Put your studio in the spotlight

Great workspace design deserves recognition. | 01.Feb.18

Penny Sloane believes that interiors have a significant role to play in our happiness, wellbeing and productivity. "A good interior can make or break a business," says Sloane, who is Co-owner and Co-founder of Siren Design in Singapore.

And she should know: Siren Design has been creating workspaces for the likes of Facebook, Uber, Lonely Planet and Hasbro in Singapore and Sydney for the last 13 years. Their know-how and their talent in this field were recognised at Herman Miller's Liveable Office Award 2015-2016, when the studio won Best in Tech for their work on JustCo's Robinson Road co-working space.

JustCo@ Robinson Road co-working space by Siren Design

Siren designed this four-floor, 18,000-square-foot space with flexibility and different modes of working in mind. In this warm and friendly workplace, there are enclosed office suites and meeting rooms, different settings for open areas that cater to informal meet-ups, collaboration and touchdown.

The space is user-oriented, and this is one of the reasons Siren won at the Liveable Office Award. "It was very humbling to be recognised for the contribution Siren has made to the design of the tech industry," says Sloane. "Awards like this encourage designers to push the boundaries on what a workspace should and could be."

Twitter Singapore Office by Siren Design

For Flooat Inc., the awards provided an opportunity to get inspired - and to learn. "It was very valuable to learn firsthand, not only through examples in Japan, but also how each country thinks," says Yumika Yoshida, Design Director at the Japanese design studio.

For the 2015-2016 award, Flooat Inc. entered their work on Donuts, Inc., a young and rapidly growing IT services company. At Donuts, Inc., there are private workstations, a standing meeting area, open space for hackathons and other events, a cafe and a gym. The whole space is presented as a cosy living room, making employees feel at home, facilitating communication and fostering creativity.

Donuts Co Ltd., Japan Office by Flooat Inc.

It's no surprise, then, that Flooat Inc. won twice over: they won first prize in the Commercial Business - Workspace Design Award, taking home USD 5,000 in cash and four tickets to Chicago for NeoCon 2016, and they also won the People's Choice Award. In addition, their work and the awards they received led to a commission for Herman Miller itself: they recently designed Herman Miller Japan's new showroom.

Herman Miller Japan Showroom

As well as opening doors to designing a showroom and liveable office space for Herman Miller, Flooat Inc. felt the Liveable Office Award provided them with an opportunity to test their abilities. "It was also a rare and great experience to be able to present our work to a panel of professional judges," says Yoshida. "We intend on taking on the challenge this season as well."

This year, the judging panel includes Claire Beale, FDIA, National President of the Design Institute of Australia, Prof. Cees de Bont, PhD, Dean of School & Swire Chair Professor of Design, School of Design at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Raj Nandan, Managing Director and Publisher of Indesign Group Asia, and Kartik Shethia, Vice President of Herman Miller Asia Pacific, among others.

"Ideal liveable offices are enabled to adapt to our preferred way of working, rather than making us adapt to them," says Beale of the judging panel's approach to the Liveable Office Award. "Healthy, happy spaces foster innovation and creativity, which continue to transform our way of being."

This was exactly the intention behind Reliance Jio's Mumbai office, and DWP Interics more than delivered on the task at hand. They facilitated an organisational shift at the mobile and digital giant by creating an open-plan office based on the idea of courtyards, which have a strong presence in Indian culture. No wonder they won the Transform Asia award at the Liveable Office Award 2015-2016.

Reliance Jio, india Office by DWP Interics Pvt Ltd

"A project like Reliance Jio was a design masterpiece in itself," says Asha Kushalappa, Director at DWP Interics. "Winning the award has played a huge role with our clients and new projects."

For DRAFT Inc., the Liveable Office Award 2015-2016 was an "opportunity to reconsider and further deepen our vision on office design for the contemporary end user," says Taiju Yamashita, Interior Designer and CEO.

Wantedly Inc co-working space by DRAFT Inc.

DRAFT Inc. won the Small Medium Business award for their work on the Tokyo offices of Wantedly Inc., which runs a social recruitment platform and support services for students and job seekers. They wanted an office that would encourage communication and collaboration, as well as providing more space for workshops and seminars. DRAFT Inc. created a distinctive staircase, which now functions as a social space for employees, and a large, open area, which is perfect for events.

"For us, the liveable office is a workplace that doesn't restrict work styles. From [this], collaboration flourishes and new ideas are generated," says Yamashita.

Tenoha Daikanyama co-working space by Singal, Inc.

Also in this category - and one of the finalists chosen by the judges - was Signal, Inc. for their work on Tenoha Daikanyama, a co-working space inside a temporary lifestyle facility. They were commended for the way they catered to different styles of work through shared lounges, large tables for creative to work at, private rooms and desks separated by partitions.

Tenoha Daikanyama co-working space by Singal, Inc.

Each of these design studios dreamt up spaces that encourage creativity, collaboration, connection and productivity - and yet they all achieved the same aims in such incredibly different ways. For each of them, part of the joy of taking part in the Liveable Office Award lay in seeing how others had approached corporate and co-working space design. "It was an enriching experience to discover the many and varied philosophical approaches to office design, today," says Yoshida.

"Designers who embrace experiential, and user centric design solutions need to share their environments," adds Sloane. "So others will feel inspired and create spaces that transform offices into homes with heart."

Has your studio designed an outstanding office or co-working space? Enter the Herman Miller Liveable Office Award 2017-2018 now for your chance to gain international recognition. You'll also go in the running to win a variety of exciting prizes. Submissions close on 15 February 2018.

Enter your submissions