We’ve had our eye on young design studio Bean Buro since setting up in Hong Kong last year, so we weren't surprised to find that its latest project – the first of a series of forward-thinking co-working spaces – offers a creative take on the new wave of shared working environments emerging across the city.
‘We wanted to get away from the typical impersonal serviced-office feel,’ explains the studio’s co-founder Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui. Instead, work spaces reference the area’s waterfront fishing community, with meeting rooms featuring sculptural timber canopies. Layers of metal, frosted glass and clear glass help to bring natural daylight through to every office, while still maintaining privacy.
Meanwhile, shared spaces are designed to increase chance encounters via lounges, ‘collaboration islands’, and the designers’ signature 'Bean Tables', which sport playful curved edges that enable users 'to territorialise their own space, feel private, but also encouraging socialising’, explains the studio’s Lorène Faure.
One of The Work Project's meeting spaces
The carefully curated amenities comprise technology melding mind-focusing music, a unique fragrance to improve concentration, and artwork to create an engaging residential aesthetic. At the core is a private club-like social floor that features a stage for events, a gallery and a lush Patrick Blanc-designed vertical garden bristling with a mix of 60 species and seasonal flowers.
The 33,000 sq ft work-share facility – set over four-storeys at Causeway Bay’s Soundwill Plaza – represents something of a revolution within Hong Kong’s notorious commercial rental market, with a bookings system similar to making a hotel reservation, accommodating stays as short as a day, and featuring a user rating system.
‘The key to adapting to constant change, to grow and downsize at will, is by having total flexibility with workspaces that fit your team's changing requirements at all times,’ says Junny Lee, who conceived and developed The Work Project.
It seems to be – excuse the pun – working. Since it opened at the end of September, the space has been buzzing with a modern mobile crowd drawn from advertising, public relations, branding, law and accounting.