The world of speculative architecture is competitive and shadowy. Commercial office towers rely on newness unique service and vistas to maintain advantage. In a city like Hong Kong the view has a short life span and although not linked is mirrored in the lease span. New buildings spring up, obliterating the outlooks of others desirable corners. Savvy clients identify short-term advantages and willingly to grasp change applied by external forces. This project for a wealth management arm of an international bank are au fait with these nuances and we as designers were eager to adapt some new forms to accommodate what at first might seem like a traditional planning approaches.

The organization of the1350m2 single floor tenancy in Admiralty Hong Kong seems straightforward. A cluster of meeting spaces attached to the perimeter at the Northwest corner basking in a diagonal view to Central’s iconic towers. The desire to maximise the client exposure to the vista created an inboard reception space that, despite traditional logic, was servicing the client centre but some 20m from the elevator lobby.

This long corridor was essential to the plan. A high level of attention was paid to the material experience on the journey by using reflectivity, perspective, translucency and layered surfaces in concert to alter the perception of the arrival spaces proportion. The office planning was tied to this experience with a run of in board offices creating one if the corridor walls. The rear wall of these offices was conceived an acoustically double glazed system transmitting light into the corridor space and providing an ever-changing play of silhouetted activities beyond. This paired visitor engagement and privacy in one gesture.

The layout of these offices signalled a change in the clients thinking. The large rooms house a workplane at the wall and a central meeting table. The custom desking is a “cabin office” that can be closed quickly and locked by the resident, leaving it secure and free for use as a meeting room otherwise. Integration of timed use into the furniture layout were key enablers this shift in expectation. The bi-product is greater density in the open workspace by supporting it with conveniently private space, contemplation and support spaces.

The sill height in the building is 200mm. A zone of communal resource spaces were set at the window allows access to daylight for reflection. An informal landscape at the perimeter promoted daylight penetration into the open workspace.

The freedom of movement encouraged by supporting tasks with myriad work modes was reflected in the layout of client spaces. Non-axial circulation allows staff and clients to mix in unexpected ways. The conference room layouts were conceived with consciously layered asymmetric geometries refocusing the gaze in the table and a framed view. The transporting nature of these delightful surprises also relaxes conference participants and increases the productivity of the sessions.

Illusion, nuance, surprise & imbedded detail enrich seeming conventional planning. Constant discovery imbues the spaces with longevity despite its finite lifespan.

Photo: Stephen Cham Photo: Chester Ong Photo: Chester Ong Photo: Chester Ong Photo: Stephen Cham