The Working Capitol’s INDE-nominated Robinson Road space is a bold sophomore effort that interweaves efficiency and wellbeing.
June 18th, 2018
Fortune, as the saying goes, favours the brave. As much is obvious for The Working Capitol, which first appeared onto the scene in 2014, when co-working was still a fledgling concept on Singapore’s fast moving commercial landscape. To this end, the first Working Capitol space was a bold move for co-founders Ben and Saranta Gattie, who harnessed the power of some of the country’s biggest names in design to transform a former biscuit factory in Chinatown into the Little Red Dot’s first – and most iconic – co-working spaces.
The gamble paid off massively, and a mere 9 months after its launch the 300+ person space was all but at capacity. The Working Capitol soon inspired lookalikes across the country and garnered acclaim around the world: in 2017, it was named one of Asia’s top co-working spaces by Forbes magazine, and was the only Singaporean space to make the cut on The Huffington Post’s list of 20 best co-working spaces across the globe.
Against this backdrop, anyone would be daunted by the prospect of a second effort. Faced with this reality, The Working Capitol reacted with characteristic verve and resolve to deliver a second co-working space that delivers everything that the original on Keong Saik Road does, and more.
Nestled into the heart of Singapore’s CBD, The Working Capitol at Robinson sprawls across 11 of the 19 floors of the Crown @ Robinson, a mixed-use commercial development that features 86 office suites and 6 stores. Sleek, chic, and polished, The Working Capitol at Robinson takes all the concepts from the Keong Saik Road space and extends and unspools them in new, often unexpected directions.
Design heavyweights HASSELL brought a fresh palette and remarkable restraint to the interior of the new space: resplendent in pastel shades, autumnal tones, and natural blonde timber offset by exposed trusses and sculptural light fixtures. Dichronic lighting fill the spaces with bright, futuristic hues and is paired with ample natural lighting to give workers a choice of the right light for any task.
The project is not the first collaboration between HASSELL and The Working Capitol, with the creative partnership dating back to 2016 when the duo launched an in-depth research program focused on analysing and optimising the work environment. The project’s ongoing investment in this allows findings to continue to shape and sharpen The Working Capitol operations and, indeed, the landscape of co-working at large.
Thanks to their strong empirical basis, The Working Capitol remains keenly attuned to the characteristics that make co-working spaces actually work. This detailed level of understanding allows the brand to focus on delivering a genuinely positive co-working experience, as opposed to a mere aesthetic gesture. Every aspect of the design – from the way the space interacts with the existing building envelope (well-considered and sensitive) to the visual vocabulary (rectilinear forms often paired with arches and curved openings) and material selection (pared-back, subtle luxuriance) – is carefully considered for its contribution to a comfortable, welcoming space that is conducive to both collaboration and wellbeing.
Indeed, wellbeing and health are at the core of The Working Capitol at Robinson’s bold reimagining of the workspace. Plants scattered across the 11 storeys add pops of verdant colour and cleanse the internal air, and bright day light filtering in through the space’s ample glazing keeps occupants energised and connected with nature. The material and colour palette also play into this biophilic design approach, with natural tones of ochre, green, and dark brown used throughout the workspace to evoke soothing natural landscapes.
To help bring the project’s wellness aspects to spring life, The Working Capitol and HASSELL turned to Mafi, timber suppliers renowned for their strong commitment to wellbeing and healthy indoor environments. Mafi timber flooring was specified alongside resilient rubber floors and goat fibre carpet, with each of these different floor finishes passively demarcating different zones and circulation spaces. The richly textured grains and hues of Mafi timber floors perfectly balance the planar smoothness of the sleek joinery and wall finishes, and add a welcome, grounding tactile element.
Free of dangerous adhesives, VOCs, and chemical based lacquers, Mafi flooring contributes to a healthy indoor environment at The Working Capitol and provides a safe space for allergy sufferers and asthmatics alike. Thanks to a unique heat treating process, the dark timber floors used throughout the project will not off-gas harmful chemicals over their lifespan, making them the ideal choice for meeting elevated health outcomes in the long term.
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