The new Dunmai office has taken over an old motorcycle factory in the creative plaza on Shanghai’s South of the Bund, a place that serves as a remembrance to the familiar stories about old Shanghai. Designer Thomas Dariel, founder of Dariel Studios, gutted the old factory and replaced the space with a pleasurable, relaxing and modern workplace that reflects the company’s dynamism and creativity as well as serving their professional needs.
It took an internal architectural reconstruction to memorialize this old 4-floor factory building, Dariel kept the building’s historical façade, but completely transformed the internal structure into an open, high 3-floor volume arrangement under the design concept of “work in the park – play in the office.” A concept that is reflected in the overall structure and in every detail of this edgy and humorous-looking space.
The internal reconstruction is a response to the friendly atmosphere to the open space required by the client. A 3-floor high central patio, furnished with large white lacquer desks, was built so that colleagues can easily communicate with each other despite what floor level they are on.
Dariel appointed shades of white as the dominant wall color to push out the dark and dingy feeling of the old factory, and to reveal the original structure of the building. The shape of the new internal structure is inspired by the branches of a tree. Drawers on the wall let people imagine that all the plants growing in that space are spreading along the wall and up to the ceiling.
In order to make people feel as if they were surrounded by nature in the given space, the designer attempted to move all the elements of a garden to inside the office: grass lawns under chairs and tables, gardener’s tools designed on the walls, swings displayed during afternoon breaks that exhibit the sweet memory of childhood, and a groove for flowerpots on tables.
The natural light has been designed to infiltrate the whole space, so that one could feel a sense of being outside. The color scheme consists of pure white but bold colors such as vivid pink or green are used ubiquitously for contrast and for developing natural energy.
The restrooms’ entrances are designed to look like open elevator doors. Thus, when one is in search for an elevator, he or she will be surprised to find that it is actually a bathroom. Even the toilet walls are creatively designed, for the designer pays homage to a famous French artist street style by using images from video games to decorate tiled mosaics. The design illustrates that working in an office can be a joyful and unique experience. An office space can be open and transparent, just like the glass walls and doors of many individual spaces in Dunmai Office.