[Partners of FutureWardCentral] – Yuan Architects (Atrium Space design)
– We often get asked who designed our space? In typical startup fashion, much of it was poorly sketched out between myself and Dan over many Sunday afternoons at the coffeeshop. But as much as we wanted to do it all ourselves, we also knew the value of expertise from professionals, and relied on the experience of many talented friends and family where needed. –
I met Wenyuan Peng, founder of Yuan Architects, around April 2016 and was impressed with his design ethos and experience. He took a liking to our space and we knew it would be worth it to have him work on an area for FutureWard Central. So in July, we commissioned his firm to design the rear lightwell (dubbed The Atrium) which is the highlight of our open desk area, as well as the main throughway to our makerspace.
There were quite a few difficulties with the renovation that Wenyuan took on without hesitation: the strict parameters of the space, a limited construction budget, and an ever changing design brief. The double height space with a glass roof was not very large, and yet had to function as our rear entrance, a breakout area for a future coffeeshop, additional lounge and work seating, a night time event space, and yet be of sufficient visual attraction to be a talking point and an inspirational space for our members.
Over the course of three months, Wenyuan presented many concepts and proposals. The final design featured a vaulted ceiling structure created from plywood boarding, which undulates from various perspectives. It also functions to soften the sun overhead, while also breaking up acoustic echoes in the hard space. The ceiling design, each a different curvature and dimension, roots to the floor in a stunning bookshelf space which will feature the various products from partners, friends, and members at FutureWard Central. Full-height mirrors bring in more sunlight to the open desk area, while also visually doubling the physically narrow space. The original booth area is converted into a platform alcove, with an inside-outside tabletop for members to work on. The vinyl flooring with concrete effect, and large wood veneer panels bring a natural yet industrial feel to the space, easing the transition between our open desk area and the lightwell area.
Contractor assignment was in mid-October, and work started in early November. Immediately, the ceiling structure proved to be the main challenge, not only in cutting each to dimension and curvature as designed, but in handling of the physically large pieces. Lining up the hangers, and using pure manpower to lift each panel into place before fixing was very demanding, resulting in a 3 week construction schedule doubling to the better part of 6 weeks.
But the end result is stunning. One of the few projects where the actual result is just as amazing, if not more so, than the renders produced in studio. Standing underneath the vaulted ceiling, the natural lighting changes with different viewpoints, and inspires a feeling of contemplation which is perfect for the overworked mind. Furniture will be moved and changed due to our various demands of the room, but the quality and effect of the space will remain impressive, as is intended.
Already we have had many inquiries for intimate socials and events to be held in this Atrium. The flexibility of the space means it is just as suitable for a casual Q&A workshop on marketing as it is for a fashion trunk show or a wine tasting. We, at FutureWard Central, thank Wenyuan and his team at Yuan Architects for all their hard work, and invite everyone to take the time and see our Atrium!
Yuan Architects is an international design firm focusing on strategy, architecture and design for architecture, interior and exhibition projects, the team has a wealth of experience and comprises architects, interior designers, decorators, graphic designers and digital experts.
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Below photos by Yuan Architects. All Rights Reserved.