West meets east from Commercial Design Trends volume 2115

Successful working environments begin with good design. As well as being symbolic of an organisation's global brand image, the design should also satisfy strategic and operational requirements.
The interior of the Pangaea Capital Management office in Singapore was transformed to meet these design standards, says Chrisandra Heng of Simon Chrisandra Associates (SCA).
"This company has a distinct position in the market place. Its appearance had to be different from other organisations to highlight their particular capabilities and competency," she says.
Headquartered in Singapore, Pangaea Capital Management is an investment management firm that pursues special opportunity investments in the Asia Pacific region. Its investors include pre-eminent Asia-based financial institutions, international pension funds, endowments and high net worth individuals. The firm has regional offices in Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai, as well as a representative in New York City.
The main objective was to develop a new corporate image that stood out from competitors, while maintaining harmony with its surroundings. This meant redesigning the entire space in terms of functionality and flow, as well as translating the client's desire for a traditional oriental theme into a contemporary space.
The entrance to the office is a case in point. The space is pared back and combines with a traditional moon gate archway, which signifies welcomeness and prosperity. SCA's design effectively communicates the nature of the business and inspires confidence in potential clients. Wood skirting, architraves and cornices are details that initiate a flow which continues throughout the entire office space.
Spatial planning for the rest of the office was determined by best vista location. Positioned on the 31st floor of the May Bank Building, the office faces Singapore's bay with views of the Esplanade and Fullerton. Linear circulation was therefore chosen to ensure all rooms were facing the panorama.
Office design has changed according to the needs of the user. The function of the office is not only a utilitarian working space, but also a place for stimulating optimal results from workers and potential clients.
To incorporate the client's desire for an oriental theme, the designers drew on aspects of Eastern philosophy. Materials were chosen to reflect the five different aspects of nature that are central to this philosophy.
Compressed bamboo flooring, imported from China, represents the element of wood, while maintaining a contemporary feel.
Earth elements flow throughout the office — be it beige wallpaper, lily white paint, or natural saffron accents — and fire is signified in the feature walls and red and black carpets in the conference room and managing director's office. All reflective materials, such as chromed work stations, are representative of steel, and the element of water is suggested in the frameless glass doors.
Furnishings further determine the oriental feel, with chairs, tea tables, pedestals and credenzas hand-painted and finished in black lacquer. Art and artefacts peppered throughout the office demonstrate the designers' attention to detail, and include Chinese calligraphy, vases and figurines.
Together, these design features provide an integrated interior solution, creating a quality working environment that is also a strategic tool.
Designers Simon Chrisandra Associates visually define the corporate vision of this capital management company using an oriental theme. The moon gate archway at the reception area represents welcomeness, balance, symmetry and prosperity.
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