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Evans Lee Design’s office focuses on art and people

Evans Lee Design’s new workspace in Guangzhou is a minimal, labyrinthine space that eschews the formality of typical office culture.

  • Evans Lee Design’s office focuses on art and people

Evans Lee Design’s new office is a large contrast to its former workspace. From a 20-square-metre room on the eighth floor of a building with no elevator, his staff can now enjoy working in the prime International Finance Centre (IFC) in Guangzhou, China, spread over 660-square-metres with a panoramic view from the 52nd floor. The location is also now more central – from the district of Hangpu to Guangzhou’s Central Business District of Zhujiang.   

Given this much more space to play with, Lee thoughtfully conceived a layout that takes into account the flow of movement for staff and visitors, as well as areas for social engagement and efficacious work. His office and informal discussion area are located on the left of the entrance, the open meeting spaces and entertainment areas in the centre, and work desks at the most private right-hand corner. 

Evans Lee Design Guangzhou office at IFC Tower_5

Inspired by China’s Suzhou Gardens, the fluid plan enables staff to freely move from one zone to another without dead ends. Along the perimeter of the glass curtain wall are tilted pillars, embraced as quirks rather than concealed. Furniture and joinery manoeuvre around such that they become architectural sculptures within the spaces.  

Another key idea in the design is the office as an art gallery. “As we spend a lot of time in the office, I endeavour to build it as another ‘home’. I hope it can be like a gallery – a space of freedom, purity and art – to [inspire] our team to work confidently,” says Lee. Artworks lend accents of colour and graphics into the mainly monochromatic space. At the entryway is Israeli artist David Gerstein’s Bicking IIA. It was one of the first artworks that Lee started appreciating; he now has seven in his collection. 

Evans Lee Design Guangzhou office at IFC Tower_8

“Putting this meaningful painting at the entryway, I can appreciate it every day,” he says. There is also Hiroshi Sugimoto’s on the beach image that gives Lee a sense of calm. In his private room, there is a 4.7-metre-long painting that Lee made by mixing sand with acrylic and oil paint. “It is my expression of this [office] space,” he highlights.

In the centre of the office, a bench made from an I-beam pays homage to Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe who is one of Lee’s design heroes. It straddles the open meeting area and the relaxation space as a connecting device. The office design’s strategy of using minimal strokes and colours to provide a strong spatial and visual impact comes from the German-American architect’s influence. 

Evans Lee Design Guangzhou office at IFC Tower

Unlike typical offices, there is a corner for miniature golf where Lee spends 20 minutes every morning. Like in a home, there is a kitchen with cooking equipment and a cinema-like casual meeting area with lounging furniture such as Gaetano Pesce’s Up armchair for B&B Italia. These reduce the formality of typical workspaces and focus instead on creating a relaxing, convivial atmosphere. 

“The best office spaces should focus on the integration of life and work, as well as increasing the openness and enjoyment of the [office] space. Instead of work as routine, I hope [my staff] like and enjoy what they are doing here,” says Lee on the office’s people-centric strategies.

Evans Lee Design Guangzhou office at IFC Tower_3
Evans Lee Design Guangzhou office at IFC Tower_6
Evans Lee Design Guangzhou workplace at IFC Tower_7
Evans Lee Design Guangzhou workplace at IFC Tower_2
Photography by K&J VISION, Ao Xiang

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Guangzhou IFC Office

Location: Guangzhou International Finance Centre, 52nd floor

Interior Design: Evans Lee Design

Project Manager: Zhang Xinhui

Project Team: Lu Yanling, Jay, Lin Jiazi

Total floor area: 660 sqm 

Date of completion: 1 Jan 2021

Time to complete: 3 months

Related: Yeahka office by JSPA Design boasts floating meeting rooms and staircases


Products Used In This Project

Carpet Fuli
Royana custom cabinets Yipin International Company
Zunlong custom cabinets Guangzhou Zunlong
FENIX conference table Fumei
Corian artificial stone Jinglei
Hong Kong Daming wallpaper Guangzhou Yingang Daming Trading
PanDOMO Paint Tong
Spotlight, tube-light and floor light Miji
Intelligent system lighting Hongyi
Custom LED light Light Custom Manufactures
Office desks and chairs Youyi
B&B Italia armchair Space Furniture
Living Divani sofa Space Furniture
MDF Italia chair & bookshelf P5 Studio
Television Bang & Olufsen
EuroCave wine cabinet Fine Brands
ASKO oven, refrigerator & plate warming machine Guangzhou Ya Shigao Trading

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