Business and leisure come together in a space of ‘intentional mismatches’ at the Kuala Lumpur office of property development company Mantab Group.
February 27th, 2019
Overlaid volumes, surfaces, materials, textures and colours are the basis of an unconventional workplace designed by Malaysia- and Australia-based studio S/LAB10 for a property developer in Kuala Lumpur.
The Mantab Group workplace in Bangsar occupies an existing bungalow on a sloping site. The basic structure of the house proved advantageous in the development of a series of linked yet intimate spaces that support not only the typical functions of an office, but also the hosting of clients in a social setting.
The key challenge for S/LAB10 was devising a spatial scheme that was simple in nature but addressed the divergent demands of the brief: spaces for focused work, and others for conviviality – with the cohesion of a strong identity for the client.
The notion of contrasts became an important design strategy, leading to the development of a theme of bold yet methodical contrasts – or “intentional mismatches” as the designers put it.
The sense of deliberate contrast begins on the quiet suburban street, where a gleaming facade of gold-copper alloy screens rises stoically. Translated from Malay, mantab means ‘solidity – an unshakeable integrity’. The design team likened this character to diamonds – with their multitude of impeccable, hard yet beautiful facets. Hence, the folding screens depict a variety of matte and polished triangular shapes.
The screen system was also inspired by the Malaysian shophouse vernacular of folding shutters.
Inside, a sensual spatial experience awaits. Shared and intimate spatial settings are carved out with contrasting shapes, materials, textures and colours. A centrally positioned conference room, for example, is defined by a set of heavy emerald-green drapes that can be drawn to one side when the room is not in use to open up the space. Around it, a colourful custom-designed shelf-and-screen system creates a changing view of overlapping translucent colours.
Throughout, spaces flow with a strong sense of discovery as one surface and material leads onto the next. Despite the residential basis of the architecture, the Mantab workplace resonates with the aura of a high-end hospitality venue – highly customised, intimate and magnetic.
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