Collaborative, idea-centric and discipline-neutral were the cornerstones of Ogilvy & Mather’s philosophy in designing its office in Malaysia.
“Our people spend a lot of time in the office and we wanted it to be a place that provides comfort, yet inspires people to think differently and more creatively,” said Jacey Lee, managing director of Ogilvy Public Relations, based in Kuala Lumpur.
This thought was expressed in the way space was used, with exceptionally large common areas as the focal point, designed as a place to which staff and clients alike could naturally gravitate to, and once there, relax and engage.
The objective was also to facilitate better daily interaction and communication between the employees, “something which is extremely important for a large firm like ours”, added Lee.
The latest office project was the Newroom called NOVA where, using the latest state-of-the-art technology, Ogilvy creates and tracks constant on and offline engagements between its clients’ brands and consumers.
This is also the focal point for colleagues from all departments to be pulled in for impromptu meetings for any campaigns.
“By giving the freedom for teams to be organised in response to client needs, it enables the culture to be more flexible and agile.”
In fact, communal spaces, such as the O-Bar, are spread throughout the office offering a balance between openness and privacy.
Several built-in breakout rooms, each with a table and telephone for staff who need privacy to brainstorm, or are working on something confidential or making conference calls are located on both floors.
The O-Bar features a circular bar complete with a draught tap and a billiard table, while a series of diverse lounge and cafe-type settings is a distinct element of the office space.
Other interesting features of the office are a timber-lined “Japanese Box”, a formal meeting room containing a circular table and tree structure, tactile fabric “pods” for more intimate discussions, and an “interactive wall” with a disappearing table and stools.
The “meeting corridor” from the common area leads to a continuous flow of work spaces designed to create an interplay of “the daily world” and “the world of inspiration”.
Eye-catching details include an evocative tree structure, circular openings in the ceilings and a mix of baroque, modern, natural and industrial decor cues.
The office also has a lactation room where newly back-to-work mums are accorded privacy.
“Having a staff force where 50% are women, this room is an important feature of our firm,” Lee said.
Lee acknowledges that an engaging office space certainly improves productivity.
“We recognise that many of our people spend a lot of time in meetings and at their desks. Having an office that is engaging, fun and creative increases productivity, keeps the adrenaline pumping and more importantly, boosts morale.”
As a result, she advises firms to decorate their offices with their business and staff in mind, adding, “they are intertwined and one will not be able to grow without the other”.