DCRS Decorations > Vol. 128 > Interior Trend
The gold copper alloy stair and arched translucent coloured screen opens up to conference/ dining pod beyond.

Work It

Challenging the norms of an office typology

Photography by: Heartpatrick

What stands out in particular in Mantab Workplace is its gleaming bold façade. Looming over the quiet suburban street, the gold-copper alloy façade rises up from the building’s ground level in shielding its interior furtively.

The project by S/LAB 10 entailed a complete internal overhaul of an existing bungalow. The team was required to re-examine the office or workspace typology in a Southeast Asian climate and locality for a local property development company in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. The firm required not just a workspace for its growing team, but also a series of spaces for hosting and entertaining their clients. As such, the existing single unit, multi-storey former residence was transformed into a gleaming corporate hub for a private entity that seamlessly integrates business and leisure.

The triangulated facets of gold-copper alloy are seemingly arbitrary but in essence are conceptually extrapolated from the corporation’s name and brand. Translated from Malay language, “mantab” means solidity; an unshakeable integrity. Inspired as well by the Malaysian shophouse vernacular of folding iron shutters, the gold-copper alloy clad folding panels are hinged and operable making the façade eye-catching and captivating.

The house’s basic structure proved advantageous in dealing with the site’s naturally steep incline. In place, is a dexterous play of cantilevering volumes, contrasting surfaces, materials and texture, and the considered use and design of intricate details throughout. The consolidation of the building’s existing structural framework with a bold play of surface and volumetric elements culminates in a strong, sensual spatial experience and language throughout.Subsequently, a confident, bold architectural presence and visual identity for the client prudently set within the existing building’s typology.

Contrasts was a key design strategy employed. A strong theme of bold yet methodical contrasts, or as the designers put it: “intentional mismatches”, is evident throughout, as articulated in the design’s volumetric handling of spaces and the contrasting play of colours, textures, materials and, in particular, its complementary custom detailing.

One such example of a division of space is the centrally positioned conference room on the white epoxy-floored first level. The room is surrounded by heavy but lush emerald-green privacy drapes. When open, the curtains provide a flexible use of space that reveals the heart of the level rather than further segmenting it. On its borders are a pair of slender-framed, arched translucent screens that further aid in framing the open space. Uniquely designed and detailed for the scheme, these translucent panels of varying soft neon hues are encased in a thin black steel frame that double up as feature display shelves and add visual interest and depth to the space when viewed from different orientation.

In another instance, the top two floors of the building are prominently cast in operable bright gold-copper alloy panes. Once shut, the broad gold-copper panes make way for a spaciously appointed lounge beyond, concealed behind tall curtain glass panels. Adjacent to this is a slighter single timber-clad volume which marks the main entrance and balances the entirety of the façade’s dramatic composition.

“We wanted to create an immersive volume in which to heighten one’s sense and experience of space to highlight their entry into the building,” the designers note. Hovering over the ensconced double-height lounge space are the glass-encased directors’ offices. Generously washed with natural light, the offices and lounge are cast in a soft, warm glow.

“We wanted to create an immersive volume in which to heighten one’s sense and experience of space to highlight their entry into the building.” – The Designers Note

Outside, the designers have incorporated a green terrace dubbed the “bamboo terrace”—on the first floor. In doing so, nature and the outdoors are a subtle feature that complements the scheme’s sleek corporate interior.

By creatively exploring various complex configurations of volume and space with their respective custom crafted details, the designers have successfully composed a series of work and leisure spaces, both private and open, that flow effortlessly from one to the other.