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M Moser’s culturally resonant workspace for Kids2

The Kids2 Shanghai office champions brand storytelling while strengthening connections with customers and partners in China.

Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-front-of-house


BY Vanitha Pavapathi

12 April, 2021


Workplaces have become less institutional and more imaginative than ever before. They are designed to foster creative collaborative work, nurture meaningful visitor engagement, evoke emotional connections, deliver a healthful environment and most importantly, champion brand storytelling. 

A case in point is the playful and interactive Kids2 Shanghai office, which emphasises the baby toy and gear brand’s ingenuity, and its community-centric approach. As part of Kids2’s expansion operations in China, the intent was to create a permanent showroom in its creative workspace to better showcase its products to visitors and stakeholders instead of limiting itself to just design fairs.

With a media company to boot, Kids2 is more than just a baby product enterprise. With an objective to make parenthood easier, it constantly seeks better solutions to create more “tiny wins” for all parents everywhere. This led Kids2 in enlisting M Moser Associates that share the same passion for excellence to design the 6,200-square-foot workplace located within the prestigious Shanghai Tower.

The space embraces modernist design principles like open plan, honest materials, and simple volumes to build a design-driven environment. In addition to a “digital experience area” that provides an immersive, interactive journey through the company’s products for visitors, the office is dotted with design touches that blend Kids2’s international roots with Chinese sensibilities. Project leads, Beatrice Tumatelli and Yvan Prudent of M Moser Associates share more about the design process with us.

What kind of engagements/interactions did the design team have with the client that informed the design?

Yvan Prudent (YP): Kids2 has a playful and interactive culture. So it was apt to conduct workshops with the different departments at the Atlanta headquarters to better understand their vision for the space and how they would like people to connect with the space. To do so, we took a gamification approach; we had the staff pick a selection of flashcards for the different types of interactions (goals they want to achieve, actions they can do in the space, etc) they envision.

Kids2-Shanghai-culturally-resonant-workplace

How then was the space conceptualised so visitors can better understand Kids2’s branding and culture?

Beatrice Tumatelli (BT): The approach was to make it very immersive with interactive and playful elements all around the office space. There are so many references to traditional Chinese games in the form of creative signage and installations. These graphics connect the brand’s international legacy with its commitment to local consumers. Guided by a “playground” concept, the workplace showcases the brand’s products in Shanghainese Shikumen lanes, triggering visual fond memories for local visitors, which in turn nurtures an emotional connection to the brand. The lounge area was instrumental in conveying this message as well as the brand’s aspiration to be a design-driven company. There, visitors can capture a selfie that is organically embedded on the “face mosaic” LED screen.

Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-lounge-area

YP: To reinforce branding and humanise the workplace experience, we curated a series of accessories such as water bottles with wooden caps reminiscent of a Tuoluo (spinning top), felt coasters engraved with the meeting room name, and more.

Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-brand-accessories

How did you explain and reinforce the brand’s “tiny win” philosophy to making parenthood easier in the experience of the office space?

BT: Digital storytelling was a critical component. Activating engaging learning sessions and addressing space limitations, the product showroom is equipped with iPads for easy digital access to Kids2’s brand portfolios (Baby Einstein, Ingenuity and Bright Starts). The boardroom, too, has been designed with flexibility in mind, where it can be expanded into a “digital experience area”, featuring four projection set-ups and acoustic facilities.

YP: We imagined a couple of interactions on the iPads in the form of games that would trigger the videos to play on a large screen. This celebrates the organisation’s philosophy of “tiny wins.” Other times, there are videos showing scenes of everyday lives such as a baby’s growth and development. It was important for the brand to convey that their products are as much for babies as they are for parents.

Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-boardroom Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-boardroom-and-digital-experience-area

What were some considerations when creating this digital experience for the office and tying it in with the physical experience of the spaces?

YP: Kids2 is heavily into developing content now and they want to be recognised as a digital content developer, not just a company that has been inventing baby products for over 50 years. So, the creation of the digital experience was an obvious choice, which we developed in collaboration with Kids2’s communication team. Strategy-wise, we tried to get the right sequencing with each experience, both physical and digital, to serve the narrative while reinforcing the brand image.

We also wanted to showcase Kids2’s wide product range in the product showroom. But due to space limitations, we had to find digital means to achieve this. This turned out to be a comprehensive digital catalogue in support of the limited physical products that can be displayed in the showroom. By digitally augmenting reality, visitors and partners are able to see the items in different colours. This solution not only saves space but also presents interactive engagements.

Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-product-showroom Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-interior-product-showroom

The goal was also to create a community-centric space. What are some key features of the project that address this? 

BT: In order to support creative activities in this integrated office space, we’ve created reconfigurable work areas that feature multiple flexible, modular set-ups. Since Kids2 wanted to make the office space completely flexible, we planned for portable power packs for the mobile and height-adjustable tables. Even boards and screens are movable. There are also more intimate work areas throughout the office to build better rapport amongst co-workers, and encourage creativity and collaboration in a small group.

Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-reconfigurable-work-area Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-modular-office-set-up Kids2-Shanghai-workplace-interior

Photography by Seth Powers

Related: Three Approaches To Workplace Design By M Moser


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