With interiors by HK Studio, kitted with state-of-the-art technology and featuring a world-class art collection curated by artist Kim Lieberman, The Business Exchange (TBE) in Sandton has what it takes to meet your professional needs. The workspace-to-rent offers month-to-month private, co-working and virtual offices, as well as training and meeting rooms and an events space. TBE is also the brand-new home of House and Leisure‘s Joburg team. In light of this, we chat to HK Studio’s Andrea Kleinloog about what went into creating it.
What are the most important factors of designing a workspace and how did you tackle them?
One of the key elements we have come across is that very few workspaces have the same requirements and so, after the formal brief, we always start with the question of ‘If I worked here, what would I value? How would this design decision benefit me?’. In a corporate world, empathetic design goes a long way.
What inspired the colour palette of The Business Exchange?
TBE provides its clients with unique access to the most remarkable range of South African contemporary art. We used this as part of our planning in the space – we needed to have some flat charcoal areas to allow for the art pieces to really sing. This was also reminiscent of the corporate ‘suit’, which juxtaposed well.
We selected some other tones through a series of exploration of raw art images – unfinished artworks, base coats of oil paintings, ceramics in the process of being fired, traditional terracotta in its raw form. This led us to a raw palette of ochres, terracottas and tans.
What was your favourite part of the project?
The diversity of the planning required – TBE not only offers its clients thoughtful (and fully serviced) office spaces, but also has a wonderful encouragement of networking and teamwork through its client-entertainment areas and various little coffee hubs. One of our favourite parts was exploring the idea that there are little secret spots throughout the layout that may become someone’s favourite space. Each of those little spots has been given consideration in both its fittings and its art selection, which was incredibly rewarding.
What is the value of design when it comes to a workspace?
To place value in the design of a workspace shows your employees that you place value in them. From the designer’s perspective, it’s also important to remember that designing a workspace is not a matter of instructing the client about aesthetics: it’s asking questions about the space that matter, and then addressing them in a beautiful way.
What would you recommend for people who are designing a workspace at home?
Workspaces need to adapt to the way you work – for example, the traditional isolated study can be replaced with things like a multifunctional ‘studio’ space for the family to share. If you work in front of the TV, you can also orientate your workspace around that. Just remember to look after your back – so, no matter how or where you prefer to work, try and accommodate a good seating option and the space to move around sufficiently.
Visit thebusinessexchange.co.za for more details.