SAY GOODBYE TO OFFICE SYNDROME EVEN AFTER A LONG HAUL IN FRONT OF THE SCREEN IN INTELTION’S OFFICE SPACE DESIGNED BY ONION
The dramatic transformation of the methods and behaviors as to the way people work brought about by the revolutionary and progressive evolution of digital technology allow for us to work from practically anywhere with the right computer and Internet connection. With the younger generation’s changing attitude towards work and being a part of an organization, the conventional workspace may not be able to best resonate the preferences of modern users. The line between work and lifestyles has never been more invisible as creativity, inspiration and facilitation of connection become equally important and in demand. All of the aforementioned is reflected in the design of Inteltion’s office space that has ONION supervising the project while added in is further consideration for the employees’ health and well-being.
Inteltion is a company that provides computing system services to companies and organizations. With the majority of employees being engineers and experts in computer systems and programming, the working method and protocol of the office’s personnel is not much different from the current trend where the use of personal computers and internal communication are indispensable. Such activities can take place with the need for all the staffs’ physical presence from nine-to-five. The company’s executives’ recognition of this fact led to the idea of renovating the office space with ONION’s approach being to open the 170-square-meter space on the 14th floor of the Paholyothin Place Building that was once strictly partitioned into one unified spatial program. Not only does the design help to facilitate connectivity between each unit, but it also brings a nice amount of natural light into the interior space. The standard-sized working desks and outdated office furniture and decoration such as cubical partitions that render a sense of enclosure and confinement have been replaced with new furniture specifically designed to accommodate the current usage. With the discovery that the staff no longer wants to have a personal workspace but more so a kind of spatial program that is adaptable to different activities and would allow for them to work flexibly in comfortable postures, ONION executed the working space into two parts, located right at the middle of the office area. The first part hosts a long communal working table that everyone can share while the second part is designed to have a definite perimeter for those who want more privacy. In addition to the working space, the office is also comprised of an executive’ room and two meeting rooms. The 3 track sliding partitions of the large meeting room can be readjusted to link with the staffs’ working space. The pantry was designed with the look and feel of a counter bar and is situated at the furthest end of the floor. At the back of the bar, the staff can prepare an easy meal while the circulation in this particular area leads to the restrooms.
ONION also intended to maximize the usage of the space by combining different functionalities within the furniture such as the design of the built-in seats in the large meeting room with compartments that can be used as storage. The space on top of the document cabinets hosts a casual workspace with large pillows waiting for people who want to enjoy a little change of scenery.
THE DESIGN INVITES AND PROPOSES A BETTER AND HEALTHIER OFFICE LIFE WITH A FRIENDLY TONE
Mentioned earlier is ONION’s attempt to design a functional space that best resonates with the changing physical usage. And now comes the highlight of Inteltion, which is essentially the facilitation of a working atmosphere that stimulates the employees’ engagement and enjoyment of new activities. The design invites and proposes a better and healthier office life with a friendly tone. As many of us are aware of the symptoms that are the indications of office syndrome and the threats it poses on the well-being of modern-day office workers, especially those whose responsibilities include long hours sitting before a computer screen, ONION gets people off their chairs to help relax their vision and muscles. The design team studied postural exercises for the staffs’ daily routine and, inspired by the fitness equipment in a public park, the postures and theory of light exercise that focuses on moving and stretching the human body became the concept of the design of one of the project’s key elements including some of the furniture and decorative items, which will be mentioned later.
ONION DOESN’T FAIL TO STAND OUT FOR THEIR ABILITY TO CHALLENGE PEOPLE’S PERCEPTIONS TOWARDS THE NORMS
A white, round steel structure crawls from the office’s communal area as it turns into a seating structure. Hanging from the ceiling, the structure is strong enough to bear the weight of the users’ different exercise postures. A punching bag is also hung from the very same structure for those who want to produce more sweat. The round chairs that are jointed to the structure can be turned as users move their bodies, reminding them to constantly keep in motion. Also added into the program are the details of the visual communication design that help the staff to exercise their brains. Installed on one of the walls of the executive room is a magnetic Othello set while located in the big meeting room are rails with wooden beads created not as a gimmick of the built-in cabinet but rather as a tool for counting the scores of ping pong competitions, which use the meeting table as their playing field. Not only that, if one looks closely, they will see the geometric patterns on certain parts of the wall, which function as designated spots for users to place their hands while pushing towards the wall as a way to stretch their body and muscles. This very same tactic is used in a miniature scale in order for the staff to exercise their fingers by moving them along the provided symbols. The geometric form is actually the adaptation of the company’s logo, manifesting ONION’s attention to detail that creatively combines the corporate identity with the physical workspace.
No matter how important the element of fun is factored into the design of the space, ONION shows no compromise when it comes to functionality and usage, from the incorporation of Ergonomics whose discipline highlights the size, proportion and angle of a piece of furniture to the effective and sufficient organization of space for hard copy documents. ONION doesn’t fail to stand out for their ability to challenge people’s perceptions towards the norms as well as the masterful incorporation of product and communication design into the interior space. Their attempt to change office furniture and interior elements into fitness equipment is a message to the staff about the organization’s recognition of the importance of their health and wellbeing. What the work reflects is a sense of playful creativity that perfectly encapsulates this time when the line between work, play and life has never been blurrier. Ultimately, the most articulated element of the design is the story of the way human interactions are facilitated and contribute to the meaningful existence of an office space including the contemporary time it is conceived from and lives in.
TEXT: NANTHANA BOONLA-OR