Hong Kong based architectural firm, CL3 gives the Education First’s office a bright facelift and a modern layout tailored to the needs of the company. Christie Lee writes.
Education First (EF) tasked CL3 Architects to give their Hong Kong office a facelift. Aside from physical needs, EF now occupies an entire floor rather than half of it. The world famous Swedish educational institute also wanted the revamped space to reflect the transformation of their Hong Kong office from a mere salesroom to a convivial space that encourages discussion and interaction.
Located amid the bustling Causeway Bay with enviable views of the Kowloon Peninsula and Victoria Harbour, the sprawling 20,000 square feet space comprises of a mini auditorium, a boardroom, soundproof meeting rooms and offices.
Taking inspiration from university campuses, the interiors are done up in a palette of beige, grey and bright hues of green blue and yellow. The colours pair seamlessly to the salvo of designer furniture from the likes of Vitra, Knoll and Hay dotting the venue. “Education First is a young and energetic brand, so the bright colours make sense,” explains William Lim, founder and director of CL3.
Upon entering the premises, visitors are greeted by an oval-shaped communal area, which doubles up as a mini auditorium that seats up to 100 people when the occasion beckons. “As seminars and lectures are only held once every fortnight, there wasn’t a need to carve out a space specifically for that purpose.” When not used as an auditorium, the cosy space provides an opportunity for staff and visitors to mingle and chat over lunch or coffee.
Technology has changed the way companies work – confidential documents are now often stored as computer files rather than shelved, thus leading to a drop in the demand for private areas within offices. At EF’s Hong Kong office, individual offices along the north-facing windows give way to open seating arranged in a manner akin to a campus-style cafeteria. Encased within a glass box, the boardroom enables a capacity of 40. Alluding to the overall modern aesthetic, all general office and lounge areas are decked out in Bolon flooring.
Exposed pipes and rough textures combine for a nitty-gritty industrial aesthetic, in addition to being a smart manner to increase the sense of space. “All the older buildings were designed with a dropped ceiling. To achieve an airier space, we had to re-arrange the fire protections, AC ducts, not to mention, the coordination with the landlord. I’m glad it all worked out,” Lim says.