THE AGILE WHALE

The headquater of Mark Fairwhale in Shanghai has been designed to create a flexible working space to reflect the company's DNA and origins. Shanghai / 2020

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The headquarters of Mark Fairwhale, a cutting-edge fashion brand based in Shanghai, has been tailored to create an environment which reflects the company’s DNA by utilizing water and whale themes to create a flexible working space that echoes its fresh, youthful style.


The first-floor acts as a welcoming area for public guests, allowing them the opportunity to experience firsthand the company’s ethos via the large projection walls, which showcase the company’s culture and values. On the same level there is also a cafeteria and reception area outfitted with counters shaped as jumping whales, seamlessly making a powerful connection with the brand’s name. Enclosed within these two distinct zones there is also a multi-functional area which can be used to host events and temporary exhibitions.


The upper two floors house the main operational areas, with the central atrium, complete with a sculptured bar area and reception desk, designed to function as the primary element, further strengthening the striking aesthetic of the interior. The unusual staircase also serves as a gathering point for temporary events and has been carefully shaped to imitate the gesture of waves, thus reinforcing the brand’s name even further, with this design feature also been applied to the bar and reception areas, albeit on a smaller scale. These are complemented by the background art installation from a local artist, thus perfectly encapsulating the brand’s DNA.


Throughout the operative zones, careful consideration ensures each of the different areas has its own distinct colors, providing clear guidance for visitors by establishing a unique visual identity for every one of the four brands that are housed under the company. Open office work stations encompass the building’s perimeter, thereby guaranteeing each employee has access to both daylight and pleasant exterior views while simultaneously promoting ‘casual collaboration’ in a bid to encourage collaboration.


The primary driving force underpinning this project was the architects’ desire to translate the energy and diversity of the city of Shanghai, into the functional distribution of the workspace, and for this reason, there is not a single space in the entire office which is more than 25 meters far from an informal meeting point; whether that be one of the many different lounge amenities or cafeterias.


In this way, as in the city itself, the office becomes a hub for interactions, and by removing formal and obsolete patterns typical in the most Chinese offices, the architects have created a modern, innovative and comfortable workspace that meets the needs of contemporary employees. This open space allows people to take on multiple roles in a constantly evolving environment, giving employees more control and the opportunity to complete their job in the way that suits them better.


This project’s purpose is to highlight the way people work in spaces they have no permanent attachment to. The working environment is visually open with no barriers, apart from the flexible meeting rooms necessary for private discussions, creating a strikingly modern, employee-friendly workspace environment where people will always perform at their best.

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    The headquarters of Mark Fairwhale, a cutting-edge fashion brand based in Shanghai, has been tailored to create an environment which reflects the company’s DNA by utilizing water and whale themes to create a flexible working space that echoes its fresh, youthful style. The first-floor acts as a welcoming area for public guests, allowing them the opportunity to experience firsthand the company’s ethos via the large projection walls, which showcase the company’s culture and...

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