In response to rapid business growth, artificial intelligence company SenseTime has established its Chinese headquarters in the Caohejing Development Zone of Shanghai. The new headquarters spans 22,000 square metres with six floors above ground and one underground, supporting a maximum of 1,400 employees.
With a vision to create a high-performance office environment that encourages social collaboration and prioritises employee wellbeing, M Moser provided workplace strategy, interior design, and sustainability and wellness consultancy services. The new headquarters also reflects the company’s technology and research DNA in its high-tech exhibition hall and smart building facilities.
- Based on comprehensive workplace strategy studies, the design puts business growth and company culture at its core.
- A warm, cosy work environment with high design standards, reflects the company’s care for staff.
- Curating a memorable user journey leveraging advanced technology showcases business opportunities.
- Planned dynamic, flexible work settings encourage innovation in a human-centric, LEED and WELL-driven environment.
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Informed by workplace strategy analysis
At the start of the project, M Moser conducted comprehensive workshops with SenseTime’s management team and held a series of interviews with business heads to understand the company’s growth expectations, expansion plans and business model.
As the AI business is growing rapidly, the office space prioritises agility and mobility. By locating meeting rooms, the exhibition hall, and multi-functional spaces in the middle section of the building, the space encourages vertical movement and facilitates communications across different floors.
The third floor features a variety of spaces for external visitors, providing easy access for meetings while keeping the above work floors free from disruptions and maintaining privacy.
Respecting to the flat organisation and its “Black Sheep” culture, which speaks to resilience and progressive innovation, typical work floors embrace the open plan and minimise the use of partitions. Well-lit by a great number of windows, public spaces for discussion and recreation help to enhance wellness. Glass partitions in the open areas further reinforce the company culture and values of transparency and collaboration.
An exceptional spatial journey
The workplace is an unforgettable spatial journey. While carefully considering the needs of staff, the space projects an external message about the company’s youthful and innovative spirit. As SenseTime’s first self-owned property, the space has been celebrated as a milestone with impactful design concepts.
“We used a very natural colour palette to soften this space (the building itself features concrete on a large scale). So when people walk in, they feel welcomed and invited,” explains Ramesh Subramaniam, Design Director. Inspired by the “Moebius Ring” (a surface with only one side and only one boundary curve), tailor-made wooden furniture complements the giant atrium on the third-floor to create a fluid flow. This reflects a non-stop, circular pursuit of innovation.
“This huge atrium space is a social hub that supports multi-functional events, creating a sense of connection. So although you are distributed across different floors, there’s a visual connection to your colleagues on multiple levels.”
Design Director, International
M Moser Associates
Featuring flexible seating, the multi-purpose staircase area is designed to meet various needs including town halls, social events and recreation.
Seamless integration of technology
By embracing a flexible layout, smart office facilities have been installed throughout to enable experimentation with SenseTime’s latest innovative products. These include wall-mounted smart panels for meeting room reservations, face recognition access control, and smart locker systems.
A multi-functional hall on the second floor is equipped with a 5-metre-wide full-colour LED display, as well as high-definition speakers for a wide range of events including product launches and public affairs meetings. The walls feature sound-absorbing sandstone. Acoustic panels and starred lighting design on the ceiling create a futuristic sense of science and technology.
The entrance display screen connects with the facial recognition access control, showcasing visitor information in real-time to enable a holistic high-tech experience. Digital screens in public areas across various floors exhibit air quality figures and other wellness statistics. This elevates the digital experience in line with SenseTime’s intelligent product innovation.
Meeting diverse human needs
Designed to meet LEED and WELL standards, the space adopts a range of low-carbon materials. This supports sustainable architecture and interiors that focus on physical and mental wellbeing.
The office floor features rich work settings with adjustable furniture, enabling employees to choose how they work based on departmental, team and individual needs. In addition to enhancing productivity and user satisfaction, these settings also encourage autonomy and support comfort.
Facilities such as cafeteria, gym and sleeping pods benefit staff wellbeing and turn the workplace into a multi-functional destination. This, in return, provides leverage for talent attraction and retention in the competitive field of AI.
Informed by comprehensive workplace strategy studies, the design of SenseTime’s China headquarters yields a truly human-centric work environment. It enables staff to communicate, collaborate and socialise in a diverse, choice-enriched setting. The ubiquitous integration of high technology facilitates an impactful user journey in a space that serves as a powerful medium for both brand and business.
- Status Completed
- Area 240,000 sq-ft
- Completion date 2019
- Location Shanghai
- Photographer Seth Powers Photography