A controlled palette and a clear demarcation of zones bring a distinct clarity to the new Singapore head office of law firm Clifford Chance.
16 January, 2013
Creating a sense of connection between segregated areas was a chief goal of lead designer Doug Thompson of Space Matrix.
“The reception and pantry are either side of the main services core of the building,” he explains of the unit in Marina Bay Financial Centre’s Tower 3.
By choreographing movement and identifying spaces through the use of distinct and consistent material choices, he was able to establish a readily identifiable connection between the segregated areas.
Clifford Chance was keen to achieve an “updated, more modern look” for the office, explains Thompson, while staying true to the company’s global brand guidelines. Space Matrix introduced walnut to the palette, which, he says, “slightly steered away from the more traditional timber in their other offices. However, it helped us create a more up-to-date look.”
In the reception, Thompson created two walnut ‘runways’ either side of a linear circulation route that is clearly demarcated with polished white tiles. The walnut ‘runways’ are replicated on the ceiling and floor (as is the zone of white), with strips of recessed lighting encouraging efficient movement into and through the space.
This arrangement of materials is replicated on the ‘pantry side’ of the building’s services core, creating clear visual and experiential links between the two segregated areas. Spectacular views of the Marina Bay area and the sea provide visual lures at the ends of the circulation paths, and are emphasised by the linear nature of the layout.
As is the case in the reception area, pantry furniture is relegated to the walnut ‘runway’ zones, leaving the central white spine clear for circulation. A bamboo-clad dining zone with orange booths and stools and a green edge treatment introduces vibrant colours to these social areas.
The other principal component of the palette is blue-filmed glass, which encloses the 3 main meeting rooms in the reception area. The framing system is concealed, giving the impression that the glazing emerges from the floor and disappears into the ceiling.
Within these meeting rooms, perforated walnut-clad walls perform acoustically and diffused illumination emanates from Barisol-ceiling light features.
Operable walls allow the large boardroom to be connected to 2 smaller meeting rooms to facilitate large meetings and functions.
In the main office area, the limited palette of walnut and blue glass continues. Intimacy was established in breakout areas through the use of blue glass screens and walnut-clad walls. Walnut was also used to finish the doors and glazing frames of the perimeter offices, and serves as something of an anchoring element throughout the interior.
Says Thompson, “We were fortunate to work with a very open-minded client who could see the value in creative design.”
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