May 24, 2016

New Builds in Singapore: Innovative Office Designs Attract Global Companies to Asia

As a thriving financial, educational and creative hub of the region, Singapore, with its advantageous geographical location and high living standards, has emerged as an attractive destination for many international and regional companies looking to establish their presence in Asia in the last couple of decades.

In the recent years, the appeal of Singapore to global companies has also created a demand for innovative office designs, transforming the notions of traditional corporate workspaces as companies continue to strive for long-term sustainability in their businesses. Recognizing that good office design is an effective tactic to recruit, to retain talent and to create a strong sense of own corporate culture and identity, many companies have collaborated with architects and designers on workplace solutions that uphold or enhance their brand values and optimize workspace possibilities. In the recently opened learning and training hub for DBS Bank Ltd, DBS Academy, design practice Aplusi Asia and workplace strategist MCM Architecture of London worked together to formulate the programmatic guidelines for DBS’ new training and learning spaces, with a resulting design solution accommodating a mix of traditional training facilities and flexible, interactive environments conducive to collaboration.

For the new 12,000 square foot office of a grocery delivery service Honestbee, local design practice wynk;collaborative realized a playful and fun workspace, mixing formal and unprogrammed office spaces to allow for open conversations and collaborations. Mixing work with play, wynk;collaborative integrated facilities, such as a theatre and a whiskey room, into the overall layout. An Infocomm Investments, also known as BASH (Build Amazing Startups Here), SCA Design created a highly flexible layout capable of adapting to each start-up’s unique needs. SCA Design optimized space usage through movable space dividers, privacy screens and custom-built ‘mobile booths’ incorporated into different zones, including The Factory, a co-working environment featuring customizable workstations, and The Brewery, a waiting area with gymnasium-like seats.

To create workspaces relevant to their specific context, many international companies have embraced the value of rooting workplace design solutions in local culture, mixing international and local design influences in the process. For’s Singapore office, SCA Design embraced diversity by theming different areas of the office after well-recognized local places. At Twitter Singapore office, Siren Design incorporated local and regional cultural references, such as the traditional Peranakan floor tiles and concrete breezeway blocks, while maintaining Twitter’s global brief for a residential, boutique feel with a sophisticated edge. At Airbnb’s Singapore office, multi-disciplinary practice FARM applied traditional building materials, architectural features and furnishings, like the traditional front porches and Kopitiam chair, into the space. FARM also worked with Airbnb’s staff to design distinctly themed meeting rooms, with 13 out of 18 rooms designed to resemble the likeness of homes found on the property rental website.

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