Characterised by its serene, cosy vibe and sunlit interiors, Banyan Workspace is a luxury co-working space adding a new dimension of conscious comfort in the hectic work environment in Hong Kong.
To most people, their work is where they spend the second most (if not the most) number of hours in the day. Founded by entrepreneurial couple Rasheed and Amy Shroff, Banyan Workspace was a conscious effort to fill the gap between the highly corporate high-end co-working spaces and the vibrant, millennial-centred shared offices that populate Hong Kong today.
Transforming an industrial space
The original space was dark and compartmentalised, unable to take advantage of the sweeping ocean views at this secluded corner of Quarry Bay. Located in an industrial building with loft-height ceilings, S.Lo Studio envisioned the heart of the space to be an open atrium, starting from the tall library area that acts as a place for informal meetings. Private desk areas and meeting rooms flank two sides of the main floor, while private offices in the mezzanine level look out over the atrium, benefitting from more natural light and visibility this way rather than being completely closed off.
The private desks in particular were a bespoke design to combat unique constraints within the space that came with the dropped floor upstairs. Eli adds, “we used the idea of getting sheltered or supported by the Banyan within the space. We worked on the existing columns to represent the aerial roots that came down, using specific features to create a nested treehouse effect.” The result is what the designers call niche desks, where the tables are nestled within mini alcoves framed by rattan pieces. “It ends up being a really nice private field, despite being in an open co-working space.”
A workplace that gives back
Unlike the pop-styled, convivial co-working offices geared at millennials, Shroff and his team hope to have Banyan Workspace become a sustainable, community-minded environment, where coworkers can gain a sense of belonging thanks to its bold social responsibility initiatives.
For instance, Banyan Workspace donates two percent of individual membership fees to one of four local charities, subject to the member’s choice. Banyan Workspace’s values have attracted companies that perhaps haven’t been able to make time for corporate social responsibility but want to start.
Aside from higher level CSR engagements, there are other small ways to involve community outreach, and a lot of it is in the pantry: The cookies come from St. James Settlement. The nuts come from the old lady down the road. People prefer oat milk in their beverages rather than dairy. There’s a sophisticated, seven-category waste management system including tetra pak recycling — where they are taken to a local plant to get turned into toilet roll. Food waste, used coffee grounds and tea bags are composted so they don’t end up in the landfill. Members receive a collapsible silicone coffee cup that they can take around. The company also offers reusable lunch boxes that people can take to nearby restaurants for their takeout — these are early-generation tupperware boxes from Hong Kong startup Revolv, which offers eco-friendly to-go solutions.
“What we’ve found is that the giving back, the sustainability and the aesthetics of the space — it attracts a certain type of like minded person,” says Shroff. “It’s nice because I feel like even when someone walks through the door here, I don’t feel like you’re meeting an employee, they’re meeting someone who is actively passionate about the business, passionate about the space. If a business has already got those values, it’s easier to decide whether you’d like to be a part of it or to work with them.”
Banyan Workspace, Suite 1204, Eastern Harbour Centre, 28 Hoi Chak Street, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
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Original post at https://www.lifestyleasia.com/hk/living/wellness/quarry-bays-banyan-workspace-sets-the-bar-for-conscious-living-and-working/.