TA.LE Architects transform Nordic European Centre to appeal to the Millennial Office Worker
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Published: May 1, 2019

admin | Interviews | 01 May, 2019

    TA.LE Architects transform Nordic European Centre to appeal to the Millennial Office Worker

    TA.LE ARCHITECTS, the award-winning Singaporean architecture firm, recently announced the re-opening of the Nordic European Centre following completion of extensive retrofitting of interior and exterior spaces. The architecture firm breathed new life into the 20-year-old building, transforming it into an office complex fit for modern millennial office workers who are demanding more collaborative workspaces and facilities that cater to an active lifestyle. We speak to  Ms. Tay Yanling, Founder & Principal Architect of TA.Le Architects to find out more about the project.

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

     

    Ms. Tay Yanling - Founder & Principal Architect of TA.LE ARCHITECTS. Image © TA.LE ARCHITECTS.

    Ms. Tay Yanling – Founder & Principal Architect of TA.LE ARCHITECTS. Image © TA.LE ARCHITECTS.

     

    Q. Please tell us about the Nordic European Centre and the recent retrofitting project that you have completed?

    TA.LE ARCHITECTS retrofitted the exteriors and interior public areas of the building including the façade and outside area, as well as the lobby area, gym and remaining public spaces. The construction works for indoor and outdoor were carried out concurrently to speed up the process. As the building was a live office while the construction works were carried out, it was crucial that the timeline was compacted and the works were done expeditiously and safely. The key to the project was understanding how the modern office worker operates, how to respond to certain spaces and layouts with a view to increasing overall happiness and productivity.

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Q. How have you revamped the site to make it more appropriate for modern employees?

    We know that the millennial employee prefers to work collaboratively, as a team. We therefore sought to encourage this by incorporating as many co-working and social spaces as possible both outside the building and within. Starting with the exterior, we created a series of supertree workspaces situated alongside the covered pathway. We included shading and powerpoints that allows groups or employees to work together outside yet protected from the sun and the rain.

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    We completely revamped the lobby of the building, reducing the reception size and moving it off to the side. This created more space for communal activities including networking events and product launches providing more options and flexibility for the tenants. We established collaborative work clusters within the lobby areas further encouraging working groups, these included formal meeting rooms to semi-enclosed pods. Of course, we also planned for a coffee bar on the edge for that all-important morning coffee!

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Lastly, we added a gym, changing room and end-of-trip facilities for cyclists. The materials that we used were carefully chosen to reflect the values of needs of the occupants. For instance, we used natural materials such as corksheet and white oak throughout and plenty of greenery.

     

    Q. What are the main differences between older employees (for instance those populating offices in the 2000’s) and today’s office worker?

    There are a number of differences when it comes to office culture and needs. Typical features in an older building often include amazing views but limited to the private offices of managers and executives, designed for a time when hierarchy within companies was much more pronounced. Employees would start their careers at the bottom, on one of the many desks in the bowels of the building, before slowly climbing up the corporate ladder to, hopefully, occupying that prized corner office.

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    These designs are simply not suitable for Gen Xers or Millennials, many of whom prefer to work in teams, rather than as individuals and have markedly different attitudes towards work and professional advancement than their elders. Today’s office workers are much more collaborative and this is reflected in the type of company that they gravitate towards, particularly start-ups who prize the creativity that often comes from collective brainstorming.

     

    Q. What were the strengths of the building that you capitalised on?

    The lobby area is particularly spacious and well-suited to holding events and activations. We employed greenery and natural materials to make it feel even more expansive and were careful how we placed the reception and co-working areas. The façade and exterior areas of the building were previously under-utilised as was the pathway. By redesigning the cover and placing supertree workspaces at various intervals we made the area more pleasant and actually utilised by the employees.

     

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

    Image © Rendy Aryanto / VVS.sg

     

    Q. Tell us about TA.LE ARCHITECTS

    We are an award-winning Singaporean architecture firm established with the aim of combining architecture, interior and furniture design to produce a total design product. Our approach combines the requirements of the client with intellectual rigour and sensual intuition, coupled with sensitivity for wider social and contextual issues. Our team treats each project as a unique design statement, orchestrated specially for the people who use it. Discovering unexpected solutions for the specifics of programme and context is the foremost goal in all of our assignments and we strive to create memorable buildings and spaces with a human touch.

     

    Image ©TA.LE ARCHITECTS

    Image ©TA.LE ARCHITECTS

    Our stable of clients include commercial and government institutions as well as private homes. Projects of note include the office interior design of the URA’s Digital Planning and Research Lab, and that of the Social Service Institute at Central Plaza, interior design of retailer Le Petit Society, and the Loft House @ Namly. We have received multiple awards and mentions for our work including the Golden Pin Design Award, Taiwan (2018), Singapore Good Design 2018 – SG Mark and the Interior Design Awards 2018. In March 2017 we registered as Intellectual Property (IPOS) for the original design of a propeller-shaped collaborative workstation for URA’s Digital Planning and Research Lab.

     

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