Hyundai Conference Center by Gensler: 2016 Best of Year Winner for Small Corporate Office
Modestly sized yet much used, a 6,250-square-foot amenity makes a huge statement at the headquarters of a financial giant. But that certainly wasn’t the case when principal Philippe Paré initially saw the double-height space—it had the feel of a tired high-school auditorium, a vibe not exactly befitting the brand’s futuristic aesthetic. After Paré’s remodel, the inspired result is part theater, part light-and-space installation in the James Turrell or Robert Irwin vein.
Enveloping the oblong volume, pristine white acoustical plaster recalls the seamless backgrounds used in photo shoots. Apertures in the plaster not only accommodate HVAC needs but also house recessed LEDs that conjure the effect of glowing arches. Darker touches act as a counterpoint. Charcoal-gray needle-punched carpet demarcates the audience zone, while sound-dampening gray felt sheathes the rear wall.
The stage is so minimalist as to seem almost an abstraction. In lieu of a traditional platform, glossy white epoxy floor paint simply replaces the carpet. Close to the stage, chairs form rows for company-wide meetings. Behind the chairs, benches roll out from their hiding place, a tall blackened-steel structure that runs almost the entire width of the back wall. Also housing audiovisual equipment and a pantry and supporting a state-of-the-art seminar venue on top, this impressive multitasker is nicknamed the Machine.
Project Team: Mirko Wanders; Joanne Chan; Tina Rothermund; Amy Pokawatana; Marissa Tan-Gatue; Shawn Shin; Julia Park; Fernando Flores; Shun Nagasaka.