Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes

Boston Consulting Group, Shanghai

World-leading management consultant BCG required a new, changeable work environment that is suited to their business practices. It needs to be a flexible space that could adapt to their unique projects and purposes constantly changing in terms of size and scope, and cater to the changing working patterns of BCG employees.

Serving clients from private, public, and non-profit sectors in 43 countries around the world and consistently ranked as one of the world’s top companies to work for, BCG is keenly aware of the impact an office environment can have on employees and productivity.

Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes section
Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes section

Motives for change

Though it was 13 years old by the time of its replacement, BCG’s original Shanghai office had held up remarkably well, a testament to the quality of its design and construction.

Over time, however, the working patterns of BCG employees changed. Now, less than 40% worked from the office full-time while the firm’s increasing emphasis on collaborative work meant that fewer enclosed offices were required. It also recognised that a change of environment could be an advantage in attracting quality talent.

Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes section
Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes section

BCG’s initial move was to secure a space for its new office, eventually opting for two and a half floors with a total area of 2,400 square meters (net) in the prestigious Shanghai IFC. With the stage set for change, BCG opted for the familiar and selected our team once again to fulfil its project brief.

Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes section

Building a brief and a concept

Adopting a modular approach for the design, the team rapidly developed a concept based upon largely open spaces that could be rapidly converted from one use to another. For example, furniture and fixtures used in the ‘town hall’ space can be rolled or stacked away to transform the area into a lounge, a group work setting, or even a large-scale training setting.

Further reinforcing this flexibility is the use of unassigned seating and secure Wifi covering every corner of the office. 

Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes section

BCG’s business focuses on delivering team-built solutions, and these teams vary in size from project to project. We developed a design in which workstations can be grouped as ‘villages’ with full utility support, their size determined by dynamic business needs rather than by static cubicle walls.

Moreover, the flexibility and adaptability of the space offers end-users the possibility of working anywhere in the office, reducing feelings of constraint in the work environment.

Breaking down barriers

BCG’s new design guidelines included locating offices along the core of the space rather than along the windows, and moving to a more fluid, unassigned seating plan.

As a consequence, end-users would no longer have window offices, which took an emotional toll on the staff. “As a part of our client-focused approach, we were able to alleviate these concerns in a series of workshops in which we listened and responded to end-users,” said Chan.

In the end, even under tight time constraints, end-users and partners were satisfied with the new design and are now thriving in it.”

Crafting flexible spaces that can adapt to unique purposes section
  • Area 22,066 sq-ft
  • Completion date 2013
  • Location Shanghai

Contact

If you are interested in working with us, have a look at our careers page.