• A show unit of office space at Gaysorn Tower reflects the move away from a typical cubicle layout to a more activity-based model with a multitude of different work settings.
  • The closed-door booth with a view of Bangkok’s skyline offers plenty of privacy.
  • From left: Fafuen Temboonkiat, Veekrit Palarit and Pholkrit Sangthong in the community area.
  • There’s nothing like a decent cup of coffee to encourage creativity.

Space for creativity

lifestyle June 18, 2017 01:00

By Khetsirin Pholdhampalit
The Sunday Nation

The new Gaysorn Tower shows how the office of today is becoming the workplace of tomorrow



NOW THAT THE old Gaysorn mall at the corner of Ratchaprasong intersection has been successfully renovated and rebranded as the top-of-the range shopping and culinary destination Gaysorn Village, its owners, Gaysorn Property Co, have turned their attention to designing the connecting new Gaysorn Tower as the office block of the future. 

Set to open in September, the 30-storey building will combine office space with health and wellness centres and lifestyle retail areas plus with an outdoor sky garden complete with meeting rooms.

“Based on the concept of ‘work-live-play-grow’, the space is being efficiently worked with facilities designed to meet the needs of modern working people who want both efficiency and balance in their lives,” says Fafuen Temboonkiat, the company’s managing director.

The “Focus Space” is furnished with Hay’s comfortable Uchiwa lounge chair.

For the office space, the company has worked with design company Tadah Collaboration to develop a 400-square-metre area on the 14th floor as a show unit of the modern workplace. This moves away from a typical cubicle layout to a more activity-based model.

The glass-wrapped area offers a panoramic view of the Bangkok skyline and the vast open-plan interior is seamless and minimalist. The column-free and high-ceilinged area gives a sense of openness and natural wood dominates and real trees bring people closer to nature. 

Panes of insulated glass allow for natural light to stream in while thin vertical blinds give a sense of privacy.

Panes of insulated glass allow for natural light to stream in and prevent leakage of cool air. Clear glass and thin vertical blinds provide the partitioning without encroaching on the open feel.

“More creative spaces to meet, collaborate and exchange are needed. The concept of the activity-based workplace is based on a multitude of different work settings instead of isolating cubicles. This growing design trend can encourage connectivity, which leads to high performance and efficiency. Creativity doesn’t need to happen at the desk,” says Pholkrit Sangthong, a co-founder of Tadah Collaboration.

A show unit of office space at Gaysorn Tower reflects the move away from a typical cubicle layout to a multitude of different work settings.

In the past, most offices were divided up into fixed cubicle workstations, meaning each person had his or her own assigned space, desk, and cabinet. Mass-produced partitions were used to separate areas, sectioning off work desks, meeting rooms, executive offices and reception area.

Instead of assigned offices or cubicles, the shift in new office design allows staff to choose from a variety of workspaces that include a comfy sofa, a long table, a standing desk or a semi-enclosed carrel, and a closed-door booth for ultimate privacy.

The communal activity-based space called “Cocoon” functions as both an informal meeting area and a place to socialise.

The show unit has a communal activity-based space called “Cocoon” with wooden benches of different heights to encourage social interaction through diverse seating. A ceiling-mounted projector screen is also available for informal meetings and plugins are everywhere for staff to work wherever they like.

Adjacent is the “Scrum Space” with high and standard desks as well as dry erase walls where ideas can be scribbled down. An open shelf separates the space from a pantry furnished with coffee tables where workers can mingle and relax.

“People today work with mobility. They have their laptops so they can work in different places in and outside the office. Flexibility to work, meet and play and space utilisation with multi-functional furniture are designed to meet this trend.

The “Scrum Space” for brainstorming takes comfort into consideration. 

“The kitchen area is usually tucked away at the back of the office but I think it should be in the centre. It’s a casual space where people feel at ease and bright ideas are frequently born over a cup of good coffee,” adds Pholkrit whose portfolio includes an office for Mitsubishi and a learning centre for Fuji Xerox in Bangkok.

Sleek, simple and functional furniture by Danish brand Hay has been selected for the show unit.

“We look for office furniture that doesn’t give a sturdy office feel. The design is simple, yet has functional qualities as stackability, durability and ease of cleaning among the design priorities,” says Pholkrit.

Hay’s lounge chair Uchiwa, for instance, is placed in the Focus Space – a semi-enclosed area with wooden partitions in front of a large window overlooking Bangkok that’s designed for employees who need to relax or concentrate. Next door are two closed-door booths for anyone requiring privacy.

Hay's Uchiwa lounge chair 

“The Uchiwa lounge chair designed by Doshi Levien took inspiration from a traditional Japanese rigid hand-held fan. It has a curved high-backed hard plastic shell that can be upholstered in textile or leather on both the front and the back,” says Veekrit Palarit of Norse Republics, the sole distributor of Hay in Thailand. “The furniture is designed with functionality and craftsmanship in mind to meet the lifestyle of urbanites. The chair’s hard shells, fabric upholstery and seat cushions come in a variety of options for personalised service.”

 The column-free gives a sense of openness and real trees bring people closer to nature. 

Comfy sofas and long wooden tables are available together with lockers to store personal items. Hay’s About A Chair line with their distinctive and uncluttered polypropylene shells are largely used at the working desks and provide both functionality and comfort.

The community area paved in grass-like carpet next to the window has a long wooden bar table together with Hay’s Hee barstools made from metal wire in galvanized solid steel. They’re stackable and also waterproof for outdoor use. 

The community area paved in grass-like carpet next to the window has a long wooden bar table.

“This workplace strategy doesn’t only encourage collaboration, inspiration and productivity, but also helps save on cost. With traditional office design, the space allocated to each employee is about 10 square metres, but the flexible design can reduce that to six or seven square metres per person and reduce costs by around 30 per cent,” says Pholkrit.

 A glass-wrapped meeting room with an informal decor.

The building offers office spaces varying from 120 square metres – perfect for an office with 10 to 15 staff –to 1,800 square metres for a big company.

“The general size of office space today is around 300 to 400 square metres for a working group of 65 people. A laptop, flexible seating, multi-functional furniture and office amenities are what people want.

“And as they work hard, they also play hard. Gaysorn Tower also has an urban retreat that’s home to beauty, health, wellness and fitness centres. Take Panpuri spa. It will take a whole floor for its one-of-a-kind onsen spa,” says Fafuen.

The rendering of an outdoor sky garden that offers communal spaces to relax and meet

The outdoor sky garden with its glass-wrapped multi-functional rooms is also available for meetings with a view. For culinary enjoyment, staff can munch on tempting burgers from Thailand’s first Burger & Lobster or snack on bakery items from the new branch of Eric Kayser, which is known for its croissants. The adjacent Gaysorn Village provides more dining options with restaurants, bars, cafes and tearooms.

“We’ve also taken a look at the overall Ratchaprasong area by focusing on seamless connectivity among offices, hotels and retail spaces,” adds Fafuen. 

“In the near future, the 18 buildings in Ratchaprasong will be connected to each other by the Ratchaprasong elevated walkway to give a variety of experiences from shopping, working, eating and even staying at a five-star hotel.” 

 

ROOM ON TOP

The office show unit on the 14th floor at Gaysorn Tower is open by appointment only. 

Call (089) 495 6551.