Unbot China by Prism Design and Super Neko Architects: 2020 Best of Year Winner for Tech Office

Photography by Katsumi Hirabayashi.

Open-plan digital start-up offices staffed with Gen Y- and Z-ers were practically commonplace pre COVID-19. How to differentiate? Such was the challenge posed by tech client Unbot China, an online marketer, for its relocated workplace. The reason for the move to a larger, 23,000-square-foot site was to improve operational efficiency and organizational strength by hiring more employees. Maintaining communication between teams as well as the convenience and health of each worker were paramount. So Prism Design Consulting Shanghai Co. and Super Neko Architects responded with a concept they call “mitochondria and chloroplasts” in regard to the two-story project’s zoning, structure, and identity, essentially creating a space that facilitates metaphorical “respiration and photosynthesis.” These were achieved via rounded forms, address-free workstations with earthy OSB tops, swaths of sunny yellow, and a generous mailroom that also has colorful cubbies to accommodate lunch deliveries—likely ordered through Ele.me, Shanghai’s Seamless equivalent.

Photography by Katsumi Hirabayashi.
Photography by Katsumi Hirabayashi.

Project Team: Tomohiro Katsuki (Prism Design Consulting Shanghai Co.); Takuro Kokubun (Super Neko Architects).