Perhaps the singular bane of every office worker's existence is to be holed up in a cubicle-like working environment. Located in the attic of a converted industrial building, the new Shanghai office of branding consultancy firm Flamingo defies expectations from the onset. The challenge facing Chinese architectural duo Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu then, was to pay tribute to the unique construct, while conceiving an open plan office that was high on both style and function.
Palette-wise, the interior is spare simplicity at its finest. Swathed in black and shades of grey, the main office area accommodates a series of workstations. Concrete partitions are strategically – and subtly – placed to give a sense of intimacy and define walking routes.
Yet, the space is not just about cold, hard concrete. ‘House-shaped’ volumes, awash in light beige tones, are installed in the space, their pitched roofs mirroring the unique structure of the building when seen from the outside. Covered in black metal mesh, the clerestory windows allow natural light to flow in. Meanwhile, the whitewashed bamboo cladding exudes warmth, while the exposed bulb lamps add to the industrial vibe.
Facing the workstations are work pods, a boardroom, and meeting and observation rooms. Located on the mezzanine level and accessible via a narrow staircase, employees can enjoy contemplative moments at the breakout area. Meant as a place for staff to relax, recharge and exchange ideas in an informal setting, it is fitted with windows with views of offices below.
To cater to the need of a multi-functional workplace, glass with varying degrees of opacity – clear and frosted – are put in place. One-way mirrors are also installed between the observation and participation rooms where research activities take place. Located at the far end of the office, the exhibition area is distinguished by a lowered suspending ceiling.
Neri & Hu