Architects: Absence from Island
- Area : 1100 ft²
- Year : 2019
Photographs :Chi, Ireen Sit
Manufacturers : Plyterra group, Robert McNeel & Associates, Shan Shui Po Leather Shop, Tai Kok Tsui Factory Hardware Store
Lead Architects : Tang Chi Chun
- Design Team : Chi, Walter Lee, Chi Walter Lee
- Clients : Private Client
- Collaborators : Studio Etain Ho
- Country : Hong Kong (SAR)
Text description provided by the architects. Mr. X, the fictitious name of the client, was a former creative director from an international agency. He started a new page for his career by forming his own company with several other colleagues. During his search for the new office, he has seen a lot of places with typical glass-partitioned meeting rooms, managers’ offices, and rows of working desks. He reflected on his past agency life in the large corporation and understood that was not a working space that he was looking forward to. Hence, with the same amount of budget, he found a much larger unit inside an old industrial building and commissioned us to turn it into his ideal office.
The industrial building which the office is currently located at - Kenning Industrial Building was completed in 1986 and was part of the later industrial development in Hong Kong. Instead of having large units with column-free space, it is made of relatively smaller units for light industries which make it perfect to be turned into small offices. Walking along with the cold and depressing industrial setting in the corridor, guests will be able to see glimpses of plants, books, and magazines past the strips of wood on the door and be welcomed by the different and warm atmosphere sipping out from the slots.
Mr. X enjoys cooking very much and regards this as his own way to relax. Therefore, he preferred having a big pantry area to be the main focus of the office. The pantry, serving as an identity for the office, is the first thing guests will see when they walk into space and be greeted by an informal and relaxing vibe. Apart from its symbolic meaning, the team often cooks lunch there and they hang out for tea or even for a drink after work. Sometimes, guests are invited for dinner and Mr. X will cook for them. Nevertheless, the pantry is a place for people to relax and to be connected to one another. For Mr. X, this is not just any other office or place for conducting business, this is also a representation of how he sees work and life intermingling together.
Material-wise, Russian imported birch plywood was chosen as the main material to bring a warm hue to space. Subtle details were added to bring interest to the predominantly wood surfaces - circles made with red leather are being embedded on pantry cupboards to indicate the locations of push-and-release latches, and are also imprinted on the wooden frame of the sliding doors as handles. Brass rods tied with red leather are designed to hold magazines in place.