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  • Dentsu Aegis Network
  • Hong Kong

Bringing 2 company cultures together within a multi-faceted floor plate

With Dentsu Aegis Network’s expansion, Circa was asked to design a new space in the DAN Asia office building for the addition of their brands ‘Dentsu Media’ & ‘McGarry Bowen’.
It is the coming together of 2 cultures within an octagonal floorplate. Circa clustered together a nucleus of rooms around which to wrap the 2 teams, & also balance the multi-faceted building envelope. This provided both shared spaces to come together, & defined team areas.
The use of natural materials & the removal of the ceiling system created a richness of texture to fit a restricted budget. Acoustics for meeting spaces were solved using environmentally sensitive recycled PET board; & plywood added warmth while complying with the recycled materials request. The plywood was sourced to match with the new Formica HPL woodgrain range, to allow a practical application in the pantry space.
The older building has a concrete floor, but Circa turned that to an advantage using self levelling screed to get a light reflective surface to the shared areas.

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  • Wallem
  • Hong Kong

Legacy space demolition led the way for our client’s re-thinking about space in a rising rental market

Wallem is a shipping company founded in Shanghai in 1925 by a Norwegian family. This maritime theme & period became our design theme throughout the space, along with a series of shipping models we could display.
The client needed to move as Swire was demolishing the bonded warehouse, Warwick House, where the client was based at a good rental rate; in order to make way for new buildings.
The new space was in a class A building so needed to be substantially smaller than the converted warehouse space. This meant getting the staff involvement in selecting a suitable plan, workstation design we developed, & overall design. This Change Management was implemented through site visits, town halls, & mock ups.

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  • Berwin Leighton Paisner
  • Hong Kong

Removing their walls & moving location, this firm kick started a second legal hub in HK with a more open-plan direction

As rents continually rise legal practices are looking to move location. At the same time Swire Properties has legal practices as one of the key groups of potential tenants for its new cluster of building in Taikoo Place; with the aim of seeing the Legal Hub move from Central to Quarry Bay.
BLP took a decision to be the first major legal practice to take that move from Central, & also to be the first open-plan major law practice in HK.
Therefore the project starting point was to investigate how to best design an open workplace for lawyers, as it is a big move away from the traditional private office culture. Our solution was to develop a pair of unique workstations with sit-stand motorized desks, that had a surrounding shell travelling with the desk.
Beyond the workplace, & in order to encourage clients & other lawyers to visit the new office, we developed a series of connection rooms with walls that could be folded away. Therefore creating a large social space when required but multi functional to not waste precious real estate.
For the design theme, the construction law focus became our inspiration, mixing indoor & outdoor space design. Particular care was taken in the lift lobby to use materials that could later be removed.

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  • Singtel
  • Hong Kong

Bringing 2 cultures together in one space can allow for celebrating shared space & own space

Singtel was a low cost project bringing two companies together into one space, and wanting a strong design value to get a new identity.
With the client based overseas we needed to make a detailed design process to be able to communicate over VC & telcon. This was done through developing sequential power-point presentations.
One lease requirement was the need to select materials for the lift lobby that could be removed without damage to the landlord materials. Our work with Marriott & Baker McKenzie for synthetic materials came into play in selecting flooring & wall finishes.
This was also our first project using face recognition software for security door access, & we had to closely liase with the supplier to understand the limitations & lighting required.

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  • AXA
  • Hong Kong

As workspace becomes a scarce commodity, a regional head-quarters goes open plan yet finds a sense of scale & privacy

This project represented AXA’s regional team moving to a shared desk concept, in recognition of the high number of travelers versus real estate cost.
The new design also encompassed an Alternative Workplace Strategy, giving a variety of spaces for staff to use.
One challenge was to make a away for the space to be re-configured over time, including rooms. For this we approached a supplier to re-produce a 1990’s partition system with drop in panels.
We also developed a unique signage programme to cover both the practical naming / directional signs ; and also etiquette signage for a shared space.
One other focus was to develop a design for each of the elements listed by an independent change management specialist. Part of that was creating small phone booths, creative room, & library space.
AXA as a French company recognizes consensus as important in decisions, & part of our role was to be able to concisely present stages of the project for comment, revision, & approval.

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  • Clifford Chance
  • Asia Regional Office
  • Hong Kong

Sometimes a space just needs a refresh, & implementing some recent workplace practices

Located for 20 years in the same building, 15 since the last fitout, & having had a series of expansions; our client wanted to refresh, align, & update some elements of their 4 workspace floors.

As a UK practice they operate a shared lawyer’s office model. We started by investigating, through a series of workshops, what the functional elements of the lawyer’s office needed to be standardised & what to vary. We concluded a common base layout, fair as possible to both occupants; with one storage solution for litigation, & one for non-litigation teams. We also recommended sit-stand desks for all staff as a both a ‘wellness at work’direction; but also a way to get a variety of posture & settings for different staff.

In order to recognise their open desk policy, we developed a sliding door solution that was both discreet when open, and also a good sound seal when closed. This formed a part of our work to increase the sound privacy for each room.

It was decided each floor would move the break out area to the window line, & these were all placed off the staircase to increase opportunities for staff to meet, & to give a sense of activity within the workplace. A key feature of both the space was ensuring design was sound absorbing.

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  • Baker & McKenzie
  • Asia Regional Office
  • Hong Kong

Legal practices are consolidating & updating their workplaces to reduce footprint, costs, & attract graduate staff

With these changes needed throughout the legal profession, to maintain a competitive edge; our client made a bold decision to co-locate their 2 offices into a 4 floor location; and in the process investigate the minimum acceptable single lawyer office size. This investigation became an analysis of acoustics in a small space, customised sliding doors; & a customised furniture solution to allow the correct visitors & storage space.

For the support staff, our goal was to create a workstation that offered maximum reachable / adjoining file space; so as too allow an efficient work setting.

The net result was not just reducing the practice premises footprint, but introducing a more informal workstation setting between fee-earners; & support staff.

This workplace setting was balanced with our client’s growing demand for a larger seminar space; & client rooms for the combined practice numbers. In response we developed 3 large rooms & an open coffee/eating area; which can all link together in a series of combinations & settings.

The combined solution allowed our client to reduce their overal costs, while increasing their ability to hold larger client functions.

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  • Marriott International
  • Asia Regional Office
  • Hong Kong

As work-lines blur between office, home, cafes, & hotel space for a client; their new Asia HQ needed to offer transient teams a connection point

Working ‘on the road’ raises the issue of keeping a ‘sense of team’ within an organisation, & also justification for at times an empty workplace.

With this in mind, Marriott wanted to make a bold change in their Asia Regional Centre to an overal open plan direction; & in the process identify workspace solutions for those teams that were not always office based. Our solution was to create a more personal, semi open-plan workspace language; through landscaping a series of smaller domestic scale areas that created team identity. Each was personalised through introducing a varying texture of custom storage units, lighting type, ceiling details, glazing detailing, flooring, & furniture types.

This openess was balanced with 90% of rooms being made bookable, along with integrating in telephone booths; & designing bench style mtg rooms for brain-storming. Like examples of successful ‘co-working’ centres, a ‘hub’ was also added at the staff & visitor entry point, where the notion of ‘reception’ changed to a ‘help centre + Barista coffee point’; along with a large lounge where staff could come together to meet, present, catch up, have lunch….or just find a quiet spot.

In the process a new sociable semi-open workspace was created, where people can come together to be a team & share experiences.

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  • Dentsu Aegis Network
  • Hong Kong

For a media organisation, a series of plywood arches & carefully placed rooms created a more personal & fluid landscape for their young teams

For the workspace we introduced the notion of broken-space, through the use of plywood arches & independent rooms; which allowed each member of staff to have a unique relationship to the space e.g. the relationship of the arches & loosely placed rooms was always varying.

The language of material was natural & neutral with flashes of bright colour. Self-levelling concrete, plywood, & compressed board gave the neutral elements, with small sparks of bright colour coming from pieces of furniture; & TV monitor content. The planning was based on identifying the minimum number of rooms required, & using them as blocks to turn through the angled space & create usable negative spaces between. The 2 floors vary as 1 floor offers an open seminar space in the style of a co-workingvenue; & the other offers a more reflective shared point for teams to come together.

Using a minimalistic design approach allowed us to introduce a range of materials in an economic way; & offer multi-functional spaces within the budget for this 2 floor project. AV was an important element in a media agency workplace. Touch screens, large monitors, & projectors were spread throughout to express the output of the company; & in themselves become a lively part of the design.

  • Bloomberg
  • Hong Kong

For a financial information service with a strong ‘client space’ brand, it was important to maintain the visual impact

Having carried out the client’s re-brand in 2006, our design director was asked to re-visit the space to refine the look 5 years on; & to link in with a new staircase installation from the US practice NBBJ.
One of the key elements to analyse for the client, was the ability to offer snacks & drinks to visitors in an efficient way as possible; give the expansion of visitors to seminars. We carried out observational analysis, tracking visitors routes & picking out areas of in-efficiency. This allowed us to re-organise the space to get an improved activity flow.

  • AIA Tower
  • Hong Kong

A concierge point, as opposed to security desk, needed a re-think in design

When we were asked to develop a new desk to reflect development of a ‘customer care concept’; our prime concern was to not intrude in the design of AIA Tower.

We chose to design a desk which made a simple & striking blade of marble; which would match the floor. That way we didn’t add any element to the lobby, & in fact removed materials.

With such a pure material in the stone, the rest of the construction was carried out in satin stainless steel and grey corian as a clean, neutral back drop.

  • Barclays International
  • Singapore

A space to get away, & interact with your colleagues

The brief was to implement a ‘café’ concept for the 11 floors of a bank’s regional Asia office in Singapore.

We developed a design to allow staff to have an alternative to the more formal workstation areas, & VC meeting rooms on each floor; offering a variety of seating settings, & flexibility for group sizes.

The cafes were all located against curtain wall window line, to maximise the appeal for use. Floor areas closest to the windows were raised to add variety to the space, & add impact to the window view. All spaces were self service.

  • Julius Baer
  • Asia Regional Office – Singapore

Taking the top floors at Asia Tower reflected a decision for Singapore & Zurich both as HQ

Occupying the top 2 floors of one of Singapore’s large floorplate skyscrapers, the project’s aim was to celebrate & build upon the unique nature of the clients duel HQ base in Europe & Asia.

The client area design brief was built on a theme started over the previous year’s projects in Europe with Bruno Moinard.

The entrance space leads the visitor to an open area in the centre of the 12 private rooms, where the focus is a stunning view out over Singapore city & water front.

We developed a design to deliver this project at 50% of a normal budget for such a quality level.

  • Furniture Showroom
  • Singapore

With multi brands to display the need was for a series of interconnecting spaces

There is a fine line between having an open display of multi-brands, & losing any context for the display.

Our approch for our client was to use the existing columns & ceiling as the planes to introduce texture & acoustic treatement to the large space; which in themselves developed into defining spaces. Some acoustic treatments extending to form storage walls.

The use of large imagery was included, to highlight the focus of the client on imported products by international designers.

The use of timber created a warmth to the space, & reference a residential client base.

  • British Council
  • Hong Kong

A flexible space for education & recruitment became critical for return on space rental

Our client’s growth in self-financing their education and university recruitment facilities, led to a brief to design a new multi-functional space on their top floor.

The space was required to cover : the peak visitor use at weekends; week day collaborative staff meeting space needs; public seminars; teacher tutorial booths; evening study space; and exhibition/ design promotion forum.

CIRCA’s solution to cover so many needs, was to develop a minimal room design with a series of lightweight flexible elements; that could be re-arranged to offer 4 flexible areas able to be independent or used together.