The Dragon Roars: EDG (China) Corporation’s Tencent Headquarters
Beautifully coinciding with the Year of the Dragon, representing vision and ambition, EDG (China) Corporation unveiled a project inspired by the paradigm shift in a culture steeped in tradition. The Shenzhen building is part of the headquarters of Tencent, China’s largest Internet portal and instant-messaging service, boasting 700 million registered users. Employee age group: twentysomething. EDG chief designer David Ho is significantly older than that, so a large part of his assignment was to imagine what kind of office would “engage the staff’s attention and interest,” simultaneously managing conventional expectations and celebrating new-media self-determination, he explains.
Ho developed the concept Between Two Worlds for the 11-story, 265,000-square-foot building, carrying over the previous scheme of an open plan based on workstations, flexible meeting spaces, and break-out areas. Traffic flow through each level’s unique configuration is guided by partitions of lacquered MDF strips, steel mesh, or translucent PVC. Flooring is either nylon carpet or bamboo. Energy-efficienct task lamps supplement overhead lighting. Overall, Ho says, the interior expresses “a youthful and creative culture and its unique position between the physical and virtual realities of modern Chinese society.” And it’s not only Ho who’s pleased with the result. Excitement over the building has spread virally among the demographic that Tencent aims to attract. “When I graduate from university,” a comment on one of the company Web sites reads, “I want to work in this office.”