Interiors Office design

Interior of Malaysian conglomerate headoffice by Ministry of Design features vertical lobby spanning seven storeys

December 14, 2020

Malaysia-based YTL Corporation Berhad, a large infrastructure conglomerate founded in 1955, has grown from a small construction firm into a global infrastructure company spanning oil and gas, cement, construction, property development and hotels.

Previously occupying various offices in different locations, this YTL Headquarters located in central Kuala Lumper (along Jalan Bukit Bintang) brings together, for the first time, the entire suite of YTL departments (numbering more than a dozen, and altogether comprising 1,000 employees), each of which has developed their own culture and operations.

Singapore’s award-winning multidisciplinary Ministry of Design (MOD) was to design the public areas shared by these departments, that is ground floor lobby and levels 8 to 10, and present a unified brand identity under one roof. As such, MOD sought to create a series of choreographed spatial experiences that aim to balance YTL’s legacy of corporate professionalism with a future-forward attitude that embraces change.

The design concept took these factors into consideration: There are two main public area zones, the ground floor lobby, and three upper floors (on levels 8 to 10) which comprises a host of collective meeting zones, and a cafe.
On the ground floor, visitors are greeted by a vertically cavernous lobby which spans more than 25 meters in height, across seven floors. The design challenge for MOD, was how to enhance the majestic quality of the space, yet not dwarf the human scale and provide a welcoming entrance. As
such, the lobby is a study in proportion, light control and disciplined use of materials.

The soaring space has been designed to capture the rays of light in the daytime, and glow like a lantern in the evening. MOD designed the marble clad columns such that its rhythm is denser and more grounded at the bottom, yet getting lighter towards the top, giving the impression of ascending lightness.

MOD inserted horizontal striations and ridges using bronze accents, in the continuing pattern of white Bugatsa Marble, to provide visual relief rather than a continuous ascension to the top. A glittering art installation hovers like a cloud over a series of pavilion niches, which provide a sense of human scale in this vast space. MOD designed the seating areas as architectural pavilion niches rather than mere decorative benches. These seating areas feature the iconic Barcelona lounge chairs for visitors to sit on and admire the lobby’s majestic cavernous quality, and the pavilion niches are also designed in the same restrained material palette, featuring bronze bead blast metal trims for consistency.

After a visitor signs in at the reception desk and proceeds past the turnstiles, they would indicate the destination floor number at the lift call button area before entering the lift lobby (incorporating a “destination dispatching” elevator system). Design-wise, while MOD wanted to keep the entrance experience entirely seamless from the drop-off to the lift car, there was an existing stair core that prevents this seamlessness. In response, MOD created a bronze-clad “portal” to anchor the lift portal and draw a visitor’s eyes towards that lift lobby when he enters the main lobby. The lift lobby is accented with the same bronze metal as the main lobby for a consistently disciplined material palette.

Levels 8 to 10 comprise a café, multiple types of open and closed meeting spaces, and a 122-persons function room. This public zone is conceived to be an extension of the lobby area, and is conceptualised to be the point of interface between YTL staff, and external visitors and consultants.

The “heart” of level 8 is the eye-catching grey granite café counter with bronze shelves and oak timber ceilings and walls. Serving up freshly baked confectionary as well as aromatic espressos, this café counter is designed with a rough-edged split-face granite on its vertical surfaces and a smooth black sesame polished granite for the horizontal counter. To introduce connectivity between levels 8 and 9, MOD introduced a void and a feature spiral stair, designing an arresting and dynamic cage-like stair with vertical rods made of powder-coated bronze metal, sitting on a bed of black gravel.

A visitor is meant to feel a sense of timeless elegance and beautifully crafted materiality whilst climbing the stair, with one hand on the elegant leather handrails. On all three levels 8, 9, and 10, MOD has created a myriad of meeting space types to suit a variety of small to large gatherings, private to non-private. These spaces range from casual communal tables, open discussion areas, hot-desk, banquette seating, booth seating areas, to semi-enclosed meeting rooms, acoustically private rooms, a VIP room, and a large multi-function meeting area that can seat 122 persons.

These spaces are designed with a warm and sophisticated palette, featuring warm oak timber for the walls and ceilings, silver mink marble flooring, and black powder-coated metal trims for lighting fixtures. The café, banquette and booth seating are upholstered in German-based innovative fabric from Saum & Viebahn whose “magic” range features high-quality fabrics built for high-usage and easy maintenance. The tables feature either striking black Nero Marquina marble or elegant white Calacatta marble.

The enclosed meeting rooms feature elegant carpet flooring from the Net Effect Collection, elegant brown leather chairs and timber tables.

Project details:

Ministry of Design team: Colin Seah, Joyce Low, Ruth Chong, Kevin Leong , Damien Saive, Namrata Mehta, Fai Suvisith, Justin Lu, Zhang Hang, Maggie Lek, Kaye Mojica, Richard Herman, Rais Rahman, Tasminah Ali, Azilawanti Wati, Faiz Jasni
Built-in GFA ground floor lobby: 313m2
L8 Cafe and function room: 910m2
L9 Meeting facility: 35m2
L10 Meeting facility: 987m2
Total GFA: 3,045m2; Land Area – 2,600m2
Building height: 179 meters tall (42 storeys)
Owner: YTL Corporation Berhad
ID contractor: Quantum One Sdn Bhd
Photographs: David Yeow Photography
Architectural design concept: Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates
Design: Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd
Architect of Record: Veritas Design Group
Lighting consultant: Brandston Partnership Inc Hanging Art Sculpture titled “Leaves” on the ground floor: Studio Sawada Design Co Ltd
Date and year of completion: November 2020

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