Concept and Philosophy: Designing a new headquarters for a company is more than just to design office facilities. It must reflect corporate philosophy and pride, creatively put together to become a strong identity.
“Vanachai” translates as “victory in saving forests”, has become a corporate pride and philosophy that has rooted down firmly in the company’s way of building up business for decades. Founded in 1943, Vanachai Group has grown into one of Thailand’s largest manufacturers of engineer wood products such as MDF, HDF and particle board.
“Can we build an office here?”
The project began when Vanachai Group approached OPENBOX to design a new head quarter office on a very challenging piece of land in front of their previous warehouse office. The land was in such an odd shape that the board members always had been skeptical about whether a proper building could be built there.
The site was long and narrow, with an acutely angled open area facing the main road. OPENBOX decided the best solution was to simply follow the shaped of the site, stretched to the maximum envelope (15.0 meter setback from the main road, and 3.0 meter from neighboring lands). This unusual footprint becomes an unexpected opportunity to exploit unique form that would be difficult to justify under normal circumstance.
The Atrium was design to represent the company’s corporate philosophy, identity and pride. Although there is a proper showroom for company’s products in the program, OPENBOX decided to create more impressive exhibition by applying one of the company’s flooring products to most feature surfaces in the atrium. The design team intensively studied the internal space to make sure that the extensive uses of material for own head quarter to be less predictable, and rather tasteful. The result is subtle, but dramatic and very powerful. Staircases were designed as lengthened objects placed randomly in the atrium, leaning from one floor to another, giving a nostalgic impression of logging factories.
OPENBOX design team visited Vanachai’s factories to study product materials and production process as inspirations for forms, shapes and patterns. The Façade concept was formed by a puzzle of rectangular windows of different sizes based on images of MDF and particle production process: pieces of small material coming together to form an image of dynamic, functional surface.
A building designed by Thai architects, within Thai context, for Thai clients, tends to possess “Thainess” in Architecture:
Tropical Office Space: The office space is designed to make full use of available space. There are very little ceiling panels, so most M&E pipe works and structural elements are all exposed, creating more ceiling height and refreshing, raw and industrial look. More importantly, this reduces the amount of dust, humidity and moulds that usually accumulate in the ceiling, creating healthier environment for staff.
Flexibility in functions: Thais dwell concept of impermanence, so everything, including architecture is meant to be changing. Although the office layout was planned based on a well-sorted diagram, many changes occurred during the process. Open ceiling with exposed M&E route will make it easy for more functional alteration in the future.Open, airy and casual space: Many features are designed to encourage interaction between co-workers such as open plan office space, meeting rooms ranging from small casual corners to large scale, formal meeting rooms with glass walls. Extensive elevation studies allow the office space and the atrium to benefit from plenty of indirect sunlight, and natural ventilation throughout the day. Combined with lounge styles meeting corners planned around the open well, this creates a warm and casual work atmosphere, in the heart of the building.