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Santen Shanghai Headquarters The Santen Shanghai Headquarters is a four-storey office building located within a garden compound in the Former French Concession. The clients requested for a new concept for their Shanghai headquarters that would be radically different from their existing generic office space within an office tower. The design proposed to capitalize on the site’s garden and existing greenery, while proposing the following concepts for the office of the future. Agency and choice – since the client requested that most of the staff be on hot desks, the design purposefully provided a myriad of seating types – from large social tables, to private cubicles, sit-and-stand desks, bar-height counters and discussion corners. Outdoor desks were also provided for staff wanting to work or relax in nature. The idea was for employees to customize their work environment based on their needs. In addition, careful consideration was given to the scale of the work spaces, with single, group and up to 12-person work benches and a 4th floor event space available for teamwork. Outdoor space and access to nature – from the beginning it was decided that every floor of the office will have access to outdoor public spaces that are rare in offices typically located within interiorized architectural envelopes. Other than the back garden, each floor was designed to have south-facing terraces. These outdoor spaces are threaded together with an exterior stair that is articulated through vertical handrails that turn horizontal to become sunshading. The fourth floor was designated a large dining/event space, with a rooftop garden and views to the platane treetops lining the street. Engaging the city – the site is located near a congested crossroad, with heavy foot and vehicular traffic. It was the desire of the client to create a more welcoming brand image, whilst maintaining privacy necessary for the office. The ground floor was therefore designed to be very open, allowing for views deep into the back garden from the street. A central atrium with raised landscaping was also inserted within the lobby area, and together with the garden, provided a form of “borrowed” landscaping for the streetscape. This urban streetfront and lobby area was designed to be open to the public for lectures and events. Sight and vision as a branding – the client is a leader in eyedrops and ophthalmological devices. A key part of the design was to introduce environmental design for the visually impaired into the work space. Braille was used on various surfaces from privacy screens to a newly developed font. A pegboard wall teaching users braille was installed and tactile paving was intentionally pulled from the city into the interior. While most of the staff were not visually impaired, the hope was that such design touches would instill within them a stronger sense of social responsibility, while reminding them of the company’s key goals.

Santen Shanghai Headquarters



In collaboration with Para Designworks

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