We are so fortunate to be named a finalist for Interior Design Magazine’s Best Of Year Award. Huge shout out thanks to our amazing designers at Parts And Labor Design.
Hyundai Card Studio Black is located in Seoul, South Korea and designed by the Gensler, an integrated architecture, design, planning and consulting firm—5000+ professionals networked across 44 offices—providing global reach with local touch.
Time Out (posted December 31 2016):
Located in the bustling Gangnam Station area, Studio black is a truly impressive co-working space created by Hyundai Card. From its facilities to every little tangible and intangible detail, Studio Black reflects the expertise and know-hows that have led Hyundai Card, the company behind the top-notch co-working space, to its groundbreaking success.
From the ground floor where a “speed gate” authorizes entrance, personal care provided with technology is visible. With an ID card allowing admissions to the main gate as well as elevator uses, tight security and safety is ensured for every member. Once you go up to the 10th floor of the building, you can find the spacious lounge with a polished industrial vibe reflecting the company’s unique and refined aesthetics. Here, along with comfortable couch seats and round tables, the large Hot Desk is located. It is provided to Lounge Members paying for the lounge use, whose membership comes with not only the desk seat but also the large meeting rooms with a video conferencing system, phone booths to secure privacy in phone conversations, curated selections of books, and a luxurious kitchenette providing coffee made with top-quality beans and simple breakfast items. Refreshingly, with a DJ booth set up in a corner, the Connecting Lounge can serve as a space for cocktail parties with live DJ sets and tapas. On the opposite side of the lounge, you will find another unique space (and quite possibly fall in love with it): built on a step seat-like structure, the seats provided here come with small portable desks and a magnificent view of the city through a full-wall window. Especially when nearing sunset, you can enjoy quiet time here to reflect and rejuvenate yourself, an experience close to an “office staycation,” perhaps. As a member, you will also get an access to the rooftop lounge, a charming space for mingling and connecting with some of the most innovative individuals of the city.
The individual offices, or Studios, created in the building reflect the company’s top-notch investments as well. With the capacity to host up to 672 people inside 160 smaller “cells,” Studio Black’s sleek work spaces are located on four different floors, the 8th, 9th, 11th and 12th. Innovatively, many of the cells have been built in a “module-style,” meaning that the walls can be adjusted at any time. This feature enables each cell to host different numbers of people, from one to ten persons, that is, and furniture can be added or removed in accordance with your needs. While every detail present inside each office — including the high-end chairs designed by Humanscale providing maximum comfort and functionality — is as impressive as it can be, Hyundai Card’s effort to create a thriving environment does not end here. To start off, there are the Device Lab and Tasting Room in which software developers can test their operation systems with the large number of smart devices provided here. In addition, two 3-D printers have been installed to produce mock-ups, while the Photo Studio enables the members to take photographs of their products using the in-house lighting. Two shower rooms equipped with high-end amenities and a Nap Room filled with sleeping pods are offered as well.
Impressive? There is more, a lot more: some of the best-in-town business consultants, tax attorneys and financial planners who have been handpicked by the experts at Hyundai Card are accessible to the members. They will participate in the Invitation Lunch, a brown bag luncheon event held regularly on every second Thursday, providing free Q&A session for the tenants in need of practical business solutions. You can also find inspiring lectures and quality networking opportunities at the Hyundai Card Class, where renowned professionals from diverse fields will be invited to offer their expertise and insight. Talking about the membership value — Hyundai Card’s in-house services such as the 24-hour car sharing, discounts for medical checkups, Design, Music and Travel library admissions as well as exclusive interest rate discounts for Hyundai Card/Capital finance products are offered to the members. In addition, Hyundai Card’s signature Concierge service established at Studio Black provides handy assistance in all paperwork-related matters, from leasing contracts to international invoice mailing. For the non-Korean speakers, Studio Black will introduce a network of translators and interpreters, as well. While operating a business in Korea can often involve small and large obstacles, these features will allow it to be indeed close to ‘ideal.’
From the facilities and amenities to the exclusive networking opportunities and tailored details present in the services — which the company is proud to call “a touch of Hyundai Card” — what Hyundai Card is creating with Studio Black is indeed the most ideal environment and experience for entrepreneurs and creators to truly thrive. The innovative changes, which the company has been bringing with its out-of-the-box management to the Korean financial market and diverse other fields including culture, transportation and F&B, are yet again realized in the center of Seoul, all inside Studio Black, a pioneering creators’ haven.
Along Shanghai’s Weihai Lu sits an industrial brick building, surrounded by ‘longtangs’ (traditional lane houses). Its aged demeanour belies an exciting, new function, as suggested by the words ‘Creatives Welcome’ scribbled in neon light on the historical Chinese stone arches above the entryway. This is the location of WeWork Weihai Lu, the China flagship of American co-work space and service provider WeWork.
Started in 2010 in New York City, WeWork is known for picking heritage spaces and transforming them into attractive collaborative work environments.
“WeWork loves the charm and characteristics of older buildings. Our design approach is to find ways to bring the building to life, let it be what it is and show off the way it was constructed rather than hiding it behind finishes or with heavy handed interventions,” says Ashley Couch, Senior Associate, Director of Interior Design at WeWork.
Their Shanghai branch has an interesting past as a warehouse for the East India Company, artist studios and galleries, and an opium storage facility in the 1930s. In response, the design team took a page from the city’s 1920/1930s belle époque period when fashion and architecture embraced a mix of Eastern and Western influences.
The result is a delightful melody of colour, forms and patterns, creating an engaging setting that well suits the WeWork branding and synergy. It is a collaboration between Shanghai-based architecture and design studio Linehouse, helmed by Briar Hickling and Alex Mok, and WeWork’s in-house design team, with the former focusing on the design of the public areas and the latter on the private offices.
Past the aforementioned stone gateway, an old laneway washed in pink paint leads to the reception area. This sits in an in-between zone where the original brick structure meets a layer of industrial additions made over the years. Playing with the narrative of a grand hotel “to transport guests and members on an unexpected journey of whimsy, voyeurism and festivity”, the words ‘Ring for Service’ flash behind the wood panelling and concrete counter, against a blue cabinet of curiosities.
Surrounding it is a bronze metal structure that hangs lights and creates leaners. This bronze frame is used throughout the building as a multipurpose element – casual space divider when fixed with etched glass for the creation of semi-private meeting areas, and holder of lighting fixtures, shelving and artwork. Its materiality injects a dose of opulence, contributing to the narrative.
This zesty reception hints at what lies ahead – an equally cheerful mise-en-scène in the central atrium. Covered by a previously added skylight, here is the epicentre of activity that exudes an indoor-outdoor feel as accentuated by potted plants. It is designed for a host of functions – informal meetings, chanced and planned interactivity, event hosting, hot-desking – facilitated by a bar and the relaxed layout of furniture in little islands. An assortment of private and semi-private spaces – phone booths, conversation rooms designed to be as living rooms for informal meetings, larger conference rooms – housed in the surrounding brick building look into this central space.
A curved terrazzo parapet wall, composed of diagonal pastel stripes of varying colour, extends onto the floor as a “hardscape carpet”. Comments Hickling: “There was an opportunity to play with the materiality, like brass fixtures, heritage wood panelling, etched glass partitions and terrazzo tiling, to help us define areas of programming without building actual walls or partitions in the central atrium and main areas of activity.”
Above the triple-height atrium hangs a custom-designed bronze lighting fixture doubling as decorative element. It suspends from the brick building so as to minimise any impact on the heritage walls. The light is made from pink and grey cabling, which traverses through the void and is threaded through circular bronze rings that hang custom glass shades. Different perspectives of the light installation are experienced as one [moves] from level one to level three on the atrium staircase; designed to lend an air of festivity to the atrium both in the day and night.
The sculptural, new steel staircase in ivy green as its dominant colour is a highlight within the atrium space, providing a multifaceted experience. 16 variations of blue are used to create the gradient effect attests to the amount of detail paid to the design.
“This is clad in triangular pieces of oak wood, with one side painted in hues of blue. The colours alternate as you travel up the stair, creating a gradient of tones, and shifting views from wood to blue. The interweaving form of the stair inhabits the void of the atrium and as you meander around, up and down the staircase and around the surrounding space, one’s perspective of the staircase is always changing,” says Hickling.
The designers have left no stone unturned in the design of this project, down to even utilitarian spaces such as bathrooms. Here, custom-printed pink and green tiles with interconnecting lines and shapes clad the walls, ceilings are painted a dusty pink and a mint-green lacquered box contains the cubicles. The use of bronze continues here with custom-designed light fixtures and mirrors above the washbasins that create a parlour-like vanity experience.
WeWork Weihai Lu demonstrates how far the workspace-sharing template has come. This is what the designers have done here, and more: the conversation between the old structure and new elements, and brilliant use of colour, graphics, form and material throughout presents an excellent foil for creativity and inspiration.