Can discretion and confidentiality be achieved in an expansive space no matter how much activity is happening? Through refined design and flexible arrangement, the new private client centre that is HSBC QRC Suites is placemaking at its best.
15 June, 2022
A place of business these days is required to be all things to all people. As a chameleon space, it is required to provide a flexible interior arrangement with amenity for working, comfort for meetings and luxury for relaxing, but also reflect and encapsulate a business brand to perfection.
The QRC Suites for HSBC in Hong Kong by Hassell is the embodiment of all these ideas, presenting a multi-faceted workplace and events space through creative and authentic thinking. The offices, situated in the iconic Norman Foster skyscraper designed in 1979, were ripe for updating. Through thoughtful planning and ingenious design methodology, Tom Herron, Principal at Hassell and his team, have achieved a sensational outcome.
The project involved a total re-fit of the 15th floor of the building and there were challenges to find just the ‘right note’ for the design to complement the original architecture. The interior design is, at first glance, simple with a concise colour palette and limited materiality. However the use of timber, leather and marble within the spectrum of white, beige, sand and tan is multi-layered, put together with incredible attention to detail.
There are 16 meeting rooms that have been designed as four pavilions, along with private booths, a dedicated event space at one end, outdoor areas for socialising and the ubiquitous facilities of utility rooms, kitchen and bathrooms. There is also a small apartment set to the side for launches and other special events. But perhaps the most notable feature of the planning and layout is the ability for the interior to transform into a very large event space – from meeting room, to work place, to social space.
This project is a bespoke and finely-crafted environment that reflects the HSBC brand but also speaks of artisanal design and the handmade. Over the 2640-square-metre floor plan, the interior is the epitome of a sophisticated workplace, poised to meet all requirements. It adapts and responds to the needs of the staff and their clients, expanding and contracting to meet the physical changes that business can demand, utilising an astounding eight different configurations.
One of the most notable features throughout the floor is a custom-made blade ceiling made of fabric (Barrisol), and folded extruded and perforated metal – a one-off designed by Herron. Through the translucency, between the actual structure of the ceiling, light is reflected within the interior but it is also a very modern and unique decorative addition.
All the suites and pavilions were designed by Hassell and custom-made by Unifor in Italy as well as the marble credenzas and conference table. Wallpapers (Signature Prints and 1938 Wall Coverings) and inlaid, hand-tufted, Zealand wool rugs and carpets (Argent Carpet) set the scene that is certainly one of a refined aesthetic. Another outstanding furniture addition in the delineated event space is an extended copper table that is some 3.6 metres in length. It is fine, exquisitely thin and appears to float in the air, and is truly a thing of beauty.
Greenery has also been incorporated into the design – at the reception area when one alights from the lift, and with large floor-to-ceiling terrariums that encase plants with leafy green boughs that have been placed intermittently throughout the floor plan.
The QRC Suites are exquisitely detailed, not one element has been left to chance. Add to this are the exceptional views at either end of the floor – the Harbour and the sea on one side, and the Peak and mountains at the other – and this workplace certainly reflects its place.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this project is in the interpretation of the client’s brief that takes the design to another level. Here, the very best ideas from the traditional meet the pared back lines of the modern and the result becomes an homage to the city itself.
This is a design of manifold parts, where a place means many things to a range of people but still fulfils its duty as a workspace for a busy company. With this project, Hassell has created another dimension for living and working high in the sky that incorporates the old and the new to become the best of both worlds.
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