A DEEPER UNDERSTANDING
With the help of an independent workplace consultant, SAP reassessed their office footprint and sought to redesigned it for a hybrid workforce. Through their utilization study, we understood that 88% of employees spent less than half of their working day at their desks.
Drawing insights on collaboration patterns and the needs of different departments, we planned a diverse range of configurations to suit different group sizes and work settings. This agile office design creates a palette of place that encourages people to change postures, move around throughout the day, and be more engaged with their colleagues and workplace. To bring the outdoors in, the new activity-based work areas are biophilic and nature-themed.
CARING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
SAP is committed to protecting the environment and continuously improving its environmental performance. In response to this, and to align with the Singapore Green Plan for a sustainable future, we sought to ensure at least 5% of the total space is dedicated to eco-friendly innovations such as energy-efficient LED bulbs and biophilia that minimizes indoor air pollutants for a healthier and greener work environment. Of the 100,000 square feet office space, 70% of the area adheres to green labelling protocols.
In efforts to maximize the lifespan of their existing furniture, our design team studied their inventory and furnishings to select pieces that can be creatively incorporated into the new layout. Creative refurbishment was also made to various furniture to improve durability, or to align with the design theme. Recycling bins are placed along the corridors or constructed within the pantry carpentry. Biophilic elements and sustainable materials were also used where possible.
THE ARRIVAL ZONE
SAP welcomes their guests at the third level of the office building. The reception desk is specially constructed to allow maximum visibility of the receptionist. Seated on a raised seat, it allows the receptionist to connect with visitors and employees at eye level, enhancing interaction and the welcoming experience.
Behind the desk stands a white marble backdrop that proudly carries the SAP logo. Both ends of the marble slab are extended with fluted glass that allows natural light to pour in from behind. This cleverly designed backdrop also serves as a partition to create a collaboration hub that is hidden away from plain view.
This hub, nestled at one end of the front office, contains a feature wall generously cladded with greenery. Beside it, a mirror wall gives the illusion of an expanded space, and also reflects the daylight, making the space look brighter. Here, a myriad of seating options such as booth seats, meeting tables, sofas, lounge chairs and phone booths can be found to fit the nature of any discussion.
On the other side of the reception counter is the waiting lounge, furnished with comfortable armchairs, sofas and plants hanging overhead. This area is connected to the Barista Café, which impresses with a robot barista fitted behind the bar counter – a great way to start conversations with guests. This café serves as an open space for discussions, dining, private functions and townhalls. The loose furniture curated allows this space to be used flexibly in various configurations.
The trapezium outline of SAP’s logo is also reflected delicately on the ceiling, where the overhanging acoustic panels are used in contrasting directions to bring out a similar silhouette. To further create a sense of movement, these acoustic panels are painted in different colours on both sides – white and taupe, so the colours of the ceiling changes as one walks across the space and back.
PLANTING SHARED SPACES
At the back office, a range of huddle spots are scattered amongst the bench seats to encourage movement and cross-pollination between teams. High work benches, focus pods and 120 degree work stations are amongst the available options. To promote access to these amenities, pendant lights in varying shapes and colours hang over the spots to serve as wayfinding across the large floorplate.
EMBODYING THE THEME
In addition to the huddle spots injected amongst work benches, larger community spaces are carved out to motivate collaboration and interaction. Interspersed across the three floors, these settings collectively embodies the nature-themed design narratives set out for this office.
The Rainbow Plaza – the space surrounding an interconnecting staircase that unites the three-storey office, is named after the rainbow art installation which stretches throughout the stairwell. Serving as the vertical connection for the office, this statement piece was created to motivate employees to take on a journey of adventure, seeking growth and rise along the way, and to achieve rich findings at the end – inspired by the words of Singapore’s founding father, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
Easily accessible, this space offers an alternative for casual discussions, quick meals, or simply a respite from work. Echoing the sentiment of a biophilic theme, a luscious green wall stretches across the space, outlining a central pantry at level three while table surfaces take on a suar wood appearance. Peranakan tiles are subtly applied as accent patterns on the floor for a playful mix of local flavour.
To elevate the experience of connectivity, the plaza also features a running track that surrounds the inner circle of the office on all levels to serve as the horizontal connection across community spaces and work zones. Coupled with signages mounted overhead, this running track serves as wayfinding, pointing out the various collaboration hubs as employees journey along.
Situated right next to the plaza at level three, The Park offers more collaboration space for small groups and individual work. This small but efficient space is demarcated through three thoughtful and aesthetically pleasing features – an acoustic panel with intricately cut out designs; overhead trellis; and the subtle use of a different carpet across the area.
To support their information technology (IT) needs internally, SAP’s new office includes a dedicated room for their IT department, along with service desks that allow the IT team to attend to technical matters from their co-workers. This new room was erected along with an onscreen ticketing system to help employees better gauge the waiting time, thereby using their time more efficiently.
Located next to the Employee Service Desk is The Garden, where employees could hang out while waiting for assistance from the IT team. Designed as a multipurpose space, the functionality of The Garden goes beyond a waiting area to create a dedicated recreational zone complete with a pool table, table tennis table, swings, beanbags and console games. The incorporation of tiered seating allows the space to be used for smaller group town halls, casual presentations or a movie night on the big TV screen.
The Super Tree, inspired by Singapore’s very own landmark, fuels thinking and creativity. Apart from the impressive architecture of this space, soundproofing elements are wrapped around the trellis structure on the ceiling to ensure minimal disruption to neighbouring work spaces. Hanging by the window, metal rods are welded together to form a prominent signage for this space. Columns are wrapped with biophilic prints to inject greenery into the space. On one side of the space, a manila rope feature wall hosts a writable surface for ideation and brainstorming.
This unique and outstanding feature leads to another hub, The Canopy, where the same material is extended as part of the bulkhead. The design of this space is influenced by nostalgia for simpler times – introducing a calm, relaxing vibe through the use of retro-pattern wall stickers, overhead patterned grilles and terrazzo tiles. The look is completed with overhanging plants and a lavish splash of green across the wall, lending the perfect backdrop to the booth seats. Framing these booth seats are three exquisite arches, crafted with thin manila ropes stretched across both ends of the wooden frame to achieve the final look.
The Roof stands out with its bold-coloured blue ceiling accompanied by cloud-shaped pendant lamps. As the name suggests, it is located at the top floor of SAP’s office and is designed to simulate working under the open sky, close to nature. Topped with greenery, the pitched roof structures which houses the booth seats sets up a cozy space for a warm drink on rainy day.
With employee health and wellness in mind, this space is also lined with a mirror wall on one side, which slides open to reveal storage space for all loose furniture, enabling the floor to be converted easily into a studio for activities such as yoga and dance classes.
Marking the last of these nature-themed collaboration hubs is The Terrace, where contouring lines that mimic that of paddy rice fields are transposed onto the ceiling design. This large space is split into two areas – one designed for larger group brainstorming sessions, equipped with writing space and plenty of natural light; another with a cushioned bench paired with coffee tables for smaller discussions. Mirroring the ceiling, the design footprint is also marked through the outline of vinyl floor furnishings in the area.
FUTUREPROOFING THE OFFICE
Guided by a future-driven vision and deep understanding of SAP’s needs, we combined expertise in design and build to ensure a quality and sustainable result. “As more companies move towards a hybrid workforce, it is imperative for us to provide user-centric design solutions that offer flexibility and agility.” Says Jeanette Siew, Executive Director of office interior design firm, DB&B.