While looking at a utopian past for inspiration, Adiacent China’s new office by Quarta & Armando pushes the boundaries of workspace design with flexible seating and fluid spaces.
Adiacent is a company headquartered in Italy that helps navigate the complexities of digital business globally. For the design of their new China office, Quarta & Armando envisioned a space to support existing operational needs while proposing new strategies for the ever-evolving landscape of workplaces, and integrating sustainability and flexibility into an employee-centric approach.
The Chinese digital space is burgeoning, and companies like Adiacent are increasingly in demand on the market. Since its establishment in 2021, its China branch experienced tremendous growth in employee size and business complexity, calling for new ways to facilitate collaboration between departments, rationalize processes and promote a healthy and positive workplace culture among its employees. After interviewing a number of key stakeholders in the project, Quarta & Armando devised a spatial strategy inspired by principles of urban planning.
Drawing from Adiacent’s Italian and specifically Florentine heritage, the resulting concept is that of a Renaissance ideal town, with harmonious perspective and the self-organization of city-dwellers as defining principles. The main element organizing the space is a geometric grid of “roads”, defined underfoot by the different shades of the polished concrete flooring, connecting different departments or “quarters” with each other and key functional areas for meeting, storage and recreation. The resulting quarters are equipped with custom-sized desks that employees are encouraged to occupy flexibly according to the different collaboration needs required by each project.
Each intersection between two roads is marked by a metal-clad service tower which reflects the natural lighting coming from the surrounding strip windows and is equipped with a coffee and tea station as well as storage for waste recycling. Connected with the working area, a large open “piazza” is the place where formal and informal meetings take place. To facilitate encounters is a long wooden countertop and theater staircase custom-made from wood wool fiber and mounted on wheels that can be easily moved around for different purposes, from smaller internal presentations to larger events. In order to keep the amount of materials used to a minimum, the same drywall technique has been used across the whole space for both the opaque partitions of the meeting rooms and the two large storage areas (one of which placed in front of the main entrance), in which the metal structure has simply been left exposed or partially clad with semi-transparent PVC panels.
The lighting system, designed to provide uniform and indirect lighting across the whole space, relies on custom-made perforated stainless steel lamps which illuminate the exposed ceiling structure rather than the desks, preventing fatigue from excessive light exposure.
While looking at a utopian past for inspiration, Adiacent China’s new office pushes the boundaries of workspace design with flexible seating and fluid spaces. As the meaning of work changes in the age of remote working, innovative offices can set companies like Adiacent for success in future employee engagement and client satisfaction.
Both c-suite and employees were involved especially in the concept stage of the design. We asked to everyone in each different role what were their needs, what was not working in their office now and what can be implanted. Through these conversations we found out for example that it was more important for employees to have generous common spaces than a large desk to work in, or that artificial light and noise control were of great importance to them. All these details were integrated into the design right from the beginning.
- The office furniture was supplied by Sunon.
- The ceiling lamps with indirect lighting and the “service towers” that are also providing sound proof are original designs by Quarta & Armando.
- Design: Quarta & Armando
- Design team: Gianmaria Quarta, Michele Armando, Carlin Sun, Zhao Zhuoran
- Location: Xiangyang Road 97, Shanghai, China
- Inspired by Adiacent’s red dot logo, Quarta & Armando inserted it in details throughout the space such as in the acoustic panels in the meeting rooms and the dots around the “service towers”.
Peter Dixie / LOTAN