323 United Center Building 16th Fl. , Bangkok
Interior Architect : Archive Architects
Photographer : Supakorn srisakul
For their new office, multinational advertising agency Dentsu Plus wanted to craft out a strong identity through the architectural design. On an 800 sq.m. space inside the United Center building on Silom Road, the brief given to Archive Studio, a team of architects and landscape architects, was for the corporate image conveyed through the design to be explicit, new and different, at the same time as being inviting and comfortable.
If most construction works are box-like in form, using orthogonal lines to create floors, walls and ceilings that come together at right angle, the avoidance of such characteristics should help to create an atmosphere that is different from the norm. The architects have opted for this method, while the choice of the triangular form was a result of an initial decision to use plywood as the main material. As not only does plywood convey the sense of warmth, but it also comes in different thicknesses and therefore this one material can be applied to the entire scope of work, from floors to walls, ceilings and even furniture. The design process was then in effect to experiment with different plywood thicknesses in creating interior components. After considering the alternatives together with the technical skills of local construction workers and without the use of specialist knowledge or digital fabrication, the solution that the designers arrived at was a multifaceted form that can be created by combining triangular planes. The sizes of these triangles are designed according to the scale of the area in which they are employed.
1. Reception / Hall of Fame
2. Meeting area
3 .Office area
4. Financial department
5. Management team
6. Outdoor garden
7. Discussion bar
The programmatic layout is another important factor that helped to make this office design distinctive. The area has been divided into two main sections, a more open area and a closed one. The former is the open-plan office area for 80 staff, while the closed area is for meeting rooms and executives, who require more privacy. Instead of small volumes dispersed throughout the office space, this latter set of rooms have been combined together into one large mass. Abutting the entrance and reception area, it also acts as the front façade traversing the whole width of the space, acting like a large-scale sculpture displayed inside a glass box, and functioning as an eye-catching and impressive entry for the office.
The architects have also made use of an advantage of the multifaceted form, which allows the various planes: floor , wall and ceiling to connect together more seamlessly(unlike the box form where vertical walls serve to clearly separate spaces off from each other) ensuring a sense of continuity in the transition space. This results in semi-private spaces that, in addition to the use of plywood, help to add more warmth and make the overall space more inviting. The transition areas between the closed and open sections of the office, have ceilings that fold down into walls and floors to produce meeting areas for smaller groups that they call ‘think tank’. The same thing has been applied to the transition space between the closed mass and the glass wall to the front to create a reception area and a façade with fluid forms that serve as a welcoming approach . In addition, the design of the outdoor terrace area not only marches those of the interior in terms of the use of lines and angular forms, but the partitioning of the area into little corners and the selection of plants with an eye to variation in both texture and color are all part of the desire to produce a friendly and comfortable atmosphere in a space otherwise dominated by sharp and aggressive lines.
Creating an identity for something is a technique that is both subtle and meticulous, requiring the careful analysis and dissemination of information together with an effective strategy, whether it’s for a brand, corporate identity or even our own personality through social media platforms. Creating an identity to attract attention can be done in various ways, from straightforwardly baring all to boost Likes all the way to more sophisticated and discerning marketing strategies. The same can be said for architecture, where the attempt to create something different from the norm may seem like something undemanding because ‘ordinariness’ is something that can be measured with statistics and is the common understanding of the majority. While advances in design and building technology and equipment have eliminated almost all limitations towards spectacular forms. At a time when differentiation is commonplace, the key to design becomes about what designers choose as their strategy, whether it’s sensationalism or something more intelligent that could truly differentiate their works both from ordinary things as well as those that are only pretending to be different.