Posts Tagged ‘ Building ’

Beijing’s Sunrise Kempinski Hotel


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The hotel is located one hour outside of Beijing, on the shores of Yanqi Lake as the name suggests, the architecture references the shape of the sun emerging above the horizon, while in profile, the structure is shaped like a scallop – a form that represents fortune in chinese culture. The design rises to a height of 97 meters, with the top of the building reflecting the sky’s ever-changing colors. The middle portion of the façade mirrors the surrounding mountain range, while the base of the hotel reflects the water’s surface. Opening in november 2014, construction took 24 months to complete, and despite the design’s all-glass exterior, the building should be able to withstand a level 8 earthquake.

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Apartment in Stockholm Encapsulating A Glass-Walled Bedroom


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This small apartment in Stockhom, Sweden impressed us with its original layout and stylish decorating scheme. Discovered by Freshome on Svensk Fastighets, the 34 square-meter crib displays comfortable living spaces with a powerful aesthetic appeal. The first interior you are likely to observe upon entering this apartment is the bedroom, creatively separated from the rest of the project through glass walls. Pebbles under the bed, a giant mirror and framed graphics contribute to the Scandinavian personality of this space. A series of accent items such as the coffee table, the candles or the fireplace give the apartment a mixed ambiance, a touch of rusticity and  traditionalism, connecting the crib with the historic character of the building. The living zone, kitchen and dining table are organized in an open layout. And when it comes to Scandinavian apartments, an irresistible terrace is a must. In this case, the small balcony extends living spaces, creating a charming venue for having coffee and breakfast during warm summer mornings.

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This Oceanside Home Will Blow Your Mind.


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The Villa Sow House is another dream home designed by Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects (SAOTA), a Cape Town-based studio. This two-story contemporary residence is a plush, luxurious home and is located in on a cliff-top in Dakar, Senegal.  The exterior of the home exudes contemporary architecture; the sleek, luxury finish of the shining silver material being accentuated through artificial lighting. An incredibly vast swimming pool grabs the focal point of the exterior however, with relaxation, spaciousness and privacy all being combined to create a lavish haven with a terrace/garden-like area. The artificial grass, palm trees and boulder are utilized to generate a feel of modern Eden.

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The interior of the house continues the luxurious trend. Spaciousness is key in all of the rooms, with a huge main living space perfect for privacy or sociability – whatever the client desires. A balcony-like space features, overviewing the swimming pool terrace area and generating an excellent view of the beautiful African scenery, offering panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean. The kitchen is a brilliant, efficient size also. A main feature in the house is the spiral staircase, clad in stainless steel.  This sophisticated, luxurious residence combines lavish living, spacious areas and panoramic views to create a beautiful, contemporary home.

-via Adelto

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Feel The Rainbow.


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Artist Gabriel Dawe is showing his incredible new installation that just opened to the public last October 6 in Como, Italy. As part of Miniartextil, an annual exhibition of contemporary art, Dawe created Plexus no. 19, a stunning thread installation that’s beautifully spread across two balconies in the atrium of a historic villa. The early 19th century neoclassic house, called Villa Olmo, was acquired in 1924 by the municipality of Como and is now open to the public only during cultural events and art exhibitions like this.

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This year’s Miniartextil exhibition is called Agora, taking from the Greek word that describes an important public place where people come to share ideas. The visitor is invited to not just look at the artwork but to be actively involved in it.Plexus no. 19 consists of two thread structures streamed across an upper and lower balcony that is meant to be experienced from different angles or at different times of the day. As Dawe tells us, “When the sun comes in in the morning, it is fantastic. Having those window-shaped light beams add a dimension to the installation. I always like when I get direct sunshine on them because it emphasizes the layering of the thread in very interesting ways.”

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With two assistants, Dawe constructed this installation in about a week. His greatest challenge was working to the confines of the space. “Because of the historic nature of the building, I wasn’t able to touch ceiling, walls or floors to screw in my structures,” he says. “So I resorted to fixing them to the railings, which in great measure restricted what I was able to do. In the end, it worked out pretty well; it really exceeded my expectations how well the installation inhabits the space.” – via Chiccquero

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The Largest Game Of Tetris In History?


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Drexel University professor Frank Lee took over the side of the 29-story Cira Centre in Philadelphia last year to play a gigantic game of Pong, setting the Guinness World Record for the “Largest Architectural Video Game Display.” Last night he doubled the record with a massive game of Tetris.  Controlled by joysticks conneted to the building’s LED lights via 4G wireless, this particular Tetris game was a competitive affair, with two teams playing on the north and south sides of the building. When one team cleared a row, the other team would get more blocks dropped on their play-field. Trash-talking was kept to a minimum, as the teams were a mile away from each other.

Abandoned Underwater Strip Club In Israel


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Photos of abandoned buildings have always be fascinating, but of all the deserted spaces we’ve seen in the past, nothing has measured up to the awesomeness of this abandoned underwater strip club. Many times when buildings are left to decay, they do just that. The Nymphas Show Bar is a different story entirely though. While the outside of the building is quite rusted, photographs of the inside show that the former strip club is still completely intact. The photos were taken by marine biologist Gil Koplovitzin in Eilat, Israel. The structure once served as an underwater restaurant before transforming into a strip club, and ultimately ending in this.

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L’Oasis D’Aboukir Green Wall in Paris


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A five-story block in Paris has become the latest building to have a vertical garden installed. Made with over 7,500 plants, the “green wall” is 25-meters high and was designed by living wall inventor Patrick Blanc. The plant installation is called L’Oasis D’Aboukir (the Oasis of Aboukir) and includes plants from 237 different species, planted in diagonal waves. Planted in the sprint, the plants cover a previously raw concrete facade and add a much-needed splash of life to the surrounding area.

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Kanye West – New Slaves.


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Kanye West debuted his new song “New Slaves” through a projection on 66 landmark buildings in 10 cities across North America, Europe, and Australia.  The content of the track is in stark contrast from the topics of in industry rappers, and even from Kanye himself.  But the message is loud and clear, and could not have been marketed better.  Check the method below.

City Series by McNabb And Co


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Philadelphia-based designer and craftsman James McNabb has a several series of wood sculptures and furniture items but today we want to show his “City Series”. It consists of spectacular wood sculptures featuring us a city views from an airplane. James took inspiration from cityscapes and chose to mesh his woodworking skills into this series of urban landscapes. Highly detailed sculptures are made from discarded scrap wood and each abstract architectural building is unique.

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The Australian Winter Cabin.


Australia is a land more often associated with sun and surf not winter and snow, but in the high country of Victoria and the resort village of Dinner Plain, there’s a house that brings winter to life.  Welcome to ‘Under the Moonlight’ designed by Giovanni D’Ambrosio. It’s a contemporary (and expensive) take on the traditional cattlemen’s huts of the area.

“Perched on the edge of an alpine reserve in Dinner Plain Village, part of the highest approved freehold land in Australia, the home is located just 10 minutes from down hill skiing at Mount Hotham. Featuring extensive 8 x 9 sq metre glass panels, sweeping alpine views are drawn in to the interior of the home, which also features a 20 tonne cantilevered fire place made of local stone.”

Forget the stone fireplace look at the bathroom! A divan perched beside the spa. Dark and decadent. This is definitely a bachelor’s pad in the snow, no? A sexy private après-ski lair. Glühwein anyone?

Jumping On The Brand Wagon.


BRND WGN is an innovative branding agency that brings together experienced & creative thinkers to implement marketing, advertising, PR and design projects in a unique and profitable way. We have a fierce commitment to creating the most innovative and effective solutions to meet our clients’ marketing objectives and vision and we strive on getting things done right first time on time.  Click here to learn a little more, and jump on the brand wagon.

The World’s First Hermes-Decorated Apartment.


Luxury property developer SC Global Developments has unveiled a private apartment decorated by Hermès at its flagship development, The Marq on Paterson Hill in Singapore.  This is the first apartment entirely decorated by Hermès and SC Global said it will not be for sale, but to be used only for private engagements.

The spacious 6,232 sq ft five-bedroom apartment features a combination of furniture, wallpaper, carpets, fabrics, rugs along with made-to-measure upholstered items and a choice of artworks.  Simon Cheong, Chairman and CEO of SC Global, said the collaboration with the Paris-based Hermès lasted for 18 months to create the unique atmosphere.

“By realising for the first time, a complete project of home decoration and furnishings, we also share with SC Global a unique experience and express our high quality values of excellence and craftsmanship in the home universe,” noted Hélène Dubrule, General Manager of Hermès Maison.

The Marq has 66 exclusive residences on a 1.2-hectare ground. The units consist of high-end bungalows within a luxury high-rise apartment setting.  The development’s unique design features include airy double-volume (6.5 metre high) living spaces providing panoramic views of the city skyline and a 15-metre cantilevered lap pool in every apartment of the Signature Tower.

Apartment sizes range from 3,000 sq ft for a 4-bedroom apartment in the Premier Tower to 6,195 sq ft for a 5-bedroom apartment in The Signature Tower.

Main Point Karlin Office Building.


Main Point Karlin has received appreciation for its distinctive sustainable architecture and high technological level. The building uses a number of approaches in its sustainable design, among them, use of the River Vltava’s water throughout the summer for building cooling, eliminating the need for compressors and chillers; Cooling is further naturally regulated by the coloured fibreC elements on the facade which are not only aesthetic but serve to reduce heat gains from sunlight penetration.

The Missoni Tower.


Missoni is partnering with Filipino real estate developer Century Properties to design the interior decor and amenity spaces of a condominium building in Manila.  Missoni Home is not new to commercial real estate.

They designed the Hotel Missoni line with Rezidor Hotel Group, with hotels open or opening in Scotland, Kuwait, Turkey, Omanan and Brazil.  It’s the fourth of six towers in the $316 million Acqua Private Residences project; the first three are completely sold out.

The Missoni Home tower will have 645 1-,2-, and 3-bedroom units that will rent for about $315 per square foot.  A multi-level amenity center called the Canopy will house an amphitheater, lounge, DJ booth and dance floor,a  pool with swim up bar, and barbecue facilities.

The Missoni tower is to be the second fashion-branded building in Makati, a section of the Filipino capital that Century Properties is developing at a breakneck pace.  The company is also building The Milano Residences, a Versace-branded tower there, 80 percent of which is sold, according to the developer.

Spend A Night In A Dutch Ice Hotel.


It could be any standard hotel room in the quaint northeastern Dutch city of Zwolle, with a bed, a minibar, bathrobes and two pairs of slippers.  Except for the room temperature, which hovers just above freezing. Welcome to the first Dutch ice hotel, all the comforts at eight degrees Celsius (46 °F).  “If you take a shower before bed, make sure your hair is dry or it will freeze. Do not drink too much alcohol, or eat too heavy a meal. Make sure you change clothes before entering the room,” hotel manager Annet van Limburg told first-time visitors.

Built for an ice sculptors’ festival in Zwolle and managed by a local hotel, the structure has three rooms and stands in a refrigerated warehouse.  It is the first time in Europe that an ice hotel has opened this far south, Van Limburg said. Indeed, the idea comes from the north.  With some 47 rooms for the 2011/12 season, the largest ice hotel is at Jukkasjarvi in northern Sweden’s Lapland.  “Unlike Canada and Lapland, the hotel here is not situated in nature,” Van Limburg said pointing out: “There, the guests sleep in minus 20 degrees.”

Inside, abstract patterns carved from the ice adorn the meter-thick walls of two of the rooms. A third has a nautical theme, including a giant shell carved into its ice.  Carved from a solid ice block, like a giant ice cube, the room’s main attraction is a square bed, which lights up in pink, blue and green lights through lamps installed underneath in its ice.  It took about 10 days to build the three rooms, where guests can stay from December 3 to January 29. A night for two including breakfast will cost 199 euros ($259).

The Most Expensive Penthouse In S.F.


A two-floor, $28 million penthouse in my new hometown of San Francisco has made history as the most expensive condo sold in the city’s history.  The 20,000-square-foot condo features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, six bedrooms, seven full baths, four powder rooms; 2,500 square foot master suite, thirteen-seat home cinema and four terraces, four fireplaces and six car parking.  The penthouse was originally asking $70 million in 2008 by Victor MacFarlane, a real-estate developer who bought three apartment shells and combined them.

A Peek Inside The Lamborghini Factory.


The Italian automaker founded in 1963 by feisty Ferrari hater Ferruccio Lamborghini built a long line of swoopy exotics that demanded passionate, dedicated drivers — with an equally passionate and dedicated mechanic on speed dial. Several ownership changes over the years, including an ill-fated union with Chrysler in the 1980s didn’t help the cause. Lamborghinis inspired lust, but consistency of build and reliability proved elusive… Until the Germans got involved.

Audi’s takeover of the company in 1998 instigated dramatic changes in how the famed cars from Sant’Agata Bolognese were conceived, developed and constructed. Eager to retain the brand’s “Italianness,” the Germans kept company headquarters in Sant’Agata, much like how Bugatti remained stationed in Molsheim, France, and Bentley didn’t stray from Crewe, England, once Volkswagen took over.

The German influence not only resulted in shared platforms (like the Audi R8/Lamborghini Gallardo aluminum spaceframe), it also brought a sea change in how emerging technologies are researched, developed and incorporated into the ever-evolving world of supercars.

Lamborghini hit a landmark when it sold its 10,000th Gallardo in 2010, a figure that represents more than all other models produced since the company’s founding. As a replacement for the mighty Murcielago approached the zenith of its three-year development, camouflaged mules were spotted darting through Italian countrysides and along the famed Nürburgring Nordschliefe, and the 691-horsepower flagship was being “fine optimized” in preparation for production.

The Translucent Church.


Gijs Van Vaerenbergh, a collaboration between young Belgian architects Pieterjan Gijs (Leuven, 1983) and Arnout Van Vaerenbergh (Leuven, 1983), have built a see-through church in the Belgian region of Haspengouw. The church is a part of the Z-OUT project of Z33, house for contemporary art based in Hasselt, Belgium. Z-OUT is an ambitious longterm art in public space project that will be realised on different locations in the Flemish region of Limburg over the next five years.  The church is 10 meters high and is made of 100 layers and 2000 columns of steel. Depending on the perspective of the viewer, the church is either perceived as a massive building or seems to dissolve (partly or entirely) in the landscape. On the other hand, looking at the landscape from within the church, the surrounding countryside is redefined by abstract lines.

The design of the church is based on the architecture of the multitude of churches in the region, but through the use of horizontal plates, the concept of the traditional church is transformed into a transparent object of art.  The project is called ‘Reading between the Lines’ and can be read as a reflection on architectural themes such as scale, ground plan etc., but the project also emphatically transcends the strictly architectural. After all, the church does not have a well-defined function and focuses on visual experience in itself (one could even consider it to be a line drawing in space)

The Construction of Beijing’s Tallest Building Begins.


Construction has started on Beijing‘s tallest skyscraper, set to rise 500 metres and shaped like a vase, the state-owned CITIC group said Tuesday.  The building is the latest in a surge of ambitious construction projects in the Chinese capital, which along with other cities in China is attracting cutting-edge international architects keen to push design boundaries.  A groundbreaking ceremony on the planned 500-metre tall China Zun tower, named after a type of traditional Chinese wine vessel, took place in Beijing Monday.

The state-owned investment giant said the tower would be both its office building and a tourist attraction.  It would feature the latest energy-saving technology, and the top floor would encourage sightseeing from a platform and have a cafe with panoramic views.  Online pictures show a slender glass and steel structure that appears to have an observation platform on the roof and a central atrium at the top of the building.  It will be built just a stone’s throw from the 330-metre-tall China World Trade Center Tower 3 (pictured below), Beijing’s current tallest building.

The ‘Tardis’ Port Melbourne House.


Doctor Who fans will probably know the secret of the tardis. Bigger on the inside than it appears on the out. Who could imagine such high open spaces could be lurking behind this narrow single fronted house in Port Melbourne? A clever extension lifts the space to follow the roof pitch and seamlessly melds the inside and out. Features that speak to me are the  two “open” bathrooms, the way light is brought into the centre of the house through a series of pitched skylights and a clever open garden room.  Lovely.

The Acadia Tree Tower.


The Acadia Tree tower allows for an exciting high rise that is both monumental in scale and look and has a small footprint on the city below. Three long legs rise high and support a complex of living and commercial spaces on top. The legs themselves have many functions: they house office spaces, the are the location of elevators that whisk people to the tower’s top, and they have plants growing in a middle groove, bringing living foliage to the whole length of the tower, culminating in plentiful green space on the complex that rests on top of the pillars.  The relaxing, green area perched on the three legs is meant to resemble a bird’s nest, providing secure housing, protection and respite. With expanses of grass, trees and even swimming pools, residents living in apartments on this tower enjoy leafy environs and fantastic views. Each apartment even has its own large, landscaped terrace. Also located on top are a hotel, a spa, sports areas, solar panels and tanks to store rainwater. These accommodations provide instant customers for the shopping, entertainment and employment facilities on the buidling’s ground level.  Design by Czech architect Petr Pospisil.

The Linkong Economic Park.


Conceived as a meandering ribbon-like form, the design of the park aims to bind the facility together with the surrounding community.  Pinched in its appearance, the smooth and complex structure creates a series of dynamic spaces that seem to reflect the vibration and energy of the city. Iconic and bold, the mixed-use ‘park’ stands out from the retail context of its neighboring plots, possessing a highly visible identity that when complete, will become a destination in its own right.  Defined by its calligraphic gesture and distinctive metallic envelope, the mixed-use building features four twisting and elongated  volumes, each representing a distinct cluster of activities. Intimate courtyards sit in the negative space between the intersecting wings, and together with the green roof, integrate nature into the dense urban environment. Curvilinear forms and expansive interior volumes continue throughout the internal spaces, where the architecture begins to dictate how the facility is used and experienced.

The World’s Largest Wooden Structure.


What is there not to like about Metropol Parasol?  The waffle-like crown structure in Seville, Spain has been finally completed in April 2011 after a competition held by the city of Seville in 2004.  Located at Plaza de la Encarnacion, the stunning sequence of undulating parasols comprises the world’s largest wooden structure. The Metropol Parasol project was part of the redevelopment of the Plaza de la Encarnacíon, designed by J. MAYER H. Architects, this project becomes the new icon for Seville, a place of identification and to articulate Seville’s role as one of the world´s most fascinating cultural destinations.

Project: Metropol Parasol
Redevelopment of Plaza de la Encarnacion, Seville, Spain
Function: archeological site, farmers market, elevated plaza, multiple bars and restaurants
Site area: 18,000 square meters
Building area: 5,000 square meters
Total floor Area: 12,670 square meters
Number of floors: 4
Height of the building: 28.50 meters
Structure: concrete, timber and steel
Principal Exterior: timber and granite
Principal interior material: concrete, granite and steel
Designing period: 2004-2005
Construction period: 2005-2011
Building/Cost: 90 Million Euro

6 More Ridiculously Nice Offices.


A while back, I had posted up a listing of 5 insane offices from around the world, and I was pretty positive that list would stand the test of time.  But some way, some how, I’ve seen even more totally ridiculous offices, and I want to share these with you guys.  I don’t know where your job is, but I want a job in an office like these.

1. The Bank Of Moscow.

The interior design of Bank of Moscow’s offices in central Moscow’s Kuznetsky Most area (Kuznetsky Most street 13) retains the building’s great historical bones and matches customized adornments to them.  The office (one of the Bank’s many offices) occupies 7,000 square meters on the third floor and in the previously unused mansard (attic) space. Moscow-based designer, Alexey Kuzmin, retained by architectural office Sretenka for this assignment, used the space’s key feature, the large, hexagon-shaped central hall, as the defining point.  He placed the client services functions in this grand, open area to evoke and retain the elegant feel of the entire building.  It is windowless, so Kuzmin created a stained-glass ceiling, that echoes the forms and style of the building.

Everything in the client zone was customized, including the tall wooden doors with glass, stained-glass windows, chandeliers, oak paneling for walls and ceilings and the marble floors.  Kuzmin located the staff offices on the wings or balconies surrounding the client zone. The dividers in the office area are made of glass with wooden arches around them.  The attic had no historically significant features and it was designed as a typical, effective office. Glass dividers allow light into the space from the small narrow roof-top windows. The ceiling is made of fire resistant panels, covered with birch veneer. The white office furniture is by Vitra.

2. The Gentleman’s Club Office.

Pool tables, free beer and “casual everyday” dress code may have become the desired and appropriate work environment in many companies, but for some, a gentlemen’s club atmosphere works better.  London-based architecture and design firm SHH created this elegant office in London for an international investment company. The offices are located in a five-story Georgian townhouse connected to a two-story mews by a partially covered walkway. Several marble-inlaid fireplaces, marble mosaic floor tiles and beautiful ceiling cornices were kept from the previous occupants but the rest underwent a thorough modernization.  The resulting milieu is imposing and somewhat intimidating. Its dark, black-and-white photography vibe harkens back to some secret storied past, yet the contemporary treatments, especially the dramatic lighting pieces return the thoughts back to today.  Some of the light fixtures are by Modular and Foscarini and the statement chandeliers were custom-designed by Michael Anastassiades.

Custom-work, limited-edition pieces and classic furnishings such as Eames chairs accent each space, giving stunning jolts among the calm opulence.  Showing up in dated jeans or worn-out sneakers (unless you are Steve Jobs or Richard Branson) in this space would not seem appropriate, and should cue sports be allowed, they would most likely be the English Billiards variety.  Founded in 1992 by David Spence, Graham Harris and Neil Hogan (the S, H and H), architecture and design firm SHH is now a practice of more than 50 people working globally on architecture, design and branding projects.  Many of SHH’s retail, hospitality, nightclub and office clients are in the luxury category, but their client list includes also names such as Sheraton, Adidas, Pizza Hut, Aphostrophe and McDonald’s.

3.  AZN Center – Melbourne.

I’m cautiously nursing a glimmer of hope that even the most corporate of the corporate world could start taking design seriously. And that they could really start understanding and taking advantage of the effects that great head-office design has on staff creativity, productivity and comfort; which, in turn, leads to either staff loyalty or revolving doors.  And, most important, that all of this inevitably filters down to how the customers experience the company.  Some banks in Australia are giving us reason for this hope.  I observed Macquarie investment bank’s new harbor-side office building in Sydney some time ago, but now looking at the ANZ Center in Melbourne’s Docklands and my hopes rise up further.

Designed by Melbourne-based HASSELL,  the massive “urban campus” occupies 130,000 square metres and is the location of the daily grind for 6,500 people.  The design centers around a common hub that on the ground level includes cafes, a visitor center and public art. Throughout the campus, 44 individual hub spaces connect to quiet working zones.  The floor plan maximizes flexibility and daylight penetration, and fosters collaboration and varying work styles.  About 55 percent of the work area is collaborative space and the remaining area is dedicated desk space.  HASSELL won the 2010 World Architecture Festival’s Interiors and Fitout of the Year award for ANZ Centre.  The World Architecture Festival is an annual three-day event held in Barcelona where the Awards this year attracted a record 500 entries from 61 countries.

4. dtac Headquarters – Bangkok.

Large companies with thousands of employees often give just a cursory nod to creating an appealing, exciting and comfortable workplace. Enter the thousands of pool tables and vending machines that are supposedly making work more fun. Lucky for its 3,200 employees, one of Thailand’s leading telecommunications firms, Total Access Communication PCL under the dtac brand, did much more.  In June 2009, dtac gathered its massive team from six separate buildings and relocated them to the newly designed dtac House in Bangkok’s Chamchuri Square office tower.  Now under the same roof for the first time ever, the dtac team occupies 62,000 square metres (about 662,000 square feet) on 20 floors, a move that marks the largest-ever office lease in Thailand’s history.  Opened to the media and VIPs on the auspicious day of 09/09/09, dtac House reflects the company’s desire to become the employer of choice, to enhance cooperation and communication, strengthen common goals, increase creativity and make it easier for the brand to react quickly to changing conditions.

For staff and customers, the new environment aims to communicate dtac’s brand approach “play and learn.”  Australian Hassell won the competition to design the space and align it with dtac’s vision. Hassell created an open and flexible environment with natural wood, natural light and purpose-built spaces.  Some of the highlights include a massive circular library amphitheater, and an entire Funfloor with indoor soccer, table tennis, running track, and concert and performance spaces.  Other custom-designed spaces include the Conversation Pit, the Freeform Meeting, the Picnic Table and the Dining Room, all created to encourage informal, face-to-face meetings. An open terrace atop the building overlooks Bangkok’s skyline.  It is easy to imagine that employees used to this environment would find it difficult to adjust to a boring row of cubicles ever again, in spite of the pool tables and vending machines.

5. Macquire Investment Bank – Sydney.

Macquarie investment bank’s new harborside office building, One Shelley Street, at King Street Warf in Sydney has been collecting accolades and awards for not only architecture and design but also for environmental sustainability and workplace functionality.  The main players in the team behind the building are Sydney-based Fitzpatrick & Partners, responsible for the design of the actual building, and West Hollywood’s Clive Wilkinson Architects that led the design team in the interior design and outfitting with Woods Bagot as the local executive architect.  Apart from the obvious visual appeal of the 10-storey office space, particularly impressive is Clive Wilkinson’s execution of the idea of using design as a key component in causing change — in encouraging and facilitating a new way of working. Macquarie wanted to adopt a new collaborative working style — Activity-Based Working (ABW), a flexible work platform developed by Dutch consultant Veldhoen & Co. — and the new office facility would play an important part in making this happen.

Macquarie’s 3,000 employees now work in an open and highly flexible space where, for example, in the 10-storey atrium, 26 various kinds of ‘meeting pods’ create a feel of ‘celebration of collaboration’ and contribute to openness and transparency.  The interior staircases have already reduced the use of elevators by 50%, and more than half of the employees say that they change their workspaces each day, and 77% love  the freedom to do so.  I like Wilkinson’s own description of the result: “. . . a radical, large-scale workplace design that leverages mobility, transparency, multiple tailor-made work settings, destination work plazas, follow-me technology, and carbon neutral systems. The result is part space station, part cathedral, and part vertical Greek village.”  Clive Wilkinson Architects is known for creative workplaces. Their clients include ad agencies such as Mother, JWT and TBWA\Chiat\Day, and technology firms in the Silicon Valley and Nokia in Finland.

6. Vodafone – Portugal.

In 1984, Vodafone was a tiny UK startup. Today, it is one of the world’s leading mobile telecommunications companies with activities around the globe. Vodafone’s well publicized Portuguese headquarters is located on Avenida da Boavista in Porto (Oporto), the namesake of Port wine and Portugal’s second global city after Lisbon.  The super modern building was designed by architects José António Barbosa and Pedro Guimarães of Barbosa Guimarães Arquitectos.  The architects’ wish to reflect Vodafone’s credo “Vodafone Life, Life in Motion” lead to the creation of a building that challenges the static and appears to be out of balance.

Three of the angular building’s eight floors are underground. The cross-section reveals an uneven footprint almost as if the entire structure had fallen from sky at a great speed and crashed itself into the earth where it now sits, only partly exposed and slightly disheveled.  Indeed, the outer skin reminds us of a slightly unfinished origami project that will eventually become a scale model of a museum, the inside views bring to mind the many variations of angular, uneven and pleasantly unresolved spaces we’d seen at Hotel Silken Puerta América in Madrid, especially the rooms designed by Ron Arad, Zaha Hadid and Plasma Studio.

The Sky Garden House.


I think one of the reasons that many are skeptical about environmental design is because they think its terribly complex and costly. It does take a bit more effort on the front end, but it’s definitely not rocket science. This architecture by Guz Architects is a wonderfully developed minimalistic design with a curvilinear flare that really brings out the organic coverings. I’m most impressed with how design facilitates the needs of the plants and shrubs located throughout the house… and it would also be a bomb place to throw a party.