Designing an office space for a design firm was a rare privilege for M Moser, and led to a repeat engagement by the satisfied client.
22 January, 2013
With a history spanning six decades and offices in the USA, UK and Singapore, WATG is a prominent design consultant for the hospitality, leisure and entertainment industries. Wimberly Interiors is a WATG design studio, specialising in hospitality interiors. When the time came to move its Singapore office, the firm turned to workplace design specialist M Moser Associates. It had, after all, been particularly impressed by M Moser’s design for its own Singapore office.
Says Lowell Law, Senior Associate at M Moser and project director, “We were delighted to take on this project. Designing for a designer is a unique challenge and not one that comes along very often. There does not need to be any courtship and the process and discussions can revolve around the conceptual and the visual.”
She continues, “Inevitably, the process will be iterative and the ideas are likely to come from both sides of the table, as was the case with WATG. This is stimulating but requires strong management to ensure that the result is not just a work of fantasy. All parties involved were very pleased with the outcome.”
WATG’s previous office presented multiple problems: the high-rise interior in Singapore’s CBD contained many enclosed managers’ offices, and limited space in which design teams could collaborate. A corridor split the office into two wings, and an entry holding area belied WATG’s corporate mission of ‘designing destinations’.
The new space within 8 Commonwealth – a low-rise industrial building surrounded by open fields and trees – allowed the creation of a spacious, open-plan office. It is filled with natural light, ample circulation space and multiple collaboration areas specific to different activities.
A sense of travel and arrival at a destination is encouraged by the entrance experience. The front doors reveal a kinking pathway lined with faceted wood panelling on one wall, and images of resorts and WATG’s ‘designing destinations’ mantra (translated into multiple languages) on the other.
The conference and meeting rooms are positioned at the front of house, and it is only after journeying down the path to the waiting area that the entirety of the vibrant 8,800-square-foot work space is revealed.
120-degree workstations with low-height screens create natural workgroups and an organic flow in the open-plan space. The workspace has numerous collaboration areas for impromptu meetings in different settings – sit-down discussion tables or stand-up workbenches. A life-sized scale ruler helps designers with spatial visualisation.
Says Dave Moore, WATG’s Senior Vice President and Managing Director of the Singapore office: “Since we’ve moved into the new space, we’ve seen a shift in the way the teams work and collaborate because of the new office layout. The open floor plan and low partitions allow our staff to organically interact with each other, and create a more natural environment for design collaboration.”
The design also gave the teams ample space for design reviews throughout the office, explains Moore, with the incorporation of large pin-up spaces in the main office area and in the conference rooms. He adds, “We’ve taken the pin-up space at the columns and created a ‘client walk’, which allows us to walk new and existing clients through the office and present them with current work along the way.”
Growth in WATG’s staff headcount has been easily accommodated by the honeycomb layout of the 120-degree workstations, but expansion of the office is also underway within an adjacent tenancy. When the new space is completed, it will flow continuously from the existing office. M Moser is also designing the expansion – surely a sign of a fruitful designer-client relationship.
M Moser Associates
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