The leading furniture supplier solidifies its Asia Pacific expansion with an immersive new showroom space.
11 September, 2023
At the mouth of the Singapore River sits Brunner’s newest showroom, a space within the new branch of award-winning Singaporean co-working brand The Work Project. Historically, the site has been a place of culture and merchants, home to the original Chartered Bank of India, Australia and China, and resting place of the esoteric Singapore Stone. These dual histories lay the foundation of both The Work Project and the Brunner showroom, an expansion of two brands that is informed by place and embedded pasts but driven by a commitment to the future.
Since 2020 Brunner has been steadily expanding its presence across Asia Pacific. Already a global leader in commercial furniture specifications, Brunner recognised the growth and urbanisation of the region would demand solutions for modern workplaces. This new showroom is an opportunity for the brand to set up roots in the Singaporean market, to service the needs of the local and international architecture and design community and to set up a network of clients, designers and craftsmen who are all invested in the continued growth of the Asia Pacific.
Yet this is no ordinary showroom. Forever the innovators, Brunner saw an opportunity to push the envelope of retail design and create an environment that is both immersive and experiential. Aptly named the “living showroom”, the space showcases products in situ, inviting designers, clients, and specifiers to fully interact with the Brunner collection.
“We wanted to go beyond the traditional idea of the showroom,” says Jean Paul de la Haye, Managing Director of Brunner Asia Pacific. “A living showroom showcases how our products can be used in a real-life scenario and allows visitors to experience the products, providing a tangible and sensory experience that goes beyond static displays or catalogues.”
In fact, the living showroom experience extends beyond the parameters of Brunner’s “official” space, with The Work Project fitout specifying many of the products featured in the brand’s curated offerings. The project interior design team, Matthew Shang Design Office, drew on Brunner’s catalogue of classic designs in neutral and muted colours to fill the co-working site, employing customised powder coat colours and materials that “highlight the flexibility of the products but also enhance the inherent sculptural beauty of them.”
“Brunner products are strongly represented throughout the fit-out, particularly in the meeting rooms and hospitality spaces,” notes Matthew Shang and Paul Semple, Directors of Matthew Shang Design Office. “So, we thought it essential the showroom/office was adjacent to a public zone so conversations could easily flow from the public zones to the more private one or vice versa. Brunner requested that guests who came into their showroom felt very welcomed with no barrier and so we wanted to design a space that not only showcased a range of products but, more importantly, ways of working and communicating within the office environment.”
Looking at the completed project, Brunner becomes a living brand, accessible through an interactive showroom or as furniture employed for patrons of the co-working space. Across the different levels and spatial zones, some of Brunner’s most iconic pieces are in play, including the Ray conference table, chair, and lounge, Fina meeting table and chair, Hoc stool, Mudra chair, Cellular, Nate chair and the Crona chair.
These products, pillars of modern workplace design, provide an artful juxtaposition to the wider site of The Work Project, not just in their palette and materiality, but in their very being.
“The new site for The Work Project at Six Battery Road, is a red granite edifice that is a significant pillar of commerce and culture in Singapore,” reflects Junny Lee, Founder and CEO of The Work Project. “With its prime Raffles Place address and the coveted river views, we have carved, hewn and created a fascinating and intriguing environment within this building.”
Indeed, the building appears to be carved from rock, with deep red granites and ochres creating a richness and materiality that makes the space almost museum-like. Geometric cutouts in robust timber screens and tessellated stone floors add to the density of the space, an anchor of a building that bridges both past and present. The injection of Brunner products, a mixture of sleekness and softness, creates a contrast that brings the space to life, adding a playfulness and spirit to the building and creating zones that bring intimacy to the vastness of the historic site.
For Grant Humphreys, Managing Director APAC, the conference room on Level 3 is a perfect testament to the symbiosis of site, design and product. Displaying the Ray conference table and chair, the room not only showcases the functionality and craftsmanship of the Brunner ethos but is a testament to the thoughtful design integration of space and product.
“The warm, natural wood finish of the Ray conference table plays off the abstract carpeting, creating a sense of warmth and inviting atmosphere. The chair’s Burgundy leather upholstery and dark cherry powder-coated frame adds a touch of elegance and further ties into the colour scheme of the interior space, while the meeting table’s integrated power outlets and cable management system provide convenient access to technology, facilitating seamless presentations and connectivity,” says Humphreys.
For users of The Work Project, the newest site on the Singapore River is no doubt an ideal place to work. Panoramic views, beautiful surroundings and a historic site provide a triangulation of appeal, with the quality and function of the Brunner range only adding to the experience. Stepping into the specific living showroom space draws on this working environment, providing the opportunity to see the products in action and give inspiration on exceptional office environments for the modern age.
As Junny Lee aptly comments, “This living showroom, where the library of components interact harmoniously under a common narrative, exemplifies what is possible when talented collaborators come together with a shared passion and vision.” Explore the Brunner collection here.
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