We look at Ministry of Design’s inner sanctum through the eyes of its director of design, Colin Seah.
13 September, 2011
A “truly democratised space” is how Colin Seah describes the creative home of the internationally acclaimed design studio.
Colin Seah, MOD’s director of design
Ministry of Design or MOD now inhabits 6 converted shophouse units at the confluence of Singapore’s historic Chinatown area and the CBD. Importantly, the new studio employs the same key principles that govern the firm’s approach to design – typological relevance, a disciplined material and tonal palette and an ’essentialised’ concept.
While its old office was similarly housed in a heritage building, Seah says MOD’s present location offers greater room for interaction.
“The areas were much more fragmented,” says Seah, recalling MOD’s former studio. “It was a 2-storey space for the old office but we’re all on one floor now. It’s changed the way we work… the team also feels more united and the ties are closer.”
MOD had been determined to find a building large enough to accommodate its entire Singapore workforce of 22 on a single floor – to facilitate open communication and promote a truly open office without hierarchy or barriers, which it believes is essential in fueling innovation and creativity.
The linear series of spaces within the studio are choreographed in between the perimeter of twin datum lines – which form circulation axes spanning the entire space. Mirrored terminus points elongate these axes and become daily ’catwalks’. Resembling a barcode, a series of mixed program are positioned along these catwalks and range from a gallery space to meeting areas, open plan desks, hot desk discussion zones and a library.
All new interventions are conceived as objects within the landscape of the existing space and are designed to remain visually separated. Case in point: the gallery allows for constant renewal and serves as an avenue for MOD to express itself without needing to reinvent the entire studio.
“Apart from addressing the functions (public, like meeting rooms and a gallery versus private, like the work desks and library, etc) the environment needed to be simultaneously distinct yet neutral,” says Seah.
Having a neutral canvas was fundamentally important. “We could not have an environment that was overly designed so much that it would tone our thinking in a subconscious way,” he says.
“It’s exactly what we were looking for… the team loves it, we get to see what each other is doing and the energy is shared.”
Ministry of Design
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