The new DP Architects headquarters is a smart office built with wellness in mind. In 2019, the firm consolidated its two offices in Marina Square, Singapore into a singular location, addressing two things close to DP’s heart – collaboration and sustainability.
Working around the firm’s culture of collaborative design, space planning to accommodate the needs of the 10 consultancies placed importance on providing an open reception and co-working space. This provided a highly visible shopfront presence to the public; a concept not often seen for large architectural firms whose offices tend not to be in high footfall areas of retail space. The result is a diffused boundary between in and out. Integrating connectivity and accessibility, the space’s design enables workplace flexibility and by extension, staff happiness.
The glimpse of the hustle and bustle of a busy architectural practice is peeled open and revealed to passers-by. Architectural models and material samples laid across tables give a peek at the inner processes that go into the design of the built environment; an openness and transparency that is the hallmark of the highly-inclusive design practice.
The office design applies an open plan concept that offers flexibility for easy reconfiguration of office layout to maximise space usage. A deliberate absence of walls and cubicles throughout the office is a simple and straightforward approach with a definitive impact – physically reinforcing DP’s open and collaborative work culture, encouraging dialogue between design teams and specialists, effectively breaking down any silo mentality.
Optimising energy consumption and reducing carbon footprint, circadian lighting with automated dimming adjusts illuminance levels based on occupancy and daylight availability to create a work environment that improves mood, energy and productivity.
Access to natural light and the outside is incorporated into the design of this workspace. This is driven by the incentive of the significant positive impact of the outdoor health, work satisfaction, wellbeing and staff productivity. As such, it was essential to ensure that the area most often occupied by all staff had a connection to nature. To mitigate the lack of daylight in the inward-facing reception space, hanging and potted plants pepper the interior spaces, partnered with natural timber cladding that marches along curved walls and accompanied by polished concrete floor texture, flowing seamlessly into the carpet patterns of the meeting spaces.
With a deep eco-conscious mindset and approach, DP Design ensured that each decision was sustainably grounded. Leveraging on the flexibility afforded by the open plan concept, the design team retained and reused 50% of the existing furniture stock. Throughout the West Wing, low VOC paints, certified green labelled partitions and energy-efficient light fixtures were used.
One of the accomplishments of the project was being able to maintain both a flexible use of space and a clear identity that encompassed the multitude of specialisations within the company. The resulting reception space is a highly expressive and functional organic plan bought to life through a curated material palette, texture and pattern. Functional meeting spaces tuck into gently curving walls that double as bookshelf space to house the firm’s fully comprehensive design book library. Columns that bind the edge of the reception area feature an illustration of the Singapore’s built landscape highlighting some of the firm’s key projects that have shaped the architecture of the city.
The newly renovated office with its new office wing and front of house was officially opened on 17 January 2020.