air of confidence

as featured in
Warm chocolate tones, dark-stained timber and comfortable furnishings create a warm, welcoming atmosphere for staff and clients in the offices of this private investment firm
Story by: Mary Webb
View of updated offices featuring dark timber floors, area, black and white, design, diagram, drawing, floor plan, font, line, music, pattern, plan, product design, schematic, square, structure, text, white
View of updated offices featuring dark timber floors, comfortable furnishings and warm chocolate tones.

Generally, the first impression of a company is conveyed by the interior decor of its offices. To establish the requisite atmosphere, an interior designer will carefully consider combinations of materials and colours, as well as the design of the space.

When private investment company Presidio Capital and its subsidiary marine engineering logistics business, Rubicon Offshore International, wanted to update their corporate offices, they called on architect Shaun Shahrome of Soho Design Partnership. Shahrome had undertaken the interior design for the group's previous offices and understood its business requirements and the image it wanted to convey to its clients.

"The company's brief was to create offices that were contemporary, but not minimalist. They wanted the reception to be warm and inviting, but also to be impressive, with a wow factor," says Shahrome.

"They also liked the concept of a high-end resort-like atmosphere that contributes towards the welfare of the staff, ensuring they look forward to coming to work every day. The management felt it was important for the morale of staff to create an environment that is welcoming and enjoyable to be in," he says.

View of updated offices featuring dark timber floors, ceiling, interior design, lobby, real estate, room, red
View of updated offices featuring dark timber floors, comfortable furnishings and warm chocolate tones.

From a space planning point of view, the company required a shared reception area for its businesses, and several meeting and boardrooms of various sizes, as well as a large number of open workstations and private offices.

With excellent views towards the harbour and Sentosa Island from three sides of the building, private offices for senior directors and executives are located around the perimeter of the office while general workstations occupy the central area. One section of the floor is set up to provide general offices and a trading desk for Presidio.

"To create the right tone for the company, the emphasis was placed on choosing good quality, long-lasting materials. For example, we selected a top-quality carpet tile in a dark chocolate colour for reception flooring. Even with hundreds of staff and clients passing to and fro, this carpet will retain its good looks and resistance for a long time," says the designer.

Around the border, and away from areas subjected to heavy foot traffic, a lighter carpet tile creates an interesting design effect. The warm, dark walnut reception desk is faced with bronze mirror, adding to the inviting mood. A line of strip lighting is concealed under the countertop and base, creating the impression that the reception desk is floating in the space. Niches in the back wall of the reception area display a selection of contemporary artefacts, which, says the designer, give soul to the space.

View of updated offices featuring dark timber floors, interior design, office, brown
View of updated offices featuring dark timber floors, comfortable furnishings and warm chocolate tones.

"The architectural lines in the reception area are simple and plain, with warmth and texture provided by the dark-toned wood, artwork and decorative pieces," says Shahrome.

Behind the reception desk, two meeting rooms can be joined together or separated automatically by folding partitions. Bronze coloured mirrors on these folding doors add warmth to the meeting areas.

To maintain the simplicity of the design, partitions throughout the offices extend to the full height of the ceiling. In the central corridor, walls and columns are clad with dark walnut veneer, chosen because it handles wear and tear better than lighter tones. Full-height partitions on the private offices are glazed, bringing light into the internal space and allowing views to be enjoyed from the general office area. Timber blinds can be lowered over the glass when privacy is required.

Dec 03, 2009

Credit list

Architect, interior designer
Shaun Shahzainy Shahrome, Soho Design Partnership Pte Ltd (Singapore)
Shaw carpet tiles
Ultima 2 Office System
Office chairs
Aeron chairs for general workstations and private offices
Shaun Shahzainy Shahrome, Soho Design Partnership
Partitioning system
Dorma Auto Folding System Partition
Romeo Moon-S 2 by Flos
Dealing desk
Boardroom chairs
Zebb Chair
We know the specialists