PrincipalsLeong Hon-Kit & Si Jianxin
Main ContractorISG plc
Text description provided by the architects. Honestbee is an online grocery delivery service based in Singapore, with operations in Singapore and other parts of the Asian region. Located in a former industrial warehouse space, the office is designed to accommodate around 120 staff members, with the aim to create an open and collaborative environment that blends the functions of work, play and community. A complex of spaces are arranged around 2 volumes inserted into the space, one containing a series of meeting rooms and library, and the other a small theatre; creating a variety of situations that allow for different activities to occur, from more tradition desktop work spaces and meeting rooms, to casual seating areas and informal little nooks, to small plaza-like spaces. There is also a series of enclosed and secret rooms waiting to be discovered. Many of the casual interstitial spaces are designed without a predetermined programme to allow a certain flexibility and spontaneity to occur. The whole complex is unified by the generous splashes of colours throughout and the presence of the existing waffle slab ceiling that is left exposed.
The entrance is along a common corridor, with the entrance door set in from the bounding wall to create a small foyer space. The foyer space is finished with stained timber panelling and yellow back-painted glass, with a neon light to mark the entrance. This space is deliberately kept dark to contrast with the brightness and colours of the interior, to create a sense of surprise when one enters for the first time.
The Meeting Block
When one enters the premises, one is confronted with a block that contains the reception, meeting rooms, a library alley, and various hidden Skype rooms that are behind concealed doors. There is also a ladder in one of the hidden rooms that contains a ladder that allows access to the roof of the Meeting Block. A corner of the Meeting Block is cut away to create a circular plaza space, between the Meeting Block and the office spaces.
The office is designed with an open concept with daylight flooding in from the windows at the side. A variety of types of workspaces are created to catered to the work habits of the different individuals. Beside the standard open benching, there are standing height desks, booth style workspaces allowing for close collaboration, and arched niches for people who prefer to a more private setting for their workspace. A glass meeting room punctuates the office allowing for transparency through the whole space. A hexagonal array of tube lights spread across the ceiling ties the whole office space together.
The pantry area consists of a small kitchenette and also a coffee stand that opens at certain times to serve coffee to the office staff and also to the other occupants of the building. A reconfigurable seating area is situated in front. The pantry caters for daily lunch and can function as an event space. There is also a small “outdoor” area at the end of the pantry that is open to the fresh air outside.
A small 25-seater serves as a media room and also as a seminar room for staff training. Internally, the theatre is cladded in navy colour acoustic panels with the stepped flooring in a bright blue carpet. The theatre seats, recycled from an old theatre in Singapore, form the central focus of the theatre. Externally, the volume containing the theatre is cladded in a patchwork of veneer panels. The front of the theatre can be opened up to let the space in the theatre flow into the pantry just outside. This allows for the “stage” area to be extended outwards or for the theatre to function as additional seating for the pantry.
Many of the common corridor and interstitial spaces are deliberately designed to be quite generous, and without program, allowing for spontaneity and creative input from the user in deciding how to utilise them. Things like, townhall-style gatherings, hackathons/makeathons, recreational activities, festive decorations (like a big christmas tree) etc, can easily happen in these spaces.