SPECTRUM: The Connected Space

When you’re in the business of helping businesses grow, how do you use space to promote engagement, interaction, creativity and focus? A Singapore-based community-focused workspace finds out

For SPECTRUM, a Singapore-based community-focused workspace and ecosystem builder, creating the right space is vital. For it is in their workplaces that the magic happens: interactions, both formal and informal.

“We focus strongly on activity-based agile workspaces that facilitate interactions and the right connections with other like-minded organisations that can help our member businesses grow in one way or another,” says Chris McPherson, International Chief Executive Officer at SPECTRUM.

Finding the right location

A space that would lend itself to connection-fostering and community-building was what the SPECTRUM had in mind when they set up their premium workspace in Singapore’s DUO Tower. “The building is the perfect embodiment of a mixed-use development powered by tech, a work-live-play with office spaces, residences and many lifestyle amenities,” says Cheryl Lee, Managing Director and Head of Alliances at SPECTRUM.

“The location is a crossroad between the heart of the heritage and arts precinct of the past and the modernity of the evolving city skyline. SPECTRUM is at the node that marries past traditions and future innovations – it’s the essence of what we believe in and it’s a key design theme behind our agile workspace solutions.”

The future of work: agility first

Agility is at the heart of what SPECTRUM delivers to its members, because, as McPherson points out, businesses today need flexibility as they grow – and they also need work environments that cater to all kinds of work.

“We hear so many stories of people choosing to work in a space that makes them feel good as well as helps them to work in a more conducive environment for collaboration, discussion as well as private space for those quiet times,” he says. “The future of work is also very much about creating an environment that provides for all the attributes of a modern workspace in one collective hub.”

With their workspace in DUO Tower, the SPECTRUM team have done exactly that: created a space that’s varied, providing for all types of work, people and connections within the one floorplate.

Catering to a range of business needs

“It’s very spacious, with ample natural light, but at the same time, there are different areas for specific needs; our open café-style area that allows for greater interaction, while there are breakout areas for quieter discussions and private meeting rooms for more formal meetings,” says McPherson. “From the get-go, we encompassed an all-inclusive approach towards collaboration. Board meeting rooms and larger spaces are necessary but are not for everyone and our recognition of this is reflected in the overall architecture. We have, for example, several breakout areas that offer a more intimate setting for members to meet and ideate among each other as and when necessary.”

In recognition of the fact that everyone’s needs are different when it comes to meetings, the SPECTRUM team created meeting rooms that can be reconfigured – both in shape and size. “They also have been designed thematically to pay homage to some of the most iconic civilisations such as ancient Greece, China and India,” says Lee.

Themed meeting rooms

The Lotus and the Money Lisa rooms reference Indian and Chinese heritage while showing the evolution of the concept of money from metal elements to coins to cryptocurrencies. The Cipher, Emoji and Carbon rooms, meanwhile, showcase the evolution of communication.

“Another favourite is Studio S, which has a purposefully-designed high table and no seats, making it perfect when you want to keep a meeting short and efficient. This room also features a vinyl player and some classic records that are displayed as mural art decorations, and we often see some of the members enjoying some music between business calls,” says Lee.

Zoning with colour

As well as theming meeting rooms, SPECTRUM uses colour to delineate different areas that cater to the different needs of their members. “We have the green zone that represents communication, the blue zone the represents technology, the red zone for empowerment and the yellow zone for innovation,” says Lee.

It’s a system members – and their visitors – love. “The colour coding of the different workspaces is ingenious. Aside from being a constant topic for conversations with both potential and existing clients, it creates a great demarcation of the different kinds of businesses housed in the space,” says Tammy Ahn, a Partner at Jenga, a Korea- and Singapore-based blockchain consultancy based out of SPECTRUM. “A refreshing change from the usual greys and blacks found in so many offices!”

SPECTRUM used Herman Miller furniture to help “customise the four primary colours of our workspace furniture to match SPECTRUM’s DNA,” says Lee.

Powering productivity with ergonomics

Herman Miller’s office tables and chairs offer elevated ergonomic comfort and style, and this also helped to create the right environment for SPECTRUM’s members. “The SPECTRUM space was designed to inspire the creative mind, while optimising comfort and engagement touchpoints so members can be their best at work – furnishing the space with Herman Miller’s ergonomic furniture was key to taking our workspace to the next level,” says Lee. “The desks that come in different sizes also allow for agile working practices; one may need a smaller working space at times and switch to a larger one to accommodate multiple screens when necessary.”

And the user experience is proof that this was the right call. “The ergonomic chairs and desks make sitting in front of the computer for long hours a breeze,” says Ahn. “They’re the perfect answer to the occupational health and safety issues that many modern-day businesses have to grapple with.”

Creating and connecting

Also boosting creativity are the walls that members can use as whiteboards: here, they can share ideas with each other, and collaborate. “Whiteboards are usually found in meeting rooms; we brought them out to encourage the practice of sharing, with members embracing openness and trust within the community,” says Lee. “We have noticed that members also use them to show appreciation to one another, we see many messages of support and encouragement that teams from different companies write to other fellow members. In our yellow zone, we even have an area with Lego art to symbolise creativity, and we have been really impressed by the some of the members’ creations!”

Clearly, SPECTRUM’s spaces naturally lend themselves to connection. “I would say that the environment here facilitates more growth than what I’ve experienced before,” agrees Ahn. “A trip to the coffee machine often comes with conversations among fellow members that can lead to collaborations in some way or another. It’s a true ecosystem.”