A far cry from a conventional office and showroom space, the project meditated on the concept “Life is a gleaming journey” to create a place for employees to both focus on work and, a little deeper, reflect on life.
The entrance is portal-like, drawing visitors into a “virtual world”. Designed based on a child’s physical height and perspective – Alice in Wonderland, anyone? – it captures the dreamlike naivety of youth. A chrome ball, a subtle nod to Sisyphus’s rock, and mysterious sculptures set the tone for contemplation.
The sprawling 310 square metre space is layered with references to Greek mythology. The centre of the room is taken up by a greige, cave-like structure organised by geometric building blocks. Acting as the exhibition area within the office, the interior feels deep and isolated. High walls and pronounced lighting dwarf visitors, echoing the timeless allegory of Plato’s Cave, which fixates on what we believe versus what we know. Functionally though, storage spaces are converted into “micro caves” within the large “cave”, so the stored objects become natural components of the space. Storage space and a chance to ruminate on the meaning of life? That’s one major multi-purpose cave.
The finer details of the design really liven the space up – classical Greek column lines, small staircase-like blocks, greenery and curved walls all benefit from the restrained and thought lighting by accenting them and casting shadows against the backdrop.
A bright red workbench snakes through the office. A beacon against the muted palette, the designers aptly drew inspiration from Ariadne’s thread, the Greek myth where Theseus is guided out of a labyrinth. A lighting strip above follows the free-flowing bench, penetrating the arched walls and illuminating the cave in turn. Floor to ceiling curtains create flexibility to either flood the space with natural light or close them for a more moody, ephemeral quality.
Straight lined workbenches and a meeting room sit to the other side of the cave, additional workspace for the team. This undulating and geometric spatial arrangement sits in comfortable polarity creating a natural separation of areas for different workplace needs.
By combining the real and virtual to create a poetic, philosophical space that transcends logic and norms this project by MMC Design has me asking myself for a meeting with the manager within.
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