Global Tech Giant goes local to connect with Filipino talent
by Darwin Masacupan
A multinational company dominating the technology industry, with a renowned presence no one can miss. Our client is known for its products from search engines to detailed street maps, and its display of creativity and an innate understanding of what consumers want.
Setting the Goalpost
Bringing the heart of innovation to life, Paperspace helped this tech giant design a facility for its vendor partners located at Vertis North in Quezon City, Philippines. It will house all the external business process outsourcing units that provide the tech company support in a local area.
The goal was to design a well-functioning workplace for about 3,000 people, complete with all the required amenities & support spaces found across the company’s offices worldwide. Building off a recently completed project in Bonifacio Global City, Paperspace aimed to make the design more toned down and practical.
Doing all these meant that all materials & furniture were procured on time, and recommended construction methods needed to be feasible across the course of the project.
Working as a Team
True to its model of collaborative work, Paperspace brought together a diversity of expertise to facilitate the design project.
Paperspace Singapore took on Project Lead as client management, while Paperspace Philippines handled the creation of detailed design using Revit/Bim Design as well as overseeing design management on site during the construction period. Graphite Studio, a member of the Paperspace Singapore Collective, took on concept development and schematic design, including material finishes and furniture selection. Tapping on a local architect partner of record in the Philippines, this has also helped to manage construction administration while also handling tender and construction documentation.
Of a project this size, Paperspace worked with one client but managed the project delivery with many stakeholders. Our client had a group of internal stakeholders setting guidelines and requirements for the proposed design. Among these in-house stakeholders are its head of real estate, information technology, food management, and security and facilities management. Our local team also collaborated closely with other external consultants— a project manager, architect, kitchen consultant, and a quantity surveyor—to help align requirements with the eventual design solution that met all standards and delivery to the stakeholders involved.
Teamwork across countries requires effective communication
From the onset, the company’s stakeholders were very active, providing Paperspace with all needed information and setting the direction on key factors prior to planning & designing. This has ensured a smooth process of recommendations on materials to be used, finish selection, and design constructibility.
Learning from challenges in its previous projects, Paperspace provided the stakeholders with a selection of locally-available designs to choose from. This has helped save crucial time that could have been spent on sourcing materials from abroad. Every step of the design stage was submitted to our client for approval before the team proceeded to the next steps, thus helping to prevent abortive work and timeline delay.
In addition, Paperspace dedicated a specialized consultant team purely for graphic design and conceptualization. Using BIM design technology, up to 3 different designers located in varying areas were able to work on a single design file in the cloud. This enabled the work to be iterative, and continuous, and shortened response time in adhering to changing building requirements.
Brainstorming on the Design Concept
Paperspace gathered together the company’s employees—most Filipinos and millennials—to understand the people which the office serves and explore exciting design ideas as a starting point. The team gathered several aspects to this group of end-users through this stakeholder engagement: aspiration-driven, tech-savvy, growth-oriented, open-minded, and lending heavily to their own experiences. Their decision-making is also heavily influenced by their communities, and the feel of city life.
With these insights, various design themes were assigned through the stacking plan. This means functions in each area of the building were allocated themes per floor. The final proposal became centred upon Farming, Market, and Food Parks.
This concept made simple is distinctly Filipino with a modern twist. The Philippines is known as one of the top producers of coconut globally, and the design concept made a special point to draw out these traditional influences.
Open spaces in the building are amplified by the use of locally-manufactured wall paneling and accents made of coconut and capiz. Bright colors matched with more subdued tones capture the daily scenes of modern life, with each room having a designated feel based on the activities to be conducted in it. References to the Spanish colonial era are also included, with arches and classical looks to be found across the structure.
A notable area of the building is a Insta-worthy spot dedicated for pictures and fun, where the company’s stakeholders bond with co-workers as part of their warm, friendly and welcoming culture. The spot is inspired by Halo-Halo, a local dessert in Philippines cold dessert which is a concoction of crushed ice, evaporated milk and various ingredients including ube, sweetened beans, and coconut. This spot also encourages the use of installation artworks, a flexible space that changes alongside seasons of the year and festive celebrations for the holidays.
Partnership through Organized Design
Arch. Joel Golimlim, Paperspace Philippines technical director, couldn’t be happier with how working with the tech company turned out.
“Doing this project, it must be said, is an exercise in a structured and organized design process,” he shared. “Our collaboration was a general success, given their clear and straightforward requirements and design directions. They also made sure to appoint very competent consultants for us to work with.”
Most projects of this scale have uniform themes, but with support from the tech giant, Paperspace was able to deliver concepts on a bigger scale of 14 floors with varied yet unified and cohesive themes.
Clearly, the partnership between these two entities, both animated by people with solution-finding mindsets, is one for the books.