Staff, clients, and guests enter the ground floor atrium under the spreading branches of the Tree of Life sculpture, then move on past water fountains, under a timber veneer entry arch into the marble-lined reception. This arrival path reflects a strong connection to nature, and a sense of solidity and opulence well suited to a high-end financial firm. The lavish reception also engenders a sense of pride for tower occupants.
"The Tree of Life is constructed in teak with connecting elements in stainless steel," says Tham. "This sculpture is under lit, creating the illusion of light shining down through the branches."
The tree spreads into the wood-batten ceiling. Tham says this acoustic ceiling adds a cosy aesthetic and provided a way to hide services, such as the sprinklers. The matt green granite floor of the vehicular concourse is repeated in a polished, slightly browner colour inside the atrium.
External columns and the interior walls of the atrium are in bookmatched travertine, another rich, natural surface. The reception desk is in the same wood veneer as the linear front door entry surround.
From the reception area, high-speed zoned lifts whisk CIMB employees up to their workplaces. At each level, the lift opens to a communal zone near the core. This zone, called a padang Malay for field' makes up 25% of each floor. Comprising breakout areas, adaptable meeting rooms and cafeterias, these spaces encourage casual connection between staff. The meeting and conference rooms are designed and positioned to encourage workers from other floors to utilise them as needed just one way of encouraging interfloor connectivity in a bank that is home to 2200 people. Facilities such as restaurants, a gymnasium and créches are set at the second floor, another way of encouraging movement through the building.
However, some differentiation was required on CIMB's otherwise standardised floors. Freestanding baffle walls are positioned by the lift doors, with different displays on each level. These wayfinders feature a variety of cultural pieces intended to symbolise the essence of the ASEAN community.