Unbot by Prism Design Consulting Shanghai Co.: 2017 Best of Year Winner for Extra-Small Office
It’s a universal truth that a company existing only in the 21st century should have a correspondingly high-tech office. Scratch that. Founder Tomohiro Katsuki has subverted type with a surprisingly low-fi workplace for a Chinese e-commerce and social media marketing agency. The 4,700 square feet on two levels of an existing office building has a childlike sense of wonder in nature. For starters, rope netting surrounds the mezzanine level “tree house,” where after heads-down work employees can indulge in feet-up relaxation. Continuing the theme, painted-steel structural columns extend from trunklike columns like branches to support the lofted work space. Instead of the usual plastic laminate, OSB tops cast-in-place concrete bench desking on the main level. “You can really feel the tree. It’s almost alive,” Katsuki enthuses of the material. (Don’t worry, it’s also lightly varnished so as not to feel scratchy.)
The initial plans called for an office for 80 staff. When that increased to 130 midway through development, Katsuki added bench desking to the mezzanine initially intended as a meeting area. Like the seats below, it wends its way in a loose Möbius strip, an allusion to the Chinese loop of good fortune.
Project Designer: Che Qi.