The future looks bright
Sheila Kim -- Interior Design, 5/1/2003 12:00:00 AM
In the word-association game, management consulting is more likely to get you staid, impersonal, or corporate than colorful and energetic. But Accenture's Singapore office breaks the rules. Eco-id Architects and Design Consultancy, a local firm with numerous corporate interiors to its credit, went all out with saturated colors, curvy lines, and groovy graphics.
The office occupies a total of 61,000 square feet on six floors of Raffles City Tower, built by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners in 1986. Visitors arriving on the 34th floor immediately set foot on polished white faux marble, a sophisticated but professional welcome. The louvered aluminum cladding the elevator bank extends at half height to form the front surface of the reception desk, topped in honed faux marble.
Just beyond, in the center of the lobby, is what Eco-id principal director Boon Sim calls the arena, a triple-height elliptical space amid Pei's orthogonal architecture. Access to the two floors visible above is via a steel staircase with beech treads and a tempered-glass balustrade. Along the underside of each floor's curved balcony, lighting troughs frame the arena like parentheses.
Since windows ring the arena's entire perimeter, Eco-id designed extruded-aluminum louvers to diffuse Singapore's strong sunlight. The resulting dimness permits better viewing of the arena's suspended 20-by-26-foot screen, on which underwater scenes, rain-forest landscapes, and corporate promos are projected to accompanying music. "The images create a shifting mood throughout the day," explains Sim—who provided Christophe Pillet's Sunset chairs for anyone wishing to watch the show.
Opening off this circulation hub are office areas, focus rooms, and lounges shot through with bright hues. Even the 30-seat boardroom makes a multicolored statement. The room's long interior wall, fronting the corridor, is two glass layers sandwiching a run of motorized blinds. When the blinds close for privacy, their white side faces in to serve as a background for the brainstorming notes and diagrams that employees scribble in white-board marker, right on the glass. The closed blinds' exterior side, meanwhile, is a subtly graduated composition of orange, yellow, and green.
The rainbow experience culminates in the staff café, where a vibrantly striped custom carpet runs parallel to a cantilevered stainless-steel counter with concealed power and data ports for staffers needing a change of scene. (What client presentation wouldn't be improved by an espresso, a fresh-squeezed orange juice, or Shin and Tomoko Azumi's LEM Piston stools in steel and plastic laminate?) The café's backlit sapphire-glass mural depicts a legendary Accenture event, the 2001 party celebrating the company name change from Anderson Consulting. In the mural's Abe Hirschfeld–like rendition, company higher-ups are depicted alongside dancers and sumo wrestlers.