Shade Shifters


Azure - - SPOTLIGHT - WORDS _Ken­dra Jack­son

Graphic Im­pact

For Fuse, a New York City–based me­dia brand that em­pha­sizes in­clu­sion and diver­sity, a tra­di­tional of­fice lay­out was not a con­sid­er­a­tion when it came to de­vis­ing its new head­quar­ters. Rather, the aim was to cre­ate a space that re­flected the com­pany’s fluid and flex­i­ble spirit, one where em­ploy­ees could in­ter­act un­hin­dered by a cor­po­rate set-up. But even the freest flow­ing of spa­ces needs some di­rec­tion, which is where R&A Ar­chi­tec­ture + De­sign came in. Ac­cord­ing to R&A prin­ci­pal and co-founder Chris­tian Robert, de­part­ments were grouped in a way that al­lowed them to func­tion hy­per-specif­i­cally. “Colour,” he says, “was used to iden­tify ar­eas and to high­light flex­i­ble meet­ing spa­ces.” To that end, a bold pal­ette was de­vel­oped along­side new brand­ing im­agery and ap­plied through vis­ual cues. For ex­am­ple, semi-pri­vate rooms were po­si­tioned to­gether within the space and fea­ture glass walls with colour­ful sym­bols and nu­mer­als an­nounc­ing the room’s in­tended pur­pose – any­thing from a sin­gle-user phone booth to a small-group con­fer­ence space.

A Healthy Glow

Colour has long been linked to en­hanc­ing mood and cre­ativ­ity. For the fu­tur­is­tic-look­ing In­no­va­tion Lab in the Chi­nese city of Huizhou, a 700-square-me­tre train­ing and re­search hub for the China Re­sources Group, a con­glom­er­ate based in Hong Kong, a vi­brant pal­ette is just one as­pect of the over­all de­sign, but it plays an im­por­tant role in cre­at­ing ar­eas where em­ploy­ees feel wel­come and re­laxed. In the com­mon kitchen and wait­ing lounge, col­lec­tively known as the “en­ergy cen­tre,” colour and light work in tan­dem to “af­fect the mood, mo­ti­va­tion and en­ergy of the lab’s em­ploy­ees,” says Aim Ar­chi­tec­ture prin­ci­pal Wendy Saun­ders, who, along with Vin­cent de Graaf, led the de­sign. In th­ese ar­eas, such el­e­ments as LED strips (mounted in alu­minum acous­tic fins in the ex­posed con­crete ceil­ing) and a nearby in­ter­ac­tive light screen emit a range of warm and cool hues – pink, blue, orange, white – to ac­com­mo­date chang­ing en­ergy lev­els through­out the day. aim-ar­chi­tec­

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