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S CONSTRUCTION: A FACTORY OFFICE

The workspace of steelworks and construction company S Construction turns an office and a manufacturing area into unlikely bedfellows, writes Iliyas Ong.

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BY Janice Seow

March 10th, 2015


Bringing together a corporate office and a factory floor under one roof can be a tricky affair. Yet the workspace of Bangkok-based steelworks and construction company, S Construction, accomplishes that with the sophistication not typical of other firms in its industry.

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S Construction commissioned Metaphor Design Studio to adapt a steel factory into a space suitable for a mix of disparate programmes: storage, offices and a manufacturing area for small metal parts. The interior design and architecture practice had to segment the 200sqm factory while maintaining a singular design language, one that was appropriately informed by masculinity and an American industrial sensibility.

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Metaphor cracked the office brief by creating a small building within the factory. The wooden structure, perched on a mezzanine level, separates the office from the heavy equipment that litters the manufacturing floor. A diagonal motif runs throughout the building—the facade of the wooden structure, the criss-cross of various beams, wall inlays, chair legs, balusters, and so on—to reconcile office with factory.

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Inside, the office is decked with distressed leather furniture, desks with raw wooden surfaces and paraphernalia that seem as though they were plucked from a bygone century. The charcoal-coloured palette of the facade is echoed internally; everything from the fittings and rafters to the desks and shelves are lavished in black. It is what the office of an industrialist with the taste of a modern aesthete would look like.

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To temper the dark palette and prevent the space from appearing overwhelmingly claustrophobic, Metaphor installed several glass walls and kept a few walls, ceilings and floors in pale natural wood. The studio also carved out additional openings on the building’s carapace to allow more sunlight to filter in. And a combination of fluorescent strip lights and warm spotlights ensures S Construction’s home is as comfortable as it is functional.

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These interiors gel well with the rest of the factory, where Metaphor retained most of the facilities but made a few aesthetic adjustments to keep to the office’s contemporary style. For example, a few rails and beams on the lower level were given a copper-coloured finish while the stairs leading to the office have aluminium grilles as its balustrade.

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The S Construction project was a first for Metaphor, whose work tends to be in F&B, hospitality and residential sectors. But a signature style has emerged, one composed of restrained colour palettes, curious ornaments, an emphasis on natural wood, and vintage-inspired furnishings. For the three-year-old studio, this project was a successful exercise in claiming a new industry on which to express its flair.

Metaphor Design Studio
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