WORDS Malibongwe Tyilo
Two of VISI’s favourite trends – liveable, sociable workspaces and container architecture – come together in the sweet spot that is the new offices of advertising agency 99c, designed by Inhouse Brand Architects.
When advertising agency 99c was thinking of a new space, they asked multi-award-winning Inhouse Brand Architects to create their new office. Located on the top three floors of the Atlantic Centre, a new development on Cape Town’s Foreshore, the 3 000 square metre office is an exercise in how spatial design can both reflect and drive communication and collaboration.
One of the main goals behind the design was to create a space that would reflect the creative nature of the agency and its employees. “The latest office design thinking contends that collaboration happens at the water-cooler, and does not necessarily need to tie up an office space or a meeting room that has been earmarked for client use, and often stands empty for most of the day,” says Aidan Hart, Inhouse’s creative director. Inhouse’s research at 99c also yielded similar results – people tended to meet in a more informal way, in shared spaces.
A quick squiz through the new office design will reveal several beautiful, informal and semi-private meeting spaces, all decorated in a select palette that incorporates corporate colours. Burnt orange, blue, black and lime yellow brighten up the detailing and give the office a fresh feel worthy of its magnificent views of the harbour and Devil’s Peak. Pine and plywood are used extensively through out.
One of the offices’ quirkiest spaces, and a nod to its panoramic views of the harbour below and the shipping containers that line it, is the waiting room, also sometimes an informal meeting space. Painted in a striking red colour, it is made out of a repurposed shipping container!
These “campsites” make optimal use of the shared spaces in order to stimulate connectivity and collaboration, and avoid that “us and them” mentality that can develop in many offices due to departments being divided into operation silos by traditional floor structures.
A staircase in between the ninth floor and the mezzanine level has been removed and replaced by a new stadium-style structure that doubles up as seating for the entire company and also faces a hidden projection screen that can be rolled down, turning the space into an arena with a big screen cinema.
The office’s café, taking full advantage of the double-volume space and the views, is built on a slightly raised deck and features an indoor landscaped garden with six large trees, around which tables are laid out, making this office itself a kind of liveable space. Consider the kitchen under the arena and the addition of an office bar, and late nights at the office suddenly seem like a much more attractive option!