An architecture firm in India gets a new space that boosts their employees’ creativity and productivity.
That our surroundings affect our mood, productivity and creativity is a universally acknowledged fact, and the designers at Arkiplan International took that literally when they designed their architectural office with an abundance of spaces that range from private and communal to formal and casual to give the creative minds behind the firm an environment that keeps their creativity, energy and spirit scales high.
There are different punctual elements that come together to enliven the great working space. The office opens up to a reception donned by a magnificent parametric table with the backdrop of a green wall and faces a semi-formal meeting room in the tones of warm yellow. Rather than confronting the open reception with the closed meeting room, a complementary, coherent whole has been created with a sleek divider.
The office follows an open plan layout to foster communication among the staff and seeks to create engagement through design and design through engagement. With the open floor plan comes the responsibility to create breakout areas where people can get a few moments of quiet or concentrate. It has been catered to with several quiet spaces. A stepped seating in leather-finish granite provides the opportunities for spontaneous conversations and a creative setting for casual recreation and refreshment. The steps look upon a wall of human-sized sculptures based on the theme of ‘Resurgam’, which translates to I shall rise again. It inspires people to look beyond their current struggles in the hopes of a blissful tomorrow and future.
When was the project completed?
How much space?
2,250 square feet, net
Was this new or renovated space?
SF per person?
Just under 100 square feet per person
How many employees?
What is average daily population?
Describe workspace types.
Our goal for the office was to keep the space as open as possible with lots of alternative work settings to foster collaboration and bonding. The open work stations are surrounded by a mix of private conference rooms, open collaboration spaces and breakout areas. The workstations have been strategically placed around the windows to avoid any glare. This has been done to minimize the need for lights during daytime and to optimally utilize the natural light available. Apart from that, there is an open reception area, a private admin and server room and the principal architect’s cabin. The employees can also choose to work from any of the breakout areas in the premises
What kind of meeting spaces are provided?
There are two meeting spaces in the office that can seat up to six or eight people each. These two rooms vary widely in their furniture and language. The formal meeting room consists of a traditional conference table and chair arrangement and is home to a corten steel word cloud that features the verticals and the chief value drivers of the company. The formal meeting area is also compatible with Amazon Alexa that can be used to set various moods and settings in the space. The semi-formal meeting area, on the other hand, is in the tones of warm yellow to break the monotony of all-white corporate spaces. The space features a height-adjustable table and bar stools to make long design discussions more comfortable. Both the meeting rooms use smart TV displays to aid meetings, conferences, video calls and presentations.
What other kind of support space or amenity spaces are provided?
To cater to the highly creative workforce of Arkiplan International, several breakout areas have been designed around the premises. There is a stepped seating area that faces a wall of human-sized sculptures which are based on the theme of human struggle- Resurgam. The area serves as a collaboration space as well as recreational zone. Right next to the stepped seating is the counter-height bar table and stool arrangement which has been designed for refreshments plus team discussions. There is another open breakout area on the terrace garden which serves as a relaxation area with all the natural light and air. There are also spaces dedicated to common support rooms like pantry, server room, storage units and reception area.
What is the project’s location and proximity to public transportation and/or other amenities?
The office is in close proximity to the Rapid Metro station which is just 1.5 miles away while shopping complexes, popular eateries, salons and retail stores reside close.
Was the C-Suite involved in the project planning and design process? If so, how?
The entire staff along with the principal architect of the firm were heavily involved in the designing process of the office, right from the plans and drawings to finishes and textures. In fact, the entire designing and planning process was headed by the principal architect of the firm.
What kind of programming or visioning activities were used?
A considerable amount of time was spent in discussions and meetings with the teams to find out how they were working, how they would work in an ideal world and the desired culture. The idea was to identify what they wanted to experience in the new space.
Were any pre-planning surveys conducted to get employee input?
Yes, the entire staff was involved in the design process of the office. In fact, routine meetings were held to finalize the concept, plans, layout and design for the facility.
Were there any other kind of employee engagement activities?
We worked with the workforce directly to understand and learn how each team functions and their seating arrangement was planned accordingly to encourage design through engagement and engagement through design. All the designers were also directly involved in the designing and planning process of the office to come up with something that was beneficial for all.
Were any change-management initiatives employed?
To ensure that all the employees were well-informed about the ‘move’, the staff was kept updated about the new location, design and its elements in advance and their feedback taken into account.
Please describe any program requirements that were unique or required any special research or design requirements.
As employee engagement was a major objective of this project, the breakout areas became an issue of importance. There is a variety of time-out zones that range from a casual stepped seating to a counter-height bar table area. There is also an outdoor seating area on the terrace garden to offer a generous dose of natural light, air and greenery to the employees. All of these spaces have been designed as flexible areas which can be used as collaboration spaces, refreshment zones and recreational sections.
Was there any emphasis or requirements on programming for health and well-being initiatives for employees?
Health and well-being initiatives were of great importance not only for attraction but also to coincide with the recent need to be sustainable. Moreover, the firm is led by a LEED AP architect, so, sustainability was always a matter of concern. The office addresses energy, heat and lighting from a sustainable perspective. This is done by minimizing the usage of the first, reducing the gain of the second and optimally utilizing the resources of the third. Not just that, the premises also have a terrace garden and an indoor green wall to strengthen the indoor-outdoor connection. Almost all the workstations and breakout areas also have access to natural light.
Were there any special or unusual construction materials or techniques employed in the project?
The fluid table has been made out of FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Plastic) as it was the only material that could support its design and curves while still keeping a tab on the weight. Another interesting material used in the office is corten steel, that gets its name from corrosion resistance and tensile strength, which sums up its properties.
For specific examples, please describe the product, how it was used, and if it solved any specific problem.
Getting the fluid table of the founder manufactured wasn’t as smooth as its curves. After being turned down by various furniture vendors, success was accomplished with a local artist who proposed to hand sculpture the table molds and then manufactured it from FRP (Fiber-Reinforced Plastic). The table is symbolic of the flexible design approach of the firm that conforms to no set norms and takes a flexible route with design.
What was the hard cost PSF/construction?
What kind of branding elements were incorporated into the design?
The office is truly vibrant and reflects the distinct style of the architecture firm. Crisp lines, flowing curves, lacquered surfaces and a play of levels are all expressions of the versatility of design. Meticulous detailing and careful planning of all types of spaces, light fixtures and acoustic dry walls celebrate Arkiplan’s rigorous and empirical approach to design.
What is the most unique feature of the new space?
There are quite a few unique features in the office. The various unique tables were custom designed and manufactured for the workspace. The parametric reception table conforms to no norms and is made up of 184 distinct pieces of wood held together by rods. The fluid table of the founder is symbolic of the fluid design approach of the architecture firm. Due to its smooth curves, it was a challenge to get the table manufactured and success was accomplished not with any furniture vendor but a local artist.
The human-sized sculptures were created to inspire the workforce to look beyond their current struggles and hardships in the hopes of a blissful tomorrow. The artwork has been aptly named Resurgam which translates to ‘I shall rise again.’ All these elements were designed and conceptualized by the in-house team of designers at Arkiplan International. The designers worked very closely with a few specialized vendors to get these pieces manufactured.
Are there any furnishings or spaces specifically included to promote wellness/well-being?
The team meeting room features a height-adjustable table to make long design discussions more comfortable. The roof also has a terrace garden with seating to provide fresh air and greenery to the staff.
What kind of technology products were used?
Based on applications of the Internet of Things, Arkiplan’s swanky new ‘self-learning office’ is a legitimate example of what an intelligent use of the modern day technology looks and feels like. Lights that work on occupancy schedules keeping in mind daylight savings, blinds that sway with the sun and cameras that stream real-time footage, all of it is based on the proprietary technology of the company. Not just that, the facility is voice-controlled and compatible with Google Home and Amazon Alexa. The space is connected in its entirety to a network with intelligent and adaptable software. At a fundamental level, such intelligence would not only result in an enhanced experience but also pave the way for energy savings.