“Office space is still and will grow to become even more important in the time when people are no longer required to be physically present at their workplace.”
If we were to interpret the meaning of the word ‘office’ as a space used for working, and the benefits it offers in this day and age where one can work practically from anywhere, we might once question whether the work from home method really was an efficient way of working, and the context from which the question was asked had provided us an answer – ‘why wouldn’t it be?’
In the beginning of the pandemic where people are forced to stay away from each other physically and use their home as a workspace, the direction of office space was speculated to change with the tendency of it being less significant. We, however, disagree with such a theory, and it happens that our idea matches that of a company that, in spite of the pandemic, decides to put more focus on the development of its physical office space.
Exotic Food (XO) is a public company whose business involves the exportation of Thai food and flavors to countries worldwide. The foundation of XO’s success lies in their potential to constantly be adaptive to changes. The decision to improve and expand the office, surprisingly so, in this particular time, coincides with our belief that office space will remain and become more important, even in the time when people no longer need to physically be at an office in order to work.
What this statement means is the requirements of current and future offices will not only cater to work practices like it had been in the past but are expected to represent and communicate an organization’s corporate identity while facilitating collective goals and unity among employees.
The colours red and black, and other elements that convey XO’s identity are utilized to create a strong, unified image, discernible to both the company’s personnel, including visitors who have a chance to visit the actual office or see it online. These elements of XO’s corporate identity will become something that employees can identify with while visitors can easily recognize and remember.
What’s even more important than the physical identity is the organization’s visions and how the office space works to mold the employees to move toward the same objectives with corresponding mindset. The potential to be adaptive and creative, which are the qualities that have helped the company attain success, has been cultivated among the company’s staff through the functional spaces that encourage team working and stimulate creativity.
The functional program of Exotic Food Headquarter is divided into four different sections
1. Support Core
This particular part consists of a number of functions designed to improve the staff’s work efficiency, such as small meeting rooms, the phone booths for online meetings, the managers’ offices, the workshop room and storage. This section of the program surrounds the main workspace without obstructing any natural light and beautiful outside surroundings.
2. Main Core
The central core comprises the main office space and other functional spaces such as the canteen, bar and amphitheater, which can accommodate a variety of work-related and recreational activities.
3. External Core
The spaces are designed to accommodate visitors and are made up of two main meeting rooms that can be partitioned or connected into one large conference room. Small meeting tables are used for their adaptability to support various functionalities such as formal meetings, group workshops or class lectures. The space outside of the meeting rooms houses a series of small pocket spaces that allow the company to accommodate different groups of visitors at once.
4. Internal Core
This casual workspace is designed to encourage team-working environments. The spaces inside the Internal Core and External Core are located in the area with an access to the view of the city and the green spaces on the Wireless Road, consequently bringing a more pleasant and relaxing vibe to the interiors.
The front part of the Main Core when combined with the External Core and Internal Core, creates a large, connected functional space referred to as the XO Core. This particular part of the program is used to host activities that represent the organization’s corporate identity, especially the ones with a large number of attendants such as Town Hall or company parties.
In the time when working is no longer limited to the physical space of an office (2nd place), working from home (1st place) may sound like a more convenient choice in a sense where one wouldn’t have to waste their time in commuting through traffic, not to mention that the idea of working from a nice café or other types of space (3rd place) sounds better than sitting in a cubicle.
Nevertheless, it’s undeniable that, ultimately, being in the environment of a physical workspace, surrounded by colleagues, still holds several benefits, from the efficiency of the staff’s performance and a sense of unity they build and share. The definition of future workspace, therefore, gears toward it being the place that encourages people to willingly come to the office to work together, all the while serving as a clear and positive representation of the organization’s identity. Functionally, it has to comprehensively accommodate work-related activities while doing its job in attracting employees to choose to work at the office rather than any other places. Rethinking the concept that once defined corporate office design to better resonate with contemporaneous situations and scenarios will prove that physical workspace will maintain its significance in the present and future, and the office space that is able to adeptly and suitably adjust to changes will serve as a key factor in the success of both individuals and the organization they are a part of.
Project Name: Exotic Food Headquarter
Project Location: Sindhom Building, Bangkok, Thailand
Owner: Exotic Food PCL
Interior Architect: IF (Integrated Field Co., Ltd.)
Environmental Graphic: INFO
Area: 545 square metres
Completion: 1 October 2021
Photographer: Ketsiree Wongwan