Updated: Apr 7
In the context of Architecture, “Design” probably lands on the list of the most vaguely understood concepts (if there exists such list). Consequently, contemplating on what makes a good design is just as complicated. What criteria should be considered? Is it return of investment, aesthetics, structural integrity, satisfaction of the client, or all of these? Good thing is that we can always go back to the Vitruvian Virtues of Architecture authored by, wait for it, Vitruvius. According to Vitruvius, good architecture (or good design) can be evaluated based on three essential components—Utilitas (use), Firmitas (structural integrity), and Venustas (beauty)—and their interrelationships.
Early this year, the MullenLowe Treyna office housed by the Rufino Pacific Tower at the heart of Makati Central Business District completed its renovation. An ingenious creation born of necessity; this office renovation project is sure to make waves in the workspace design scene—but what exactly makes this office renovation relevant and worthy of being considered a “good design”?
Perhaps we have heard of the quote “Necessity is the mother of invention”, which originally goes along the lines of “Our need will be the real creator”, derived from Plato’s The Republic. This expression is especially relevant nowadays during the COVID-19 pandemic. From meetings and simple business processes, up to the most complex operations of various industries; creativity, restructuring, innovation, and streamlining seem to be the way forward. One/Zero Design Collective responds to the pandemic by creating an office redesign for MullenLowe Treyna that embraces a hybrid working set-up—a system that has benefited employees and business owners alike. Following the pandemic’s impetus for restructuring and rebranding, MullenLowe Treyna office transitioned to a part-digital and part-physical workspace. The renovated space is now only a quarter of its original size. However, what is lost in physical volume is translated into a new system that integrates booking ahead of schedule, configured ratio of clustered huddle areas to individual booths for private discussions, and maximizing the use of digital workspaces.
Considering structural integrity, which in the case of MullenLowe Treyna office can be evaluated in terms of building material technology, the interior space flaunts the use of two visually contrasting but both versatile materials—raw concrete and wood (and its composites). The flooring is raw concrete, which is sealed by a clear protective layer for appearance and durability. The ceiling showcases a suspended honeycomb installation, which mirrors the floor plan’s use of modular honeycomb blocks. It also makes use of honeycomb modules composed of machine-pressed 11-ply corrugated board fillers, which are sandwiched between tanguile wood studs, laminated using a mixture of borax (a fire retardant), and finished using three layers of clear acrylic sealer. The partitions and caseworks also demonstrate the useful properties of wood and sandwiched corrugated board composites in acoustics and visual access control.
Now we talk about beauty. Does the newly renovated MullenLowe Treyna office conform to what is aesthetically pleasing in architectural terms? Well, MullenLowe Treyna office redesign is objectively beautiful for many reasons. First, the overall design creatively materializes the Balikbayan Box concept of One/Zero Design Collective—from the symbolism of “going the distance in search for a better life” to aesthetic qualities. Next, general, task, and accent lighting combinations highlight the warm tones of wood in contrast with the cooler tones of the floor and ceiling bringing in a cozy and comfortable feel to a typically cold and impersonal spatial archetype. Lastly, the overall design operates in the harmony between functional and aesthetic qualities of space, in accordance with the “form follows function” and “function follows form” rhetoric in design.
The MullenLowe Treyna office renovation represents good design by satisfying the Vitruvian Virtues of Architecture and, of course, by overcoming the challenges of the pandemic and evolving into a relevant and forward-thinking workspace case study.
The MullenLowe Treyna renovation was managed by JCVA. Learn more our services: