Shaw Contract conducted interviews with all firms of all Market Award winning projects from the 2016 Design Is…Award program. As part of this process, we always like to share a portion of the response on our blog for readers to learn about the winning projects. These are their stories.
Describe this project in one word.
How does this project demonstrate design impact?
The use of dramatic design elements instantly creates interest and draws in the viewer, client or passerby. By use of elements such as the oversized “ZO” lightbox in reception and the stretched canvas ceiling in the boardroom – both visible from the building atrium – curiosity is created before even entry. Once inside, the office space is filled with bold features and bright blue accents, the most striking of which is the round, blue pod at the heart of the interior, creating a memorable hub in the journey through the space for both visitors and employees.
Each project is a process. Explain your journey with this space.
The Paragon Interiors team spent many hours collaborating with our client, ensuring a thorough and detailed understanding of the inner workings of the Zenith Optimedia/Newcast team. By taking into account the requirements, as well as a history of the company, we developed the idea of the “Tree of Opportunities”, based on the concept of African children sitting under a tree, learning from their elders, sharing knowledge. Cognizant of the international standard of their various branches worldwide, we maintained a strong African connection, and most importantly, creating a corporate yet playful office interior. Each design element relates to the big idea of the “Tree of Opportunities”, from the tree-like pod design, to the dappled shadow effects of the carpet pattern, the design works together harmoniously, telling a single story.
Tell us about any challenges or lessons learned from working on this project.
As with all projects, it was important to design with budget in mind. This project required some highly creative thinking to achieve the desired outcome and to achieve the look and feel within the given budget. Another challenge was that the office space had very little access to natural light as the majority of the space was close to the core of the building. We dealt with this by allocating the staff café area to the space with exterior views – allowing equal access to all employees and creating a multi-functional space where employees are encouraged to collaborate, meet and work throughout the day. With the lack of external views, it was important to create visual cues internally, giving us the creative freedom to come up with various interesting and unexpected feature elements. The most important lesson learned was that nothing is impossible when the creative juices are flowing – budgets and space restrictions may set the boundaries, but the end result is up to your imagination.
On trends: Is there anything in particular with this project that is reflective of current culture/society?
The layout and design of the space is based on the concept of collaboration, which has become a vital part in the trend of office space design in the last few years. Our design provides inviting spaces which are easily accessible and designed with the intention of prompting the sharing of ideas. The informal nature of the space sets clients as well as employees at ease, allowing the natural flow of conversation to take place.