In Liquidnet’s new Hong Kong office, there is no reception desk to greet guests. Instead, one immediately steps into a generous open greeting area featuring clusters of lively Cherner chairs, Saarinen tables and Marco Maran X3 stools in what is actually a meeting cum pantry space.
It’s a deliberate move by the global institutional trading network and the design team it hired to not only create a welcoming atmosphere, but to also take advantage of the non-conventional floor plate. Housed on the entire 24th storey of the newly completed Swire building at 28 Hennessey Road in Wanchai, the circular footprint, while not exceptionally large at 5,000sqft, presents dynamic design opportunities.
Rather than chopping up the space, work desks and meeting rooms surround the aforementioned open greeting area cum pantry. “The layout that was adapted for the space enables the lift doors to open directly into the office, providing clear views directly out to the Hong Kong harbour and beyond,” shares William Forwood, Managing Director of project and cost management company Merx. This encourages organic staff movement about the office, which in turns promotes communication between teams. Echoing this fluidity are features such as the curving Barisol ceiling linked to the custom-made circular air diffusers, as well as the glass dividers.
Providing a balance to this openness is the material palette of light wood and monochrome furnishings, which creates a backdrop of serious professionalism and calm. “The clean, neutral colour palette was based on the success of the New York and London offices and Liquidnet’s global design intent,” shares Forwood. The Hong Kong branch’s template takes after that of the London office, which was designed by Boston-based concept designer Visnick & Caufield. The project team, comprising client representative North Street Studio, interior design studio OneSpace, M&E services consultant Cundall and IT & AV consultant PTS, aside from Merx, was led by Liquidnet’s head of global facilities Peter Mitchell.
“The client’s brief was to maintain clean lines, uninterrupted visibility, openness and to use quality materials and products throughout to reflect strength and longevity,” Forwood adds. Hence, the HBF conference tables, Eames Aluminium Group chairs covered in Edleman leather and Unifor systems furniture.
“The resultant mood is bright and fresh with an abundance of natural light that pours in through the perimeter office [spaces],” quips Forwood. This minimal yet friendly atmosphere is ideal for a company that operates across 42 markets and five continents, but which desires to present itself as relevant, invigorating and accessible.
Photography: Graham Uden