Indesignlive Singapore / Designing for Work

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Designing for Work

Foreign Policy Design’s identity and wayfinding design for new co-working establishment The Working Capitol is both conceptually elegant and engaging. Luo Jingmei finds out more.

The Working Capitol is the newest co-working establishment in town. More than just offices, it also houses a plethora of facilities including a large pantry, beer garden, café, meeting rooms, and a 200-capacity events hall housed in a 20,000sqft shophouse space at Keong Saik Road.

Conceived by The Bamboo Group, “the aspiration for The Working Capitol is really to create an infrastructure for a community of knowledge workers to grown and interact, to facilitate the cross pollination of ideas coming from people in different knowledge industries such as designers from creative industries and tech companies,” says one of the co-directors Y.C. Teo.

They enlisted the help of FARM for the architectural restoration, Takenouchi Webb for the interiors and Foreign Policy Design for the identity and wayfinding design. The result is a sophisticated space and concept amalgamating the old and the new, the professional and the playful. Here, Yah-Leng Yu, co-founder of Foreign Policy Design clues us in on the ideas behind the firm’s scope of works in this project. Look out for the full story in Cubes Indesign C73.

 What is your scope of works at The Working Capitol?

We worked with the client to shape the vision of the brand; we also worked on the branding and wayfinding of The Working Capitol. We also brought Takenouchi Webb on board to work collaboratively on the space where we worked through the initial concepts together and then divided the tasks so that we focused on the colors, space graphics and way-finding while they focused on space planning and interior design.

What was the client’s brief and what was your responding concept with regard to the overall branding, and in detail?

We are grateful that we are able to work and create the brief together with the client. We were able to mould the direction of the brand while we also got to learn a lot from the founders. It is to design and create a co-working space where the product is aspirational and has the ability to be exported to the region. This will be not the standard co-working office that we will find in Singapore, or the region. A modern co-working office that is transformed from heritage historic shophouse in Chinatown; it is not the typical start-up incubator shared office environment but more of a Shoreditch House. We plan to create a community and not a typical office space where one just comes in to work then leaves after work is done. The Working Capitol will be a confluence of dynamic conversations and rapid prototyping of ideas. The Knowledge Worker, Inspired.

We’ve built the brand concept based on the Euclidean Principle and the visual language is inspired by Euclidean’s geometric construction. The idea that something beautiful can be created with a given set of basic axiomatic system can reflect The Working Capitol’s commitment to creating beautiful spaces (A) combined with the right infrastructure (B) and community (C). With these basic building blocks in place, the sphere of influence can multiply and grow.

I see that you’ve tried to integrate the signage in a very three-dimensional way, for example, below the yellow staircase. Can you elaborate on how your signage responds to the architecture/interior design?

Haha yes, this was actually envisioned and art directed before the space design happened and we were able to successfully activate a lot of these ideas while working on the space design and wayfinding.

The juxtaposition of 2D and 3D form in a single signage is really an expansion of the same concept we’ve developed for the brand – the Euclidean sensibility of geometric forms. The Working Capitol is not [just] an office; it is a community of knowledge workers who operate at the intersection of creativity, technology, and business. The wayfinding system therefore expounded these ideals with a combo of 2-D with 3-D forms on one signage and various anamorphic and sculptural forms as well as quirky taglines expressing directions and signs. All work and no play makes Jane a dull girl, no? We gave The Working Capitol a voice and we want it succinctly articulated through wayfinding and various signs as it is one of the first language that speaks to a visitor when he/she is in the space.

There are so many different elements at The Working Capitol – programmatically (café, offices, The Commons, access) and even within the co-working spaces, there are different permutations. How does the signage/branding address this? 

I think the flexible system of various 2-D, 3-D, type, icons, anamorphic and sculptural forms worked well in communicating the different functions when combined in various ways. Yet when put together, there’s still consistency in communication and brand voice.

The Working Capitol is situated in an old building in a historical context. Did you take your cue from the architecture/ location in any way? 

Well, we are conserving the facade of the building but inside we want to build a new standard of coworking, the future of office spaces and mode of working.