Overlaid volumes, surfaces, materials, textures and colours are the basis of the unconventional property developer – Mantab Group – workplace designed by Malaysia- and Australia-based studio S/LAB10 for a property developer in Kuala Lumpur.
The Mantab Group workplace in Bangsar occupies an existing bungalow on a sloping site. The basic structure of the house proved advantageous in the development of a series of linked yet intimate spaces that support not only the typical functions of an office but also the hosting of clients in a social setting.
The key challenge for S/LAB10 was devising a spatial scheme that was simple in nature but addressed the divergent demands of the brief: spaces for focused work, and others for conviviality – with the cohesion of a strong identity for the client.
The notion of contrasts became an important design strategy, leading to the development of a theme of bold yet methodical contrasts – or “intentional mismatches” as the designers put it.
The sense of deliberate contrast begins on the quiet suburban street, where a gleaming facade of gold-copper alloy screens rises stoically. Translated from Malay, mantab means ‘solidity – an unshakeable integrity’. The design team likened this character to diamonds – with their multitude of impeccable, hard yet beautiful facets. Hence, the folding screens depict a variety of matte and polished triangular shapes.
The screen system was also inspired by the Malaysian shophouse vernacular of folding shutters.
Inside, a sensual spatial experience awaits. Shared and intimate spatial settings are carved out with contrasting shapes, materials, textures and colours. A centrally positioned conference room, for example, is defined by a set of heavy emerald-green drapes that can be drawn to one side when the room is not in use to open up the space. Around it, a colourful custom-designed shelf-and-screen system creates a changing view of overlapping translucent colours.
Throughout, spaces flow with a strong sense of discovery as one surface and material leads onto the next. Despite the residential basis of the architecture, the Mantab workplace resonates with the aura of a high-end hospitality venue – highly customised, intimate and magnetic.
Photography by Heartpatrick
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