South China Morning Post, Hong Kong
As a 115-year-old newspaper business, digital and cultural transformation were key objectives for South China Morning Post’s (SCMP) new Hong Kong space, in its continued commitment to telling global stories, and attracting and retaining a growing, digitally-skilled workforce.
Following the completion of Phase 1, the move to a prestigious new location in Times Square consolidates teams from Tai Po, Cyberport and Leighton House across a staged transition period.
“We wanted to make sure that the office space is a physical expression of our new culture, and provides the workspace and optionality to ensure our employees can live out this new culture.”
- Gary Liu, CEO, SCMP
Communication is integral to SCMP as a business and therefore one of the key challenges for the M Moser team was developing a design that would ensure collaboration over six floors, with a mix of team members from across three different locations.
Connectivity as a key concept
The design of the central atrium has been key to achieving SCMP’s goals for the space. “It’s a focal point and really represents the desire to be open. In terms of the connectivity, it was one of the key parts of the design”, shares Allyn Dorey, M Moser’s Director of International Design.
Extending the concept of connectivity from the lower two floors, the space features a striking interior staircase, interlacing five of the six total floors. Team communication is supported across an array of spaces including meeting rooms, breakout areas, collaboration zones and sprint areas. Prioritising natural light and views, interior offices and enclosed spaces are planned along the core.
Agility and flexibility
The new agile environment has also played a major role in the integration of people and space. Combining a variety of seating choices to encourage active working and freedom of choice, bench seating and high-standing collaboration desks are just some of the flexible working options. Employee mobility is encouraged across a diversity of settings.
“The spirit of open collaboration also extended to seeking input on the new office design from all staff members. We conducted surveys on a number of key features – for example, office chairs and theme of the meeting rooms.”
- Alex Ho, General Manager and Chairman of the office relocation project, SCMP
Themed social hubs on each floor encourage interaction and collaboration across departments by providing an arcade, yoga area, games room, café, English-themed pub and more.
A dedicated social space to wind-down and recharge, the games room includes table tennis, a boxing punch bag and dartboard. Once considered the most important location for journalism in the world, the English-themed pub and social hub is reminiscent of London’s Fleet Street.
Balancing cross-company communication with health and wellbeing, these areas meet a diversity of needs, from business-wide socialising to tranquil space for rest and relaxation. Meeting rooms are designed to meet a compelling array of Hong Kong themes, inspired by local culture and the surrounding environment.
Bringing brand values to life
The reception area is informal, open, layered and active - warm timber flooring provides a welcoming first impression. SCMP’s new logo and branding takes inspiration from the international marine signaling flag, Kilo, signifying “I wish to communicate with you”.
Bringing SCMP’s brand identity to life in the space, creative details include a collection of custom artworks commissioned by 14 local artists. Displayed artefacts from SCMP’s original Tai Po printing plant highlight the firm’s heritage and its transition from print through to digital media.
Materials are natural and neutral, providing aesthetic balance to the prominent milestones from SCMP’s archives that line the walls to showcase the firm’s history, culture and progression. Floor finishes define circulation, using polished concrete and carpet tiles to provide comfort and address acoustics. Ceilings maximise height and openness and utilise perforated metal titles for acoustic absorbency. Complemented by an array of digital displays and graphic branding, each social hub has its own palette relating to the overall design theme.
Developing a digital culture
Digital touchpoints are prominent throughout the space, which includes two connected newsroom floors with 140 monitors and screens mounted on the walls to showcase the SCMP’s data and analytics. Not only does this provide a real-time perspective of content performance, but also it brings technology to the forefront of daily work at SCMP.
The broadcasting hub features a video studio with a supporting control room, edit rooms, editing hub, guest room, wardrobe and make-up area. The editorial hub provides a dynamic backdrop for filming, plus a separate photo studio and another broadcast studio on the 31st floor. These areas combined with experimental space for technology research and development address the business’ growing need for multimedia content production and its ongoing digital direction.
Launching a new range of innovative products to address the changing digital needs of its readership and the Chinese technology market, SCMP’s new space not only supports its evolving digital offering, but creates a physical expression of the business culture to connect people and attract a new, digitally skilled workforce.
- Status In progress
- Area 76,600 sq-ft
- Completion date 2019
- Location Hong Kong
- Photographer Vitus Lau
AIA International Region Design Awards 2018 - Honor Award for Interior Architecture