often requires a short timeframe for office designers to work with. However, MRID sailed through the project with expertise. Attuned to the demands of transforming spaces, MRID is deeply familiar with the

ins and outs of corporate interior design. From conceptualisation to completion, the team took a proactive approach at every stage. Details were executed with creativity and flexibility. Whether in the selection of materials or furniture, the design team collaborated with HMC to create an office that’s meaningful to the company and its staff. Located in UE Square building at Clemenceau Avenue, HMC’s new office presents a unique feature: it’s situated on levels 10 and 13 of the building. Therefore, it was essential to the company that the two spaces project an integrated look and feel. That aside, the layout of the units provided an excellent

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LEFT: Built-in furnishings that enhance the use of space are designed to blend into the interior

foundation for MRID to build upon. Large windows allow plenty of light into the space, and there was ample floor area for private offices.

possible. The transition from the cosy reception area to the bright, roomy main office provides a mood-lifting sensorial experience.

Picking up from HMC’s corporate colours, the reception area is furnished simply with customised bench seating in red. From the entrance, access to the main office is available from both ends of the reception area. All-white surfaces throughout the office serve as a blank canvas for oversized photographs of HMC’s projects.

MRID’s open layout for the office is one that encourages interaction, collaboration and communication. Staff members seated in the communal space can speak in person with their colleagues with ease. Just a few steps away are the private offices of upper management staff. Of note, these offices are fronted with glass partitions to signal open communication with the rest of the staff.

BELOW: Clear glass incorporated into the A Space for Interaction meeting room opens the For the office proper, the design team space up visually while providing sufficient privacy aimed to create a space that’s as open as


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Adding Dimension The well-planned space promotes efficiency, thanks to the utility area placed in a prime, central location. MRID then employed rigorous, disciplined lines and angles that further maximise the crisp, airy feel of the interior. In doing so, the whole look is a subtle nod to HMC’s exacting approach to its countless offshore projects completed over the years. Even though surfaces are clad in white, the office is far from cold. At the design stage, the team incorporated planters along windows and partitions for indoor plants. LEFT: Customised Well-appointed indoor greenery and warmfurnishings become an avenue for an artful display coloured carpeting soften the environment with organic lines, textures and colours. of photographs

Get Together Now In designing the meeting rooms, MRID provided spaces for anything from formal meetings to spur-of-the-moment discussions. These areas are placed along the perimeter of the office. A small discussion room with a table for four is situated within view of the reception area. A larger conference room accommodates eight persons. Even the pantry, dressed in vibrant red, becomes an informal setting for brainstorming. Notably, all these spaces provide visual flow to adjacent spaces. Whether in the form of narrow internal windows or full-height glass partitions, they reflect the company’s belief in openness and communication.


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VIM AND VIGOUR

Dynamic design elements and colours encapsulate the youthful energy of food and health supplements provider Cerebos Pacific


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CEREBOS PACIFIC

With its long history as a food and health supplements provider, Cerebos Pacific is a company that promotes health and vitality. These values are not only at the heart of the company’s business vision, but also the company’s passion in fostering a supportive working environment. For Cerebos, its employees are its ambassadors, and an energetic staff best reflects the company’s ethos. The company roped in MRID to rework its existing office with new spatial

requirements. Among them, the company wanted an additional meeting room and a new staff lobby, as well as a new office to accommodate its expanding team. The addition and alteration works were to be done to the existing facilities housed over three floors in China Square Central, which is located in Singapore’s bustling business district. The aim too was to give it a refreshed and dynamic feel to reflect the company’s branding focus. The look must be

LEFT: Bright colours and bold lines add vigour to transitional spaces RIGHT: The reception area dons corporate colours to project the company’s brand identity


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minimalist, yet also warm and open. Because it’s a live office, renovation works were done in phases. MRID’s main focus was to provide seamless integration between the new and existing offices. Promoting Communication A well-considered layout can do wonders for the everyday operations of a company. In addition to aesthetic aspects, MRID invested time and thought to practical matters, among which are seamless communication and workflow. Space is carefully allocated to all

departments. Each is placed strategically to enable productivity, efficiency and communication within and among departments. With new centralised service areas, such as copy area and tea points, all staff members enjoy better flow of movement to key areas. Mood Boosters By studying the company’s history and philosophies in depth, MRID expressed the design concept in curves and crisscross bands. These leitmotifs can be observed in various spaces. At the reception area, they


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sport the company’s corporate colours. Within office spaces, the dynamic lines take on other bright hues such as orange and green for that feel-good factor. “The curves and diagonal lines also represent excitement and the company’s philosophy of keeping in tune with modern times,” says Marc Kwok, Managing Director of MRID. Lively colours were introduced in other ways. Bands of colours such as blue and yellow across the partitions in the main

office lengthen the space visually. Either low partitions or partially glass-clad partitions ensure visual flow. At the same time, they provide enough privacy to encourage work focus. In all, the use of more glass is instrumental in the office’s open feel. Office with a View It’s important to note that generous windows along the perimeter are among this office space’s plus points. Natural light adds depth and comfort, balancing the

LEFT: Even compact areas could benefit from the depth and dimension provided by dynamic feature walls RIGHT: Workstations are equipped with sufficient worktop and storage space


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use of fluorescent lighting that’s typical in offices. Should there be harsh sunlight, vertical blinds installed are available to temper the brightness. The root of occupational hazards for office staff is computer work, which can result in eye strain, as well as back and neck pain, through long hours of sitting. When staff members need to take a break, they can do so in the pantry, where they can stretch

out and enjoy an unblocked view of the skyscrapers in the business district. Meeting rooms too are privy to this view. Here, folding doors allow meeting rooms, each with a ten-seater table, to be combined for town hall meetings. This corporate setting is lifted with the addition of vibrant orange bands. Overall, the refreshed spaces remarkably reflect the brands and markets covered by the global brand.

LEFT: Mid-backed chairs in the meeting rooms ease visual flow MIDDLE: Energising orange and lime green invigorate the pantry RIGHT: A cafĂŠ-style setting is given to the pantry


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ORIGAMI EXPERIENCE Dramatic features distinguish the premises of the event and experience marketing agency George P. Johnson


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The Japanese art of origami was the spark of inspiration for George P. Johnson (GPJ)’s office


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Branding to a company means everything. To George P. Johnson (GPJ), a top event and experience marketing agency, it is the company’s working ethos. It builds successful and innovative marketing programmes for the world’s most wellknown brands. For an organisation that reshapes consumer experiences and expectations, GPJ aims to always push the envelope of creativity to stay fresh and at the forefront of competition. The brief to MRID was to have a fitting design concept that could represent the

company’s versatility in meeting its clients’ branding objectives. Origami, the art of paper folding, was thus proposed to be at the heart of the interior design concept. A flat sheet of paper, which could transpire many different forms, becomes a succinct representation of GPJ’s ever-evolving business nature. MRID also had to keep in mind that the design is not only to appeal to the internal staff, but to visitors as well. Impressing their clientele is part of the business, and it’s paramount to set the right tone in terms of branding the space.


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LEFT: Angular forms and structures signify GPJ’s unconventionality in ideas RIGHT: A meeting room awash in yellow is situated close to the reception area


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Open Studio While some reception areas tend to keep every facility under wraps, GPJ’s reception area offers a bird’s eye view of the bustling office. An open ceiling, accentuated by cool blue lighting and rows of spotlights, culminates in a sleek and modern studiolike space. Hard to miss is the reception counter. The asymmetrical, monolithic form is striking and makes a strong reference to the origami concept. MRID utilised wood grain finish to soften the irregular lines. A cut-out

wedged between two half wall panels creates an engaging backdrop for the counter. With the open ceiling to counteract the low ceiling of the office, and the dark hues above as contrast, the reception area is one that’s sensuous and welcoming. Creativity Stations A space to foster creative minds calls for a collaborative setting where employees could exchange ideas. An open-plan layout with clean, simple lines swathed in natural light makes the perfect environment for

LEFT: Meeting rooms exude a cutting-edge ambience suited for GPJ’s business nature MIDDLE: To downplay cumbersome columns, MRID built informal discussion areas around them RIGHT: A glass front for the meeting rooms conveys a spirit of openness


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work and interaction. This is an area where staff members gather to engage in casual discussions. Adding more excitement to this informal setting is the placement of stools in bright tones. Here, the tables bear slanted legs much like folded paper. Strategic Planning With the meeting rooms and conference room placed in proximity to the main office and the reception area, staff and visitors alike don’t have to venture too far to get to their meetings. Compartmentalised and glass-enclosed, these rooms feel connected to the rest of the space. Still, they are

suitably confined to encourage focus and concentration. Backdrops in energetic yellow differentiate the rooms from the rest of the facilities. The unassuming look is shed when the foldable dividers are pulled away to reveal a convertible space. GPJ’s employees have the option of setting up one large space or two smaller areas to cater to their needs. Colourful Downtime Kooky colours and shapes converge in the pantry and breakout area. Staff can take a breather while they get comfortable with


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the variety of fun and informal seating here. Space is dedicated to a library of books and magazines. Booth seating spanning across a short width of the room provides a pleasant spot for staff to grab a quick meal or a cup of coffee. The nearby counter provides amenities like a coffee machine and ample storage for mugs and cutlery. With moveable furniture such as the lightweight lounge chairs and tables, the staff can play with the room to cater to

different events — anything from seminars to training sessions. The spacious and light-filled layout also deems it ideal as an extension of the conference room. GPJ is a company known for pioneering experiential marketing. And likewise, the new GPJ office walks the talk with its cutting-edge spatial experience that also celebrates its diversity and openness to innovation.


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LEFT: With the breakout space, the aim was to create a spacious, open feel RIGHT: Bookshelves surround a roomy lounge chair, therefore making better use of the space


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PLAYING PLANES

A collaboration-driven office for Corporate Travel Services is replete with innovative spatial features

Think of travel, and adventure, newness and fun come to mind. For a travel company like Corporate Travel Services (CTS), an office space evoking a spirit of freshness can do wonders for the morale of the company. As a company, CTS values its staff highly too. As such, its aspirations and wishes were all centred on the team. An open office would encourage interaction, engagement and collaboration. A lively and roomy space that can accommodate everyone during CTS’s

annual meetings is a must. In the words of the client, it must be “corporate but fun”. Importantly, staff members of CTS also come from different age groups. Therefore, the motivation was in balancing professionalism and catering to the staff’s needs. For MRID, generating ideas and spaces that encapsulate creative corporate experiences is a tenet of the firm. A ‘creative corporate experience’ is also one that strengthens a client’s


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CORPORATE TRAVEL SERVICES

Tall architectural partitions facing the main entrance provide privacy for the staff


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LEFT: The lift lobby bears the company’s logos and the cut-out of a folded paper plane BOTTOM LEFT: A professional-looking discussion room for visitors

corporate branding. This holistic concept is imaginative but does not compromise on practicalities or efficiency. The office that CTS took over was actually already fitted as a regular office. The space was gutted, providing a creative blank slate. As such, MRID was able to orchestrate the experience thoroughly and holistically.

BOTTOM RIGHT: Light flows easily above the partitions into this space Begin the Journey

For CTS, this focus is immediately observable upon arrival at the office. As CTS rarely receives external visitors here, there is no reception area. That is not to say the arrival lobby functions merely as a transitional space; quite an opposite scenario is created here.

Right from the lift lobby leading up to the office, a welcome wall, accompanied by the requisite company logos and a larger-thanlife folded paper plane, draws attention. Rendered white upon white, the paper plane offers the symbolism of the company “taking off to a higher ground”. Aptly aspirational for the travel company, this graphic is fittingly placed to inspire staff at the start and the end of each workday. On the same wall, a diagonal cut paralleling the ascent of the paper plane creates a sense of energetic uplift. The juxtaposition of sleek black-mirrored finish with the purity and subtlety of the white logo wall also injects drama into this space.


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A Sense of Connectedness Creating accessibility and connection were the design team’s main objectives at every stage of planning. The various corporate departments are placed strategically so that each one is in symbiotic spatial relationship to another. The design team also incorporated various communal and meeting spaces, including open discussion areas, copy and filing areas, all designed to be easily accessible by all staff. Visual connectivity is impressively well established; from any point in this office, one can see from end to end of the building floor plate.

All meeting and conference rooms are centralised. Spatially, the conference room occupies the centre of the office to be accessible by all. Symbolically, it functions as the ‘heart’ of the company where all staff gather. To further the idea of belonging and community, the design team placed highlight colours on the floor and ceiling as mirrored colour features, suggesting a sense of symmetry and enclosure. Notably, the conference room is designed to accommodate more people than the chairs set around the table. Bench seating is offered along the perimeter to accommodate additional people. If need

LEFT: Benches flank the conference table to make room for larger meetings RIGHT: Mini discussion areas are integrated into the communal office


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for a positive environment. The angles and diagonals first seen in the lift lobby are employed throughout. There are diagonal lines, skewed openings and For Work and Play Productivity and the staff’s well-being were angular furnishings that inject a sense of movement and dynamism. Loose, other key considerations for the design of the office. Enclosed offices are strategically moveable furniture maximise usage of the space, but also give flexibility for staff to located to let as much natural light in to form groups or casual meeting units. illuminate the entire office. be, the giant glass doors can be opened for town hall meetings.

A sense of energy and dynamism is maintained through a combined colour and graphic scheme. Upon the palette of mainly neutral background (white, grey and timber) are zesty accents of lime, blue and orange seen in the panelling and upholstery. These pops of colour activate the workplace and set the tone

Completing the staff-centric office are the breakout and pantry spaces. Here, there are entertainment and leisure zones created for darts, foosball, movie screenings and video games. All of which promote team bonding beyond work, and, not least of all, unequivocally fulfil CTS’s wish for a “corporate but fun” office.

LEFT: A bespoke glass showcase by MRID is a standout feature on its own RIGHT: The use of colours is meant to assist in rejuvenating the senses during breaks or informal discussions


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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.

MRID

Managing Director - Marc Kwok Design Director - Ronald Legaspi

CARPETS INTER

Global Innovation Director - Nat Harrison


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Marc Kwok, Managing Director, MRID Studio Ronald Legaspi, Design Director, MRID Studio

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PASSION FOR DESIGN Having been in the office design industry for more than three decades, Marc Kwok, Managing Director of MRID Studio, knows what it takes to give companies, large and small, effective workspaces. He shares his thoughts on MRID’s processes and how each project is a labour of love Q: Congratulations on your five-year milestone. Your company was founded in 2010. What are your thoughts on your company’s progress? A: Our company has grown steadily. My partner, Ronald, and I have our beliefs in tandem. We plan to grow the company slowly and steadily. Our main concern is to enjoy doing things right and to keep our passion for our work burning. From the initial design to final finishes, I would say nothing beats seeing satisfied clients at the end of every project, which means everything to us. Q: What drives your company? A: It has been evident that our passion has been one of the reasons for our success over the past five years. Big corporations such as Aberdeen Asset Management, Boskalis International, Heerema Marine Contractors and others had entrusted us with their offices. Ronald and I have both been in the office interior design field for decades. Our combined experience, plus our aim to build a strong and creative team, will surely benefit our clients in the long run. Moving forward, our ultimate aim is to extend our services to our neighbouring countries with the same passion.

“We practise a flexible and adaptive approach towards our clients. Proactivity is our shout out and handholding is our belief.” OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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Q: Tell us about your company. A: It’s an egalitarian and a flat organisation. We’ve created a family-oriented company with a harmonious environment that encourages objective and constructive communication among ourselves. While we work hard, we ensure that everyone has their own time for family and leisure. Work-wise, we practise a flexible and adaptive approach towards our clients. Proactivity is our shout out and handholding is our belief. Q: In terms of process, what would be your company’s strengths? A: First things first, we set up our project team. We believe in committing the right team for the job as early as possible, so as to set and finalise our plans and strategy for the success of the project. Various departments will represent different aspects of the project, including design, project management and cost control. It is our company’s policy to have all departments represented in any of our project gatherings or meetings. While our project team is performing the task, our

management team is constantly looking out for the project as well, making sure that the standards and our internal expectations are up to the mark. From the beginning of the project to the end and beyond handover, it is the same established team that will be assisting our clients with any required services. That’ll give the ease and smoothness of services required. All we want to have is a happy client at the end of the day. Q: Among the projects you’ve done, do you have a favourite? A: Every project is a labour of passion. It’s a stamp to mark what we can do. So it’s like saying one project is the best kid out of all my children (laughs). Each one has different joys and excitement, so it’s really difficult to pick my favourite project. We’ve done jobs with varying challenges in all aspects. These include architectural building plans, mechanical and electrical, fire protection, compliance to regulations for old and new building, and others. All have their own sets of challenges and rewards. Aesthetically speaking, we have done various designs and concepts. Every design is unique to its own. I love them all!


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Q: Having been in this industry for more than three decades, can you share the massive shifts you’ve observed in what companies look for in their office design? A: Companies are going from enclosed environments to open and interactive offices. Previously, employees were enclosed in rooms or high-panelled cubicles. Now, such as for our client Aberdeen Asset Management, offices are more open and interactive. Everybody sits in one type of workstation. Technology has also played a major role. Equipment is much smaller and slimmer. Connectivity options and the possibilities for interactions are boundless with solutions such as video conferencing and telepresence. These are also some of the major factors for having smaller desks and workplaces. Q: What are the other changing emphases? A: Alternative workplace solutions take place alongside sustainability measures in the workplace. Communal spaces

have also changed. From a factory-like canteen, we now have moved to themed breakout areas, café-style pantries and outdoorinspired activities within the workspace. Offices no longer have to be monotonous and gloomy. They are now brighter and more interesting. Q: What are your plans for the next five years? A: As a company, we’re always looking forward and being in tune with change. In the next five years, we see ourselves completing our cast of passionate and dedicated colleagues. It will be a very crucial and exciting period for us. Our core leaders will experience a leap in the roles and responsibilities so as to build upon what we have established. We see ourselves coming out of our cocoon and taking off to new heights. Simultaneously, we will take that opportunity to spread our wings beyond our shores where opportunities are also abundant.

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DESIGNING FOR THE FUTURE MRID Studio constantly stays abreast with changes in office design, resulting in a proactive approach in understanding the needs of corporations and employees. Design Director Ronald Legaspi chats with Office Concept about how people are at the heart of office design, whether in the present or future

Q: We are well into the 21st century, and we now know that companies and employees function differently today, as compared to a decade ago. How should companies go about identifying the specific factors they face? A: The first thing to do is to analyse their needs. Organisations and staff are different from one another, yet most offices look the same. So, aside from the image that their offices project, corporations need to keep in mind that the space must provide greater support for what they do. The ultimate objective is to have a place where staff members love to work and that the corporation benefits from the space. When everyone in the office is furnished with adequate support, tools, furniture and space, achieving the objectives of the corporations could be made easier. Q: There are Baby Boomers, Generation Y and Generation X employees. What makes each different? A: There are several distinct differences among the three groups. For example, Baby Boomers are committed and hardworking, yet there are common connotations such as resistance to change. Gen X workers are independent and open to change while Gen Y workers are known to be smart, creative and achievement focused.

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Q: How should office spaces cater to these groups within one office? A: Subject to the type of corporate client, whether a small enterprise, a startup or a well-established company, the setup can be ascertained depending on the direction or the managerial style of the company. MRID recognises the importance of each generation. Everybody plays a pivotal role in the success of each corporation. Each one of them relies on their specific knowledge and specialisation for the whole corporation’s engine to work. As a designer, our role is to provide a balanced and well-distributed space with fairness to each generation and to make sure that each need is met. Q: The percentage of Baby Boomers in the workforce is set to decrease in the next two decade. How does this affect the future of office design? A: The exit of the Baby Boomers would mean the entry of the Millenials. With the Millenials coming into the workforce, environments that are collaborative, flexible and with lots of

technical influences are still and will be in demand in the years to come. Millenials are used to these environments due to the environment that college and university days had given them. It is definitely a battle of interesting facilities for corporations, so as to attract the new generation to come. Q: Spaces like breakout areas, town hall spaces and discussion rooms are new trends in office design. Do you foresee these evolving in the next five years? A: Yes, they will be evolving. In fact, they will play a bigger and greater role in the workplace. Areas meant for breakout, town hall meetings, huddle corners and other means of alternative workplace solutions will be given a bigger share in the whole premises. They will likely become the centre of operation. Lifestyle-oriented concepts will become integral in these spaces. Also, cubicles and desks will be much fewer due to the type of workers coming in and, of course, technologies that are continuously evolving.


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WORKPLACE DESIGN SPECIALIST

“When everyone in the office is furnished with adequate support, tools, furniture and space, achieving the objectives of the corporations could be made easier.” Q: What other workspace features are essential to a company’s productivity and efficiency? A: A productive and an efficient workplace must locate workers in proximity to immediate support areas such as water and tea points, copy areas and filing spaces. We also believe in bringing nature into the office. And in creating enough visual stimulation through the use of colours, features and other design elements. The key is to provide various types of settings to the workplace to make workers more active and socially involved. Of course, proper lighting, acoustics, ergonomics and comfort must not be forgotten. Q: What are the challenges that office design companies experience while working on offices? A: Design can be a challenge when the needs, wants and budget are not in sync with one another. However, we have been successful in the past handholding our clients and bridging the gap between the wants, needs and budget. With lots of tools and our proactive approach, there wasn’t any issue

of discontentment. Often, clients were led to our roster of happy clients. Schedule and timeline can be a challenge at times as well. However, similarly, handholding and educating our clients have always led to the successful completion of our projects — with what we call the MRID way. Q: Given the above, what do you think are necessary for understanding the client? A: They are three things: lend them your ears, give them your sincerity in helping and stay proactive. I believe these are key to understanding and providing them with the best possible solution for their workplace needs. While we listen to the client’s wants, we also listen to what the building and the budget can offer. Upon listening to their needs, we will lay out the entire pluses and minuses of the various avenues to take. We don’t impose concept and style. We proactively exchange ideas and involve our clients to get the full benefits of understanding them. We believe in working very closely with the client. I would say we go by our mantra: “Good planning will lead to a good ending”.

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RAISING THE BAR ON CARPET DESIGN Nat Harrison has an extensive background in carpet design and product development for the commercial market. He graduated with a B.A. in studio art from Davidson College in North Carolina, USA and studied for one year at the UniversitÊ Paul Valery in Montpellier, France. Prior to joining Carpets Inter, which is part of Tai Ping Carpets International, he was Vice President of Design and Product Development for Mohawk’s commercial carpet brands, based in Georgia in the US. Prior to Mohawk, he was Director of Design and Product Development for Tandus and earlier in his career worked in design and product development for Mannington Commercial and Atlas Carpet Mills. He started his career as a designer at Lees Carpets when it was still part of Burlington Industries. He moved to Bangkok to join Carpets Inter and 1956 by Tai Ping in May 2010.

Nat Harrison, Global Innovation Director, Carpets Inter |

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“Speaking specifically about carpeting, the floor, particularly in open office plans and public spaces, is being used as a template on which to create large-scale graphic patterns by combining different solid textures and/or multicolor tile designs”.

Q: What do you think are the key drivers of the company’s success? A: Externally the primary driver to Carpets Inter’s success is providing a wide range of quality carpet solutions for our clients and partners: carpet tile, broadloom tufted carpet, Axminster and hand tufted carpets, which means we can supply the best options for a client’s specific needs rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. In addition, a focus on applied innovations that meet a market or environmental need and a dedicated workforce that emphasizes teamwork are the internal drivers. Q: What is your favourite part about designing carpets? A: Creating something new – it can be a new design, an idea of how to apply a design, a new way to use a machine, a tweak to a yarn to make it look different or perform better. I also enjoy working with a team of creative individuals and watching them grow and expand their own creative abilities. Q: What trends are you paying attention to in carpet designs right now? A: Among the macro trends, the ongoing homage to mid-20th century modern design and the minimalist aesthetic of Donald Judd and Mies van der Rohe continues unabated. Another major trend, more recent, is a softening of the commercial interior. In these cases the interior becomes a place where we can be comfortable even when we work long hours. The work environment becomes more home like, paradoxically, to help us be more productive. Speaking specifically about carpeting, the floor, particularly in open office plans and public spaces, is being used as a template on which to create large-scale graphic patterns by combining different solid textures and/or multicolor tile designs. The term graphic may be misleading because in some cases the effect can be quite subtle if the carpets tiles used are tonal and textural instead of high contrast. Either way the result is a less monolithic more patterned floor. Carpets Inter designed an application that helps designers create these larger scale floor patterns. It is called the 3D Carpet Sim. Q: Why did you develop the 3D Carpet Sim app for interior designers and end users? A: Flooring plays a significant role in the design of a space. Choosing the right carpet design and colour can be a complex process. A client’s ability to see a realistic visual representation of the carpet tiles in a typical commercial interior will make his or her decision a lot easier. Carpet Inter’s 3D Carpet Sim application is a virtual simulator that shows the client a preview of what the CI carpet tiles they select will look like on the floor. They can try as many options as needed to reach a decision. The application was developed for the iPad and the iPhone and is available for free downloading at the Apple Store. After installing the app, users can access the CI tile catalogue showing all current collections and products and select which tiles they would like to preview on the floor in the virtual room scene. By changing the carpet installation within the room, they can see how their selected design looks on the floor. Once they have decided on a product and layout they can order the tile samples selected or proceed to order the carpet for the installation. 3D Capet Sim is automatically updated when we add new products so the app always has Carpets Inter’s latest offerings.

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“... making beautiful products that will withstand the rigors of being walked on day after day and that will enhance the interior environment and the working life of the people in it”.

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Q: The application of 3D Carpet Sim is currently compatible with Apple platform devices; when will it launch on other platforms? A: We are in the process of developing the extended version of 3D Carpet Sim. This new version runs on the Windows PC platform which makes the tool available to many more users. Designers can install the app on their laptops as this tool will facilitate presentations to clients in a professional way. It should ultimately simplify the buying decision for the designer and client. The latest version of the app has a higher screen resolution and includes new features that enable the user to create a custom design for the floor using multiple tiles with different patterns, colors and even shapes such as rectangles and triangles. The latter shapes are made with a new cutting technique and are part of our Modern Craft custom floor design program. Q: How would you describe your design style? A: Quiet, deft, technical, and collaborative: a design style that enhances the aesthetics and psychic comfort of the interior environment and addresses suitability for use: floor performance, minimizing the environmental footprint and controlling costs. Q: What is the most important thing to remember in designing carpets for the commercial market? A: It is important to design for the people who will be occupying and using the space. This means making beautiful products that will withstand the rigors of being walked on day after day and that will enhance the interior environment and the working life of the people in it. In addition, we need to consider the cost of the goods and design marketappropriate products that fit the clients’ budgets. Q: From where do you typically draw design inspiration? A: Inspiration can come from anywhere if you are open to the world around you and within you: contemporary painting, architecture, tribal textiles, music and the experience of nature have all been sources of inspiration at one time or another. I also draw inspiration from the creative team of individuals I work with. Q: What do you believe is the definition of sustainability to designers today? Does the term go beyond simply being green and utilizing eco-friendly materials in projects? A: I believe that we must design things, be they projects, products or spaces, which are built to last. A product that doesn’t become obsolete or worn out and that has a long useful life is ultimately sustainable. Within that context we should use materials and resources that are readily renewable and reusable.


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CARPETS INTER - GLOBAL INNOVATION DIRECTOR

Q: What do you feel is the most important lesson that the next generation of designers needs to learn about sustainability? A: The next generation, be they designers or students of other disciplines, in general has a greater awareness of the climate issues we face globally. My advice would be to first and foremost do no harm – to the environment. This means living in a manner that conserves natural resources and focuses on designing sustainable products that will have a long useful life and that use rapidly renewable materials or reuse materials from the consumer or industrial waste stream. One does not always have the choice of materials or of the processes but this would be a goal to always keep in mind. Q: What is the greatest lesson you have learned in your career at Carpets Inter? A: I cannot point to a “greatest lesson” but after spending most of my career working in the US, developing the communication skills to work closely with many different nationalities and help bridge the gap between the different cultures we work with in our global company is gratifying. Q: What advice would you give to design students or those starting out in the carpet design field? A: Develop and refine your creative vision. Listen to others and learn to work as a team. Try out new ideas. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and when you do learn from them. Learn the technical aspects of carpet making: the fibers, the yarns and the machines. This will greatly increase your ability and value as a designer.

CREATE YOUR OWN FLOORING DESIGN Flooring plays a significant role in the design of a space. Choosing the right carpet design and colour is not an easy job. After seeing the sample catalogues and selecting the carpet pattern and colour, a client needs to see how a carpet looks on the floor. If the carpet can be viewed in a typical commercial interior to provide a realistic visual representation, this will enable the clients to consider and make their decision a lot easier. Nowadays, the trend of using multiple carpet tile patterns to create a unique flooring design makes the decision process even more difficult. Typically, our sales personnel takes an order back to our company and sends the request to our designers to create the tile flooring design in a room scene. The process will take a few days. The longer time this takes, the higher the chance of losing the business. But now with the 3D Carpet Sim by Carpets Inter, the process will be a lot easier and faster. It is Do-it-yourself tool!

Q: What do you consider to be your motto or design philosophy? A: To be open to new ideas, experiences and feedback and to apply what I learn to the design and product development process. And to never stop learning. www.carpetsinter.com

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FITTING INTERIORS

Discover the right fit & balance with careful material selection

FRITZ HANSEN | SERIES 7TM SPACE FURNITURE | POLDER SOFA KUSCH+CO | SERIES 1200 DUO KOKUYO | CAMPUS UP SCHIAVELLO | CASE STUDY ARTE COMO | NAVA ROSSO | ROSSOACOUSTIC PAD SCHIAVELLO | DESIGN CONVERSATIONS INTERFACE | CASE STUDY


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Series 7TM by Fritz Hansen

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SEVENTH HEAVEN

LEFT: Pictured here in classic black, Series 7 chair is truly a style icon. RIGHT: With four different bases on offer, the chair was created with utility in mind. TOP RIGHT: Coupled with a perfectly moulded veneer shell, the chair’s robust chrome steel legs facilitate maximum stackability. |

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CHAIR SERIES

SERIES 7™ | FRITZ HANSEN

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DUBBED THE WORLD’S MOST PERSONAL CHAIR, FRITZ HANSEN’S ICONIC SERIES 7 IS A PERFECTLY CUSTOMISABLE NUMBER WITH A LITTLE SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE.

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s the most sought-after stackable chair in design history, the Series 7TM chair is a true blue classic if the numbers are of any indication. Having sold seven million copies worldwide, the chair, famously designed by iconic Danish designer Arne Jacobsen for Fritz Hansen in 1955, has been appeasing design fans for six memorable decades. The unparalleled popularity of the Series 7 owes much to its inherent versatility and timeless craftsmanship. Featuring a bold triangular shell composed of pressure moulded sliced veneer, the stackable version of the chair is perched on a four-legged chrome steel base, giving rise to its sturdy yet pared down appearance. The chair’s shapely contours are undoubtedly its most provocative feature, prompting fans – namely artist and Fritz Hansen collaborator Tal R - to compare its eye-catching shell to a ‘woman’s sensuous curves.’ In commemoration of the chair’s 60th anniversary, the Danish artist also created a range of contemporary colours that nods to the Series 7’s famous silhouette by casting it in a new light. The newest edition of the chair includes a monochromatic version that shades the base and shell in the same colour, enabling it a more unified look. And with a selection of bases and shell accessories on offer, the Series 7’s endlessly interchangeable quality makes it an ideal fit in offices and living areas alike, cementing its status as a symbol of enduring style. www.fritzhansen.com

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LIQUID

A TRIBUTE TO ONE OF HOLLAND’S MOST FAMOUS NATURAL WONDERS, THE POLDER SOFA IS A SWIMMINGLY STYLISH ADDITION TO ANY SPACE.

INSPIRATION PICTURE: Spacious and utilitarian, the Polder sofa’s varied surfaces and unconventional structure are easy on the eyes as well as weary limbs.

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LOUNGE SEATING

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POLDER SOFA | SPACE FURNITURE

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cclaimed in her native Holland, Dutch designer Hella Jongerius has long derived creative inspiration from her birth country. Quirky yet sophisticated, her work is often conceived as thoughtful takes on social, cultural and aesthetic references deemed typically Dutch. The Polder sofa is one of the most celebrated products in Jongerius’ extensive portfolio, drawing a direct link with an idiosyncratic landscape feature that, for most, says a great deal about Holland’s precarious relationship with nature as well as its fascination with man-made natural typologies. Referring to tracts of land that have been reclaimed from sea by means of dykes and drainage canals, ‘polder’ is readily synonymous with flat surfaces and horizontal dispositions. These features are the perfect jumping point for the namesake sofa by Jongerius for Vitra. Available in XS and XL sizes, the unconventionally formatted piece exemplifies the designer’s penchant for marrying fun and functionality. A combination of varying sized cushions, the sofa offers a plethora of seating options, enabling one to lounge and position oneself at leisure. A carefully structured piece, it encourages an organic utility that nicely contrasts its framework. An eclectic selection of fabrics and colours brought to the fore with high-tech thread and buttons made of natural materials also gives Polder an added touch of personality. A sensible lounger-cum-statement piece, its punchy appearance is sure to be a welcome sight in waiting areas and living rooms. www.spacefurniture.asia

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PURE PERFECTION OFFERING A LITTLE OF EVERYTHING, THE ERGONOMICALLY SOUND SERIES 1200 DUO CONTRACT CHAIRS ARE COMPOSED OF SIMPLE YET POWERFUL LINES THAT SHOWCASE FUNCTION AND THE BEAUTY OF MINIMALIST FORMS.

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STACKABLE SEATING

SERIES 1200 DUO | KUSCH+CO

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efreshingly free of unnecessary aesthetic enhancements, the new 1200 Duo chair range from German furniture manufacturer Kusch+Co is something of a palate cleanser, visually speaking. Exuding equal parts function and clarity of vision, its clean, bare bones appearance conveys a combined feeling of ease and order. Aptly available in an array of colour options, the chair’s purist sensibility befits a variety of different settings; while modern architecture might have been a weighty design reference, the Series 1200 Duo can also turn up the heat in more embellished settings thanks to a well-defined, multilayered plywood foundation that enables pieces to hold their own anywhere. A series of cleverly conceived variations give the range an added flexibility. With optional upholstered seat and back pads or even an entirely upholstered seat shell at the ready, one can easily take style and comfort to another level with the range’s basic four-legged chairs and armchairs. The frame linking variation within the range is also noteworthy for those favouring customised arrangements; using time-tested clip linking elements, different variations can be seamlessly connected according to preference. Stacking is a given, owing to the range’s focus on lightweight construction and easy portability. Created for the four-legged variations, a removable, folding and swiveling tablet - suited for either right- or left-handed users - ensures that a miniature workstation is always at one’s fingertips. www.kusch.com

TOP: The Series 1200 Duo’s simple appearance belies it multifaceted sensibility. RIGHT: A convenient frame linking variation offers the option of connecting chairs without clumsy connectors.

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PULL UP A CAMPUS UP BRIMMING WITH BRIO, THE CAMPUS UP TASK CHAIR IS BEYOND COMFORTABLE.

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SEATING

CAMPUS UP | KOKUYO

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LEFT: Flexible and fashionable, the Campus Up series strikes a delicate balance between design, ergonomics and functionality. RIGHT: Featuring a low back and an open seat, the Campus Up can accommodate different work modes.

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pparently it’s no longer enough for task chairs to be cocoons of ergonomic comfort, flexibility and easy mobility. For the designers of the Campus Up, there is a new virtue to consider: that the chair’s design pays tribute to nature. Suitable for any active workspace that supports collaboration and creative teamwork, the Campus Up is designed to look like it’s leaning forward, to create the impression of mobility. The chair’s weight has been literally and visually reduced by creating an organically sculptured seat and back that are both slightly “scooped out.” Its gracefully drawn metallic frame runs into the back so that the plastic seat can pivot and follow the contours of a sitter’s own back. As the sitter reclines, the frame also flexes enough to raise the rear of the seat slightly, again following the sitter’s posture. The open seat design offers easy access while dual-wheel casters eliminate the need to scoot or carry the chair to another meeting location. Available in jaunty colours in addition to white and black, the Campus Up can be configured to accommodate different kinds of work and setting; choose from a selection of four different bases: five-blade, cantilevered legs that support the seat from behind, with or without perforated metal shelf, or four-legged. www.kokuyo-furniture.com / www.kokuyo.com

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WIRED FOR PICTURE: Amoebe chair by Vitra, supplied by Schiavello.

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LINKEDIN ASIA PACIFIC HQ

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CASE STUDY | SCHIAVELLO

WORKPLACE WELLNESS LINKEDIN ASIA PACIFIC HEADQUARTERS IN SINGAPORE IS A SUBTLE REFLECTION OF THE REGION AND AN OFFICE DEFINED BY INTERCHANGEABLE SPACES.

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TOP RIGHT: 101 chair by Schiavello; Prismatic table by Vitra, supplied by Schiavello. TOP LEFT: Krossi electric height adjustable and fixed height workstations with System 30 panel by Schiavello. BOTTOM LEFT: Krossi workstation by Schiavello.


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CASE STUDY | SCHIAVELLO

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hen LinkedIn, the biggest online professional-networking service, relocated their Asia Pacific Headquarters to prime office space in the financial district, they wanted something special; a space that would attract and retain the best talent. Their largest space in the Asian region, the two level occupancy in the MBFC building is filled with textured layers to delicately reflect Asia in a modern way. Designed by M Moser Associates, the interior features many symbolic references to Chinese opera, shop houses, peacocks and flower etchings. Also paramount was creating multi-purpose spaces that would provide a multitude of alternative options to collaborate. Along with individual 120 degree workstations, extensive audio visual capabilities allow spaces to become interchangeable. Cafe areas can turn into lecture rooms, while reception and training rooms can combine to create a larger space for formal cocktail events.

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“Schiavello ticked all the boxes. Quality, usability, price, lead times, delivery and support, all scored highly. We love the product, we liked the people and we look forward to an ongoing relationship”. Nirmala Srinivasa, Associate Director of Design, M Moser Associates.

>> The diversity of the Schiavello product range provides solutions for these various areas. Over 300 electronically height adjustable Krossi workstations and fixed height Krossi management desks were installed for their ease and usability. Humanscale’s Freedom Headrest chairs are used by individuals at workstations and Liberty side chairs by visitors. Meeting rooms are filled with over 100 ergonomically designed Liberty chairs and Vitra’s AC4 leather chairs create sophisticated comfort in boardrooms. Amoebe, Slow and Schiavello’s 101 chairs provide playful options for flexible working areas and Vitra’s Prismatic tables support break out areas. Executive Alto meeting tables are a sophisticated option for boardrooms in the front of house. www.schiavello.com

TOP LEFT: Alto Meeting Tables by Schiavello and Liberty Chair by Humanscale. Supplied by Schiavello. LEFT: Krossi workstation by Schiavello, Liberty side chairs & Freedom Task Chair by Humanscale. Supplied by Schiavello. TOP RIGHT: Alto Meeting Tables by Schiavello and AC4 leather chair by Vitra. Supplied by Schiavello.


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CASE STUDY | SCHIAVELLO

LINKEDIN ASIA PACIFIC HQ LOCATION MBFC Tower 2, Singapore

COMPLETED November 2014

AREA 56 000 sqf

PRODUCTS Krossi electric height adjustable & fixed height workstations with System 30 panel, 101 chair, Alto meeting table.

DURATION 9 weeks PROJECT TYPE Furniture PROJECT MANAGER Cushman and Wakefield

SUPPLIED THROUGH SCHIAVELLO Vitra - AC4 leather chair, Amoebe chair, Slow chair and Prismatic table. Humanscale - Freedom task chair, Liberty chair, Liberty side chair.

DESIGNER M Moser Associates OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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STYLISH, VERSATILE SPACE SAVERS THE NAVA COLLECTION OFFERS PRACTICAL DESIGN ELEMENTS THAT ENCOURAGE EMPLOYEES TO FIND THEIR OWN IDEAL WORKSPACES.

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TOP: The Nava stackable chairs add a decorative punch to a room, thanks to their elegant silhouette and striking seat pads.

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OPEN COLLABORATION SYSTEM

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NAVA | ARTE COMO

TOP: Quick-connect glides can easily gang up the Nava chairs for neat arrangement in a straight line. LEFT: The Nava Meet, the Nava hourglass stool and the Nava Box coffee table converge seamlessly to form a collaborative workspace. BOTTOM: The Nava chairs can be stacked, 25 at a time, on separate dollies for hasslefree storage and mobility.

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o one has to tell the designers at Oasis Furniture about the virtues of stackable chairs. Not only are stackable chairs one of the most versatile pieces of furniture any office can own, they are also light and easy to move around, add a decorative zest to any room, and can, of course, be easily stacked and stowed away when not in use. The Nava Lounge, Nava Meet and Nava High, the company’s trio of new stackable chairs, aim to be more. Together with the other cohorts in the Nava collection – the Nava hourglass stool, Nava Box, and lounge table – this informal furniture grouping is pitched as the ideal solution to creating a collaborative workspace with constant low-level hubbub: people in motion, gathering into small groups and experiencing chance encounters. A hybrid of stripped-down geometry and clean-lined surfaces, the Nava chairs, in a single gesture, are a unity of form and function with comfort, durability and good looks in mind. The designers have kept the lines simple and minimal by making them out of rotation-moulded polyethylene, a material that is strong and lightweight. The idea is to create chairs that are understated and visually light to complement any contemporary workplace setting. www.arte-como.com / www.oasis.com.my

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ACOUSTIC COMFORT

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CEILING & WALL SYSTEM

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ROSSOACOUSTIC PAD | ROSSO

THE NEW ROSSOACOUSTIC PADS ARE NOT ONLY EXTREMELY GRACEFUL BUT ALSO HIGHLY EFFICIENT SOUND ABSORBERS.

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ight meets acoustics – this motto stands for the growing together of the Nimbus (light) and Rosso (acoustics) brands in high-quality architecture, in particular in modern open-plan offices. The Nimbus Group from Stuttgart has now developed a new acoustically highly effective ceiling and wall system: the Rossoacoustic PADs. They are lightweight, visually appealing sound absorbers in the highest sound absorption class and they can also be combined with Nimbus LED luminaires. The result is a palpable improvement in acoustic comfort in a harmonious working environment. A holistically planned office plays a major role in creating a sense of well-being, a fact that is especially true for people working in open-plan office who frequently suffer from high levels of noise. This is an issue that has occupied the Nimbus Group for ten years now – and it has developed numerous solutions under its Rosso and Rossoacoustic brands aimed at creating a pleasant acoustic working environment.

>> TOP: Rossoacoustic PADS offer diversity in form and colour with their characteristic soft embossing. LEFT: Wall games: Rossoacoustic PADs can also be easily mounted vertically as wall absorbers. OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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LEFT: Individual acoustics solutions in terms of forms and colours: Rossoacoustic PADs are available in six colours. BOTTOM LEFT: In rhythm with Nimbus LED modules: the similarity in the appearance of Nimbus LED luminaires and Rossoacoustic PADs allows holistic planning. BOTTOM RIGHT: The colours of the Rossoacoustic PADs are inspired by nature. Here the circular PADs in grey dawn (light grey) and nightfall (dark blue).


CEILING & WALL SYSTEM

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TOP: Rossoacoustic PADs are available in the BASIC (sound absorption class B) and PLUS versions. The PLUS version has an additional absorber fleece on top. This puts the Rossoacoustic PAD in sound absorption class A.

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ROSSOACOUSTIC PAD | ROSSO

SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN ROOM ACOUSTICS In its new Rossoacoustic PADs, the enterprise is now presenting a new type of solution that can be either suspended from the ceiling or fastened to the wall. The lightweight, circular or rectangular acoustic elements are available in various muted colours or plain white. Being sound absorbers in the highest sound absorption classes, they make a significant contribution to improving room acoustics and effectively counteract acoustically hard surfaces. At just a few millimetres thick, they come across as extremely graceful when suspended from the ceiling. Planners pursuing a holistic approach are also enthusiastic about another special feature of the new absorbers: due to their formal structure, Rossoacoustic PADs can be harmoniously combined with Nimbus LED lighting systems. Should you so wish, you can obtain a suitable lighting and acoustics solution from a single source, so to speak. MATERIALITY, COLOURS, AND AESTHETICS Thanks to their fabric surface – a special acoustic fleece with an embossed texture – Rossoacoustic PADs make a soft impression; an intended contrast to the surfaces in modern architecture, which are usually acoustically hard. At the same time, the eye is surprised by the air of precision exuded by the individual acoustic elements, which are available in circular or rectangular versions of varying dimensions. They can be suspended from graceful steel wires or fastened to the wall like an abstract painting. The latter option is a perfect alternative when Rossoacoustic PADs are used in buildings whose ceilings are the subject of a preservation order. In both application situations, the elements convey the impression of floating lightness and lend the interior something of a playful touch. Dietrich F. Brennenstuhl, architect, founder and CEO of the Nimbus Group, knows what is important to planners: “Due to the similarity in their appearance, Rossoacoustic PADs open up a great many design options that always create a homogenous look on any ceiling – whether freely arranged or positioned in a strict pattern,” he explains. Moreover, the elements can be used to accentuate specific zones in a room as well as to create individual rooms with the six available natural colours – including grey dawn (light grey), far mountain (blue) or yellow field (yellow). www.rosso-acoustic.com

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EMPOWERING EMPLOYEES TO CO-CREATE WORKSPACE |

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SINGAPORE INDESIGN 2015

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DESIGN CONVERSATIONS | SCHIAVELLO

BOTTOM: Singapore Indesign Intimate 2015 ‘Work Life: The Culture of Workplace Strategy’ discussion.

A NEW APPROACH THAT EMPOWERS EMPLOYEES TO CO-CREATE THEIR WORKSPACE MAY OFFER THE KEY TO INCREASING JOB SATISFACTION, EFFECTIVENESS AND PRODUCTIVITY ACROSS MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES.

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“If you want to design a workspace to attract and retain talent, you need to understand what that talent values. Do they value autonomy, work-life integration, trust, sustainability, team work, privacy, or even fun? Workspaces can be designed for all these things. In addition, successful workspace supports employees’ tasks and increases their effectiveness.”

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ecently published by Schiavello and co-authored by Keti Malkoski and Dr. Jacqueline Vischer, who have backgrounds in applied psychology, The Power of Workspace for People and Business emphasises the importance of incorporating employees’ experience. “There is an implicit ‘deal’ between employee and employer that gives workspace its symbolic power. We call this agreement the ‘sociospatial contract’,” say Dr Vischer. The book explains how employees’ functional comfort can be measured and the results applied to workspace strategy and change. Workers are the experts on performing their jobs. The authors argue that this knowledge capital can be usefully applied to creating the spaces where they perform their jobs. “If you want to design a workspace to attract and retain talent, you need to understand what that talent values,” says Malkoski. “Do they value autonomy, work-life integration, trust, sustainability, team work, privacy, or even fun? Workspaces can be designed for all these things. In addition, successful workspace supports employees’ tasks and increases their effectiveness.” Based on surveys of employee needs and values, Australia Post redesigned its Sydney headquarters. The result saw the successful transformation of a traditional office building into an open environment with shared spaces for collaboration, meeting and focused work. “Our business is all about connecting people and supporting their communication needs,” says Australia Post chief operating officer Ewen Stafford. “We wanted to create an environment that would facilitate connections – both within the building and with the surrounding community.” That integral sense of community and connection was augmented by a new glazed atrium, foyer, café and meeting places around the entrance of the Cleveland street building. “Workspaces need to promote communities and connect people,” say the authors. “They also need to foster feelings of belonging and purpose. They must also support the range of tasks that people are doing and tools that they use.” The authors’ experience has taught them that in all organisations, incorporating the psychology of workspace is a primary factor in the successful workspace change.


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DESIGN CONVERSATIONS | SCHIAVELLO

FIVE KEY TRENDS IN WORKSPACE STRATEGY AND CHANGE Sit-stand work points and retreat spaces are among five key trends named by the authors of a new book on workspace strategy and change in Australia published by Schiavello. Authors Keti Malkoski and Jacqueline Vischer have backgrounds in Applied Psychology. Their book points to five major workspace trends that respond to the changing nature of work. 1. Furniture That Encourages Movement An increasing amount of evidence links prolonged sedentary behaviours at work to chronic back pain and more serious illnesses, as well as to psychological stress. Mobile and flexible working trends, in addition to sit-stand work points, encourage people and teams to get out of their seats and move around during the day, leading to improved health and wellbeing. “Movement is a key to better health and improved effectiveness at work,” say the authors. 2. Chameleon Furniture: Adapting Space To Tasks Workspace furniture that is flexible and can be customised allows teams working on different projects to set up the best possible work environments – when they are empowered to do so. “Employees are more satisfied when they have some control and choice over their workspace, which also improves team morale,” say the authors. 3. Degrees Of Separation: Spaces For Teamwork Focus And Retreat The trend of blending open-plan workspace with other areas for concentrated work now includes provision for relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. Dubbed ‘serenity spaces’ in the US, these retreat spaces allow workers to quieten minds that get clogged by multi-media multitasking. “Modern workers need privacy and respite from media overload,” say the authors.

“Companies spend a lot of money on surveys before ICT upgrades and are now realising the same benefits apply to redesigning workspaces,”

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“At work we see this manifested both physically and psychologically. Employees experience stress when in an adversarial relationship with noise, furniture, privacy and other design elements. Stress is costly to organisations and can be avoided by designing environments that support work.”

>> 4. Employee Feedback For Workspace Change Every business and work environment has different design needs which change as technology evolves Surveys that collate employee feedback on workspace needs are increasingly popular as a tool for cost-effective investment in design. “The book discusses how to measure functional comfort as a method for diagnosing how well workspace supports workers’ tasks” say the authors. “Companies spend a lot of money on surveys before ICT upgrades and are now realising the same benefits apply to redesigning workspaces,” say the authors. Employee feedback has already been adopted by many leading organisations. Engineering firm Norman Disney and Young found measurable benefits after a workspace redesign based on employee feedback. 5. Design For Different Needs And Values Different organisations do different types of work that need to be supported by different types of space. Standardisation is not always a cost-effective approach to workspace design – one size does not fit all. “Knowing the values of your employees is crucial to good workspace design,” say the authors. “If you want to design a workspace to attract and retain talent, you need to understand what those people value. Do they value autonomy, work-life balance, trust, sustainability, team work, or even fun?” “Knowing how they work ensures supportive workspace design and greater employee effectiveness” say the authors.

WHY OUR PHYSICAL WORKING ENVIRONMENTS ARE THE KEY TO HEALTH, WEALTH AND HAPPINESS “Design is more than aesthetics; it has a direct impact on how we feel, think and behave at work. When executed strategically, workspace design provides relief, ease and renewal,” says Malkoski. “At work we see this manifested both physically and psychologically. Employees experience stress when in an adversarial relationship with noise, furniture, privacy and other design elements. Stress is costly to organisations and can be avoided by designing environments that support work.” Many types of work, particularly office work, are characterised by less physical activity and more time in front of a computer. The average office worker spends 80 per cent of their work hours sitting, and it is estimated that people spend around 80,000 hours (or nine years) seated over the course of their working life. “Sedentary behaviours are associated with a range of negative health outcomes including musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes caused by repetitive overuse. Such disorders make up 44 percent of compensation cases and account for 15-22 percent of workplace sick leave in Australia,” says Professor David Dunstan, Head of the Physical Activity laboratory at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute. Alfred Health has led research into the perceived health benefits, as well as the practical application, of sit-stand workstations with positive results. “More than 100 employees at Alfred Health received a sit-stand workstation and after 12 weeks, average sitting time was already reduced from 91% of the working day to 54%. Staff noted multiple benefits, including improved health and wellbeing, greater concentration or focus, greater productivity, reduced pain and discomfort


SINGAPORE INDESIGN 2015

DESIGN CONVERSATIONS | SCHIAVELLO

BOTTOM: Part of the Singapore Indesign Intimate 2015 two-day event saw Schiavello Principal – People and Culture, Keti Malkoski, participate in ‘Design Conversations’, where she joined a panel of industry leaders for ‘Work Life: The Culture of Workplace Strategy’ discussion.

and reduced fatigue,” says Alfred Health’s Lead for Population Health & Health Promotion, Kirstan Corben. Broader building design can also offer more mobility to occupants by activating transitional spaces – such as accessible stairs and attractive circulation paths – and providing fitness rooms and classes. Employers are exploring ways to encourage physical activity both by integrating furniture such as sit-stand workstations that encourage posture change and through workspace layouts that encourage mobility. For example, health and wellbeing can be improved by strategies such as brainstorming sessions on whiteboards and collaborative workspaces where participants stand. The Power of Workspace for People and Business provides a guide to implementing successful workspace change. The process involves senior management buy-in, employee input and the implementation of policies and procedures that support dynamic work practices. “We have found workspace change management and ‘cocreation’ with employee participation to be an essential component of successful workspace,’ say the authors. www.schiavello.com

ABOUT THE AUTHORS Keti Malkoski is an organisational psychologist who has consulted to many of the largest companies in Australia in the areas of workspace strategy and change. She is currently Principal – People and Culture at Schiavello. Dr Jacqueline Vischer is an environmental psychologist and world expert on workplace psychology and design. She has written more than six books, taught at major universities in Canada and the US and advised governments and corporations around the world on workspace design, change and productivity.

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BANKING ON A SLEEK FOUNDATION |

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CARPET TILES | INTERFACE

THIS PICTURE: The natural stone patterns of RawTM provide a soft contrast to the sleek lines in the VIP client centre.

WITH SHARP CLEAN LINES AND A TOUCH OF NATURE-INSPIRED DESIGNS, THE HEAD OFFICE BUILDING OF THE FUKUOKA FINANCIAL GROUP IS A CLASSIC BLEND OF STYLE AND ELEGANCE.

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n the heart of the Kitakyushu city in Fukuoka, Japan, stands a simple yet impressive building put together with tall panels of glass and stone panels across its façade. The head office building of the Fukuoka Financial Group in Kita-Kyushu carves a strong presence in this city, with it straight lines and sharp edges. Its mono-toned colour scheme both outside and in, commands a corporate identity that is both serious and assuring. A fitting attribute for a corporation whose slogan is to be your bank of choice! Kaoru Tomozawa from Nikken Space Design Ltd., who designed the interior of this space, was given one brief — to create a design which is unique to the region of Kita-Kyushu, and one that would be appropriate as the building hub there. And that is just what he did. “I recognized Interface as a remarkable brand/ manufacturer, and they just launched Urban RetreatTM at that time. By taking in something superior & new, the design gained the essence of a hub building,” explained Tomozawa. Paying tribute to the area, wooden louvers in the VIP lounge walls resemble Kokura brocade, a revived traditional hand-woven fabric, representing colours of Kitakyushu. As sleek as this building was on the outside, this essence shined through to the interiors as well. The sharp clean lines transit from the outer walls into the building. This is accentuated along the walkways and client areas with Interface’s wood-inspired style “Above BoardTM” in a beautiful grey.

>> THIS PICTURE: RawTM reflects the natural patterns of the ceiling, while Urban Retreat brings out the feature area with its bright neutral tones. LEFT: Urban Retreat’s key design feature - organic transitions - create an area of interest.


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“I recognized Interface as a remarkable brand/manufacturer, and they just launched Urban Retreat at that time. By taking in something superior & new, the design gained the essence of a hub building.” Kaoru Tomozawa, Nikken Space Design Ltd.

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“Compared to other companies’ products, Interface’s products were superior in design and had the reliable durability.”

TOP: Above Board in differing shades feature the beautiful nuances of natural wood.

Mr Yoshimoto from Fukuoka Bank, Assistant to Director in the Facility Management Group

TOP RIGHT: The break-out meeting area in the client centre lined with Above Board. RIGHT MIDDLE: VermontTM’s natural stone patterns cover the meeting rooms, while the simple and sleek Above Board lines the corridors. BOTTOM RIGHT: The blue and white tones of the customer centre blend in with the natural greys of Above Board.


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CARPET TILES | INTERFACE

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>> “Although the key of its interior is monotone”, says Tomozawa, he created a contemporary style by adding natural materials. This is where the organic patterns of the Interface styles really came into play. Vermont and Raw from Interface bring the quality of natural stone and concrete with their varied tone-on-tone patterns. These reflect the differing shades and inflections of the stone walls and ceilings. FEATURE PRODUCT OF THE PROJECT What took the spotlight was the VIP customer area. Tomozawa used the organic patterns from Interface’s global product range - “Urban Retreat”. With transitions of colour and texture emulating that of real moss and stone, Urban Retreat gave a special touch to this feature area, complementing the hard lines of the interior with its soft curves and earth-toned hues. In addition to their design-rich flexibility, they create chose Interface because of their company policy towards sustainability stating examples like its 100% non-virgin carpet fibre, recycled from commercial fishing nets and its mission to eliminate carbon emissions. The attributes of the Interface modular tiles did not just appeal to the designer but were well-loved by the clients from the bank as well. Kouji Yoshimoto from Fukuoka Bank, Assistant to Director in the Facility Management Group, mentioned that, “compared to other companies’ products, Interface’s products were superior in design and had the reliable durability.” The designs match up with that of the building, the tiles have good underfoot comfort and they create a nice atmosphere in the bank. Because of its organic designs and varied patterns, the natural ranges from Interface may have been a little difficult for both Tomozawa and the Yoshimoto to visualise. However, it was certain that they both loved the finished look of the carpets. Tomozawa ordered several sample tiles, and did the simulations over and over. The final product was a charm, as Yoshimoto says he felt even more satisfaction seeing the carpets installed in its full splendour. When asked if he would recommend these tiles to anyone, Yoshimoto replied, “Absolutely, yes!” He went on to say, “The whole group of us suggest Interface, and are considering Interface’s products for other branches depending on each building. It’s helpful to have a variety of designs when choosing products.” But he jokes that there are too many nice designs to select from. We think that is definitely a good problem to have! Interface has released a total of three global product ranges since Urban Retreat was launched in 2013. Their carpet designs are largely inspired by nature and the principles of biophilia, which study man’s innate connection with nature. This year they launched a brand new global range presenting their latest in patterns, texture and performance, and supported by their belief in biophilia: “We know that carpet tile can’t change the world, but it can inspire those who will.” www.interface.com

OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


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

BRISTOL

PASSION FOR PERFECTION SHOWCASES 2015 COLLECTION

SCHIAVELLO

SCHIAVELLO & BENE PARTNERSHIP LAUNCH PARTY


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BRISTOL THEME:

PASSION FOR PERFECTION

VENUE:

SIME DARBY CONVENTION CENTRE, MALAYSIA

WEBSITE: BRISTOL.COM.MY

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SCHIAVELLO THEME:

SCHIAVELLO & BENE PARTNERSHIP LAUNCH PARTY

VENUE:

SCHIAVELLO SHOWROOM IN MELBOURNE, BRISBANE AND SYDNEY

WEBSITE: SCHIAVELLO.COM

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SCHIAVELLO

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SPOTLIGHT

THE APPLE BLOSSOMS

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onnie Ford has said of his artistic vision: “My landscapes take the viewer on a journey — a journey which captures the essence, rather than a representation, of a scene. Nature never ceases to amaze with her subtlety and vibrancy, her density and variety of texture, her attention to detail, her sense of space.” Indeed Ronnie Ford’s exquisite paintings prove that he has been tremendously successful in evoking the multifarious qualities of nature, which are manifested in different places and at different times. Pommiers en Fleurs, is Ford’s expression of his love for springtime through the depiction of vibrant yellow crops that burgeon rapidly across the land, and through enhancement of rhythm with the growth of Apple Blossoms, pure in white continued into the horizon. Snaking through the canvas is the one point perspective that leads to a farmhouse with warm red roof characterizing the purifying life alongside the nature. The delicacy of spring trees is being enriched by the presence of always summer trees that within their verticality resemble a sense of protection. His painting is bathed in iridescent light that brings all elements to life, in a way that as a whole they seem so perfect, so unblemished to be true. Yet one never feels they lacks reality; for they replicate our fantasies of nature with the most sincerity. Ronnie Ford, Pommiers en Fleurs, 80 x 120 cm, mixed media on canvas www.odetoart.com | | | | | |

OFFICECONCEPT.ASIA


Office Concept V8N3  

Experience Fuels Artistry At MRID Studio

Office Concept V8N3  

Experience Fuels Artistry At MRID Studio

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