backlit textile circles with botanical patterns
In a conference room, backlit custom textile circles offer a botanical touch to timber banquette seating.

Bean Buro Brings a Touch of Japan to the Hong Kong Offices of Unicorn Stores

Unicorn Stores launched its line of department stores in 1985 to bring modern Japanese retail to Hong Kong. This year, it enlisted Paris/London-based design firm Bean Buro to work a similar magic on its 6,500-square-foot headquarters, in the trendy Eastern district of Quarry Bay. 

First, Bean Buro cofounders, Lorène Faure and Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui, began researching Japanese architecture. The simple timber joinery of teahouses offered a way into creating a discrete reception desk. “The design utilizes various subtle Japanese elements as inspiration for bespoke elements,” throughout the space, explains Faure, “such as acoustic screens, wall art, and a gridded ceiling.” 

Past reception, employees reach an open-plan workplace, with offices for department heads afforded privacy through a fresh take on Japanese screens: acoustic partitions, freshened up with custom textile designs of bright, pastel color fields. In the core, enclosed meeting rooms are defined by glass partitions to take advantage of the office’s ample natural light, which also fuels the growth of the many plants at home in integrated windowsill planters. That light floods the open work areas due to their consistent orientation towards the windows. Throughout, doorways and thresholds between rooms are marked by updated noren, traditional dividers of natural fabric. 

In the café, collaboration booths gather between fluted glass screens, while pegboard walls serve as community signage. Custom graphics emblazon the pantry window’s roller blinds, complimented by the largely white material palette. Unicorn Store’s red brand identity pops up in the very bones of the space via grout, arches, and gradient glass.

“The key was to strike a delicate balance of creating a very strong company identity through the use of colors, gentry, and signages,” says Kinugasa-Tsui, “and still ensuring the workplace is a comfortable and soothing work setting.” It’s an accomplishment as rare as the unicorn itself. 

a reception area made of timber with a grid lighting source behind it
The designers crafted an eye-catching reception zone out of simple timber.
Gradient fluted glass form partitions for café seating
Gradient fluted glass dividers separate café seating.
the entrance area of Unicorn Stores headquarters with grid lighting and accents of red arcs and circles
Red arcs and circles offer architectural riffs on the company logo.
backlit textile circles with botanical patterns
In a conference room, backlit custom textile circles offer a botanical touch to the timber banquette seating.
a pantry tile wall with white curved tiles accented by red grout
Red grout surrounding the pantry wall tiles reinforces the brand identity.
acoustic wall partitions in pastel graphics
Acoustic wall partitions in custom textiles offer a fresh take on traditional Japanese screen dividers.
an open work area with a pegboard wall
In open work areas, pegboard walls interface with Array task chairs by Lamex.
one of the corridors of Unicorn Stores headquarters with timber walls and ceilings
Timber unifies the corridor’s walls and ceilings.

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