office workplace design

Achieving excellence in design and sustainability

Citi Tower One Bay East, Hong Kong

Citigroup is a multinational investment bank and financial services corporation. For the company’s new Hong Kong headquarters, Citi wanted to move beyond work-life balance, to work-life integration. Citi’s objectives were to support health, wellness, and productivity. Our design empowers employees through wellbeing and sustainability in the workplace.

At a glance

  1. A people-centric approach that offers flexible, sustainable workspaces.
  2. The first project in Hong Kong to receive WELL and RESET Certification.
  3. Achieving the highest AIA Honor Award for design excellence and sustainability.
men in casual seating area

Citi’s new Hong Kong space brings together 38 business units and 3,000 staff members from five leased buildings into one new, flexible and integrated, multi-storey headquarters. The goal was to bring to life the firm’s latest workplace guidelines and innovative ‘Citi Works’ concept. The project began with studies to investigate Citi’s business units. This included operational, spatial and technological needs, and an extensive discovery of the strategic goals for Hong Kong.

We identified:

  • Needs for flexible, sustainable workspaces.
  • A wide variety of work settings differing in configuration, look-and-feel.
  • Reliable integrated Wi-Fi and AV infrastructure.
  • Increased availability of meeting rooms and collaborative spaces.
  • Greater expression of the Citi brand.
office space design

The journey begins on the meet-and-greet floor, a corporate meeting centre welcoming internal and external visitors. An extension of the lobby, natural tones and textures emphasise Citi’s brand. The community floor offers casual spaces ranging from café-like settings to acoustically private focus areas. A vibrant marketplace zone on this floor offers food and beverage facilities, along with training and recruitment spaces. Designed for flexibility, these can be connected for all-staff gatherings and other events. Encouraging work-life balance, this floor also includes a gym.

In look, feel, and function, the work floors combine elements of the community and meet-and-greet floors with open-plan workspace. Breakout areas with storage cabinets and lounge-like sofa seating are sprinkled between workstations, creating distinct ‘neighbourhoods’. We created nine types of flexible work settings for each typical work floor.

reception area with man and woman talking with logo in background
people collaborating in workplace
people working in workplace lounge

Sustainability and wellness were key to the project. The space achieved LEED v2009 Platinum and WELL v1 Silver Precertification. It is also the first workspace in Hong Kong to receive both WELL v1 Silver Certification and RESET (indoor air quality excellence) Certification.

LEED certification:

  • 95% of equipment and appliances are Energy Star qualified.
  • 25% Light Power Density (LPD) reduction without compromising lux levels.
  • 75% of construction waste was diverted from landfill.

WELL certification:

  • 30% of workstations contain sit/stand desks.
  • Regular IAQ monitoring of PM₂.₅ less than 15 μg/m³.
  • Total Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) less than 500 μg/m³.
  • Nutritional information and allergy icons for food on the premises.
office space design
people collaborating in booth, grey and orange small seat

I was very impressed by the way in which a new corporate culture and employee empowerment had been at the forefront of the design process and had been implemented with clarity and elegance.

AIA Jury Member, 2017
people in breakout area and in kitchen

Obtaining a number of industry firsts, the project has also received the following recognition: first WELL Silver Certification in Hong Kong; first WELL Health-Safety Rating (HSR) in Hong Kong; first RESET Certification in Hong Kong; the world’s largest WELL Certification for new and existing interiors; and the highest Fitwel 3 Star rating (Fitwel for Workplace: Commercial Interior Space v2.0). The project also received the top honor award in the ‘Excellence in Interior Architecture’ category from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Finally, the project was the winner of the RICS ‘Sustainability Achievement of the Year’ award in 2016, with an additional recognition in 2017.

office space designing

2022Fitwel 2022 Best in Building Health Award - Winner

2017AIA International Region - Honor Award for Interior Architecture



Completion date



Hong Kong


327,000 sq ft


Ulso Tsang & Scott Brooks