What should the headquarters of a property management company look like?
Different companies have different brand DNA. The designs of their office headquarters are not only places for work, but also places that are emblematic to the companies’ brand identities.
HKPI (Hong Kong Pacific Investments Limited) is a Hong Kong properties management company that prides itself on its people-centric services. Its headquarters ought to show three important elements:
1) HKPI puts people first and foremost – from the workers to their clients.
2) Innovation is important.
3) The company pays attention to details, and take care of things from the macro to the micro.
The details in the office should manifest these three philosophies visually. In HKPI’s headquarters, the goal of the office design is to let people experience and witness the company’s philosophy thought visual, spatial and functional details, instead of telling them what it is through slogans, words and descriptions. Each design detail is imbued with symbolism.
For example, several decisions are made to reflect how HKPI puts people first. The floor’s most spacious and comfortable space was designated to be a sky garden – a multifunctional space dedicated to people: it could be used as a resting area for workers or leaders, a place for meeting clients, or a lounge used for events and parties. Due to the spatial concerns, the office for the company’s leader would block a portion of the windows and hinder sunlight from reaching the workers’ spaces. To compensate for their loss, the walls that divide the leader’s office and the workers’ cubicles are made of cloud marbles. Facing the workers, the walls’ cloud patterns and light blue colour is like a view of the sky. Even though the workers cannot see outside of the windows, they are still surrounded by nature.
The company’s emphasis on tending to details is reflected in the office interior’s treatment of design details. Doors have single handles that could be used on either side of the doors. Clothing hangers in the bathroom stalls are made in the same marble material as the walls of the stalls. Suspended lighting is used to maintain a sense of weightlessness, but also retain the high ceiling height. Seemingly insignificant details are designed with intention and thoughtfulness.
The aesthetic principle of the office design is to create a refined place that does not need extravagant forms to make an impact. We didn’t merely create beauty – we facilitated the experience of it through selecting materials and designing forms that could interact elegantly with nature. The light coloured wood used as the walls in the sky garden is a clean canvas that the sun paints with the shadows of trees. The marbles used as the sky garden’s planters have grains that echoes the organic patterns and colours of the soil which they contain.
In a way, the design principle for HKPI is like a fiction-writing technique, “show, don’t tell”. It’s about showing readers the story through details, let them engage with the story through discovery, imagination, and draw conclusions about the author’s intentions or the book’s themes through their reading experiences. Similarly, In HKPI’s headquarters, we facilitated a visual and spatial experience that could let people witness the company’s philosophy, instead of telling them what to think and feel.