For Sivantos Group’s Singapore HQ, PLH Arkitekter Draws Inspiration From Sound Waves
In 1878, German industrialist Werner von Siemens devised a telephone with incredibly sharp transmission. His company, Siemens, spent the next 137 years becoming a leader in audio technology. Then, in 2015, Sivantos Group spun off from Siemens to become one of the world’s foremost manufacturers of hearing aids. When Sivantos needed a new corporate headquarters for its 600 employees in Singapore, it enlisted PLH Arkitekter to transform three floors of 143,000 raw square feet.
PLH responded by wrapping one side of the reception area with hundreds of fins, their undulations inspired by the forms of sound waves. Made of CNC-routed MDF and spaced 1½ inches apart, the shiny white fins ripple down from the ceiling and wall into a long bench. “We were most excited about designing the sound wall,” PLH senior designer Kaan Alpagut recalls.
Counterbalancing all the white in reception are swells of saturated color. The blue of the Sivantos logo enters the scheme in the wall paint of the adjacent pantry and in the carpeting for the open office areas throughout. The latter features break-out areas (with such names as sound of celebration and sound of nature) anchored by built-in seating upholstered in fabric ranging from teal to coral. “The intention was to instill an atmosphere that’s vibrant and entrepreneurial,” Alpagut says. Bulletin boards in oranges and reds enliven meeting rooms, while chairs in the cafeteria host a more pastel palette of pinks, yellows, and greens.
Additional nods to sound waves appear in the pattern of the vinyl privacy film on the glazing fronting conference rooms and offices. One audible reference is more subtle: In select areas, maple-veneered paneling is acoustically treated. Even in the hushed environment, the Sivantos mission to provide hearing for all comes through loud and clear.