Posted: 05 Jan 2013 06:13 AM PST
At the end of 2012, printing office Drukta and mailing company Formail moved into their new building. Not a new build, but a former textile company's warehouse, spanning 4.000 sqm. For their office space, both companies were looking for a solution which needed to fit their needs and budget. At the same time, they really wanted the original and creative concept to become a proper eye-catcher, linking the office area with the machines on the workfloor – a task right up the street of interior designers Five AM in Kortrijk (Belgium).
Experience and transparency
At the beginning of February, Drukta and Formail approached Five AM with the request to come up with an original solution to fit their office space in the warehouse. Drukta aimed to step away from the classic image of a printing office, where there is hardly any room for image building. Both owners wanted a concept pivoting around 'experiences', so that clients leave with a lasting memory after their visit. For Formail, the link between the atelier/machines and offices prevailed. Silo mentality had to make way for optimal transparency of all of the company's activities.
During their quest for a partner for this project, the design Five AM presented some time before for the Liebaert Projects art centre, immediately caught their attention (go to www.fiveam.be), more precisely the shipping containers which were assembled track-wise in the large space. This idea of integrating the office space in shipping containers or some other kind of units, seemed the perfect solution for the 4000 sqm warehouse.
Also from a sustainability point of view, both partners subscribed to the philosophy of recycling and re-using second hand containers. The choice for Upcycling was an easy one. Rather than building a brand new construction in the warehouse, upcycling allowed for existing materials to be applied in a sustainable way. Moreover, the flexible and modular character of the containers opened a wealth of options – so deciding on the basic material was not hard. From then on, Five AM could start on designing the actual set-up, the interior design, the finishing and… choosing what kind of containers they would use. The containers were chosen by hand and in person in the port of Antwerp, before being put together in a test assembly. This way, the duo could experience what kind of set-up would support the best the relation with the existing building and the atelier. The clients were really looking for more than just a creative, original and appealing design. Just as important was the link with the total concept. This unusual take on office space design had to be translated towards both companies' activities. Five AM also included visibility, transparency and approachability, by using big windows and steel staircases up to the offices.
From container to office
After all the plans were finalised, all shipping containers were adjusted to their new life as office space. Openings for doors, windows and passages were cut. Interior walls were erected. The outside was painted in contrasting colours to the concrete of the workfloor (black for Drukta, yellow and black for Formail).
And last but not least, they made their way to Kortrijk on trailers, to be assembled in their final positions (see http://vimeo.com/48512591#). However, they were not placed in their entirety inside the building; part of them is visible from the outside still. The Drukta entrance for instance sticks almost 0.5 m out of the building, and for Formail the old loading docks were used. The main advantages of this set-up are the fact that natural light can flow into the offices and that the containers add cachet to the exterior of the building.
Simplicity does it
For the finishing of the containers, Five AM opted for a sober but attractive style, to go with the preferences of both building partners. For the cladding for instance, building materials were used. For the interior walls in the Drukta offices, the use of multiplex created a warm and cosy feel, further enhanced by the carpet on the floor. At Formail, they went for a bit more minimalistic style, with MDF panels painted white. Also functionality was important, since the containers were partly outside and had to be insulated. Five AM kept the lighting sober: rhythmically placed TL lights in the offices and indirect lighting in the toilets. Apart from artificial lights, in the Formail offices especially a lot of thought went into having as much natural light flowing in as possible, with big windows in the containers and in the façade, but also by placing a long skylight in the area for manual handling. And this is how bold containers were transformed into bright and airy offices and pleasant working spaces.
Assembling shipping containers into larger constructions and fitting these into existing buildings, is not a new idea for fast and durable building concepts. However, Five AM delivers added originality, which is of course applicable to other companies. With their choice of materials and clever use of space, the design duo succeeded to obtain the result the clients wanted, while still being on a smaller budget. Also, the modular characteristics guaranteed flexibility, taking away the need for any drastic work, since at any time extra containers can be added or the existing containers can be moved to another location. What is certain, is that both Drukta and Formail are very happy with the result – and moving is not on the immediate agenda.
+ Project facts
Name: Office space design with shipping containers
+ About Five AM
Design atelier Five AM was established in 2011 by interior designers Mathieu Bellens and Olivier Caluwier. Creating interiors and exhibition spaces for semipublic organisations and private companies, the Five AM portfolio also extends to product design. The studio's aim is to generate a moment of astonishment in the process of realising an inspiring result. With simplicity as a starting point, each design needs to interact with the user and build up naturally until the story is complete.
+ All images courtesy Five AM
Posted: 05 Jan 2013 02:35 AM PST
South Korean design architect Sae Min Oh 0f bang by min emerging design group designed the H-House. It was awarded 'The 30th Seoul Architecture Prize in 2012' and 'Korea Interior Design Best Awards 2012'.
Located at the alley of Seongbuk-dong where community of village has formed for a long time, 'H-House' is a house to keep the meaning to show the virtue secretly. This house reveals itself without clumsy and stimulative feeling in the scenery of old alley, suitably for its name. 'Sae Min Oh' seemed to concentrate on the details somewhat excessively at this project. He has pride and feels affinity to this project because he has proceeded it with craftsmanship from plan to completion for a long time.
The site of 'H-House' had the slope ground where the front level is lower about 8m than the back level, which became a problem in designing it. Besides this physical problem, the architect had more difficulties with the client's demands ; to create a house for three generations, a house with good daylighting and ventilation on the basement and the first floor. Consequently, it is a successful project because the client is satisfied with it.
Firstly, the architect had to design a space where three generations could live together and privately at the same time, in order that they could behave individually while being together. The architect created the second floor as an interspace of this house divided into three floors, where they can form a community of family, behave individually and have their own area. He divided the living room on the second floor into three levels, which give each member of family their own area naturally. This space opened but different in levels enables family to do privately and separately. And folding door and changeable wall make it possible to expand or divide the space according to the user' demand.
Secondary, daylighting and ventilation on the basement and the first floor were very important in this house because the ground level had the big difference between the front ground and the back ground. It is said that the biggest problem of the existing house before 'H-House' was just the daylighting. The house was filled with dark and damp air because the basement and the first floor were not lighted and ventilated well. In order to solve this problem, the architect placed courtyard and sunken garden, connected from the lower floor to the sky, encouraging the brightness to the whole building.
Lastly, the architect solved the client's third demand, to have a commercial space for rent on the basement floor. It is just beauty shop 'Miega'. Beauty shop 'Miega' involves the formative element of 'H-House' and the shape of this village Seongbuk-dong, and it attracts the attention with its unique space design.
Exposed concrete and wooden panels in mud color created the more effective result than the luxurious materials, with the constructing details the architect insisted on completing, although they are not expensive. The different materials to compose the building emphasize their property of matter and create the various looks with their shadow. The designer also used the materials by cutting them into small unit. These details make this house have a shape to reveal the virtue secretly with the sense of existence but without any overawing sense.
+ Project facts
Architect : Sae Min Oh
+ About Sae Min Oh
This is the information of Sae Min Oh, the Principal of 'bang by min emerging design group' located in Seoul, Korea.
'Sae Min Oh' graduated from the School of Architecture at Pratt Institute(New York, USA) and the Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design, GSAPP at Columbia University(New York, USA). He built his career at 'the Leonard Parker associates', 'PDI', and 'Durrant', and is currently working as the principal of 'bang by min emerging design group'. Also he is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Architecture, Korea University.
He works many diverse projects with novel attempts and experimental approaches at architectural, urban, environmental and interior design, space & contents developing. His representative works are 'H-House', 'Urban Boutique Hotel', french restaurant 'La Ville de Pins', 'Miega', boutique hair salon, first prize for the 'The Ritz-Carlton, Seoul Exterior Design Competition' and design proposal of 'Ho Chi Minh City Meteorological Administration mixed-use building project'.
In 2012, he was awarded 'The 30th Seoul Architecture Prize' and 'The 16th Korea Interior Design Best Awards'.
+ All images and drawings courtesy bang by min emerging design group
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