17th Jul 2018 | news

Envisione+ on South China Morning Post

Covestro’s office in Taikoo Place, a growing office development on the eastern side of Hong Kong Island, has no dedicated desks, but more than 300 spots at which the company’s 210 staff can choose to work depending on what they need to do (for example, focus work versus collaborative work), according to Yvonne Chow Ngai-hung, the project’s lead designer.

These work areas feature desks set at different heights, providing sitting or standing options, and the office has a wellness area where yoga mats may be rolled out for exercise.

The scenic mountain view is not reserved for the boss’ corner office, but for a quiet zone, dubbed the Library, that’s furnished with sofas where staff can go to focus on a task in a place where no noise is allowed.

The large Work Café, which serves as an unstaffed reception area, is also a showcase for the company’s products. It features an art wall painted by artist Sergei Rozhnov that reflects the diverse ways Covestro’s raw materials permeate every aspect of daily life.

“Even though the Cafe is large [at 2,000 square feet], we designed it in layers so everyone feels comfortable,” Chow says. Different seating choices, layered lighting, and various types of sound-absorbing acoustic material help achieve this design goal.

Chow believes more clients in Hong Kong would like to attempt this type of office design, but are scared to embrace such big changes. She says an office redesign involved not just aesthetics, but an opportunity for change management in the corporate structure.

“Successful agile [design] is not just about fancy furniture or fancy colours, it’s about function. If people feel happy, healthy and more productive in such a space, then that’s really the target,” she says.

Learn more about Yvonne's design thinking on