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Mvrdv creates transparent interior for hong kong office block

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Now known as the Glass Office, the building standsВ on theВ Kwun Tong waterfront in Kowloon East, a post-industrial areaВ that is rebranding itself as Hong Kong’s new central business district.

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The aim is for the building to serve as a model for new business developments, proving that it is possible to transform an old structure into a functional and beautiful office.

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The architects see the use of glass as symbolic of the growing demandВ for transparency in the modern workplace.

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“We are moving into a transparent society, businesses are becoming more open with the public, and people care more about what goes on behind closed doors,” explained MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas.

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“In that way, a clear workspace leaves nothing questionable, nothing hidden; it generates trust,” he said.

“But also it is an opportunity for the building to become a reminder of the industrial history of the neighbourhood, monumentalised in a casing of glass.”

One of the first moves in the renovation was toВ strip back the building’s rear facade to incorporate more glazing. Corridors, staircases, lifts and other communal areas were thenВ moved to the back, making them much more visible from outside.

Glass was used for all of these spaces ” glassВ lifts are housed inside glass shafts, while the emergency escape stairs are encased in fire-resistant glass.

The office floors, which can be kept open-plan or divided into four units, all feature glass floors and walls. There are no suspended ceilings, so electrical fittingsВ and ventilation ducts are left exposed on the ceiling.

MVRDV and local partner architectВ Arch-InnovativВ have also furnished one show office. To continue the theme, they chose transparent desks, chairs and shelving ” something they hope tenants will copy.

“The goal was to expose the inner workings of the building including the structure and installations, but not only this, to show the free-flow movement within the building, the inner-workings of the companies inside and the technical components which allow the office to function,” said the firm.

As well as offices, the building contains shops at ground level and two floors of restaurants above. A roof terrace and a series of balconies also feature, providing breakout spaces thatВ encourage staff to interact with one another.

According to the architects, the building uses 17 per cent less energy than the average Hong Kong office, despite the large amounts of glass.

The Glass Office is the latest in a series of MVRDV projects that look at alternative ways of using glass in design.

The office recently unveiled a converted Amsterdam townhouse with a glassВ brick facade. OtherВ completed projects include aВ library contained within a glass pyramid,В a glass building disguised as a traditional farmhouseВ and aВ completely see-through kitchen.

Photography is byВ Ossip van Duivenbode.

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