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Interview with project lead on recent award winning project

Interview with project lead on recent award winning project


Lauren Fairley


3 January 2023

As we begin 2023 by reflecting on some of our key moments of last year, we take a deeper dive into the Bupa Hong Kong project which recently scooped up the ‘Mixology North22 Project of the Year Award: 30k-70k sq. ft’. Completed in July 2022 the new Bupa office space spans over the sixteenth and seventeenth floors of The Quayside Building in Kowloon Bay.

In a collaboration between the UK and Hong Kong, the UK based Bupa Property team along with a combination of our UK and Hong Kong based designers pushed the boundaries of working culture in Hong Kong, in line with Bupa’s aspirations to create a forward thinking workplace. Senior Interior designer Emma Weeden reflects on the project’s unique design concept, and both the challenges and opportunities of working across two time zones in this exclusive interview.

“Changes brought about by the pandemic have impacted life in Hong Kong significantly.” explained Emma.   

“Wellbeing at work has become even more important with working from home generally less favoured due to the size of homes, culture and long periods of lockdown over the last 2 years. Bupa wanted to create a workplace where employees feel trusted and empowered to work flexibly in a dynamic environment”

According to Weeden, the project concept resonated with both teams.

“The design concept of “Tea | 茶” was something which rang true in our teams on both sides of the globe. The team enjoyed sharing stories of how tea is used in their cultures as a way of welcoming, comforting, and healing. Employees from the three businesses coming together over a cup of tea to collaborate or just have a chat and build relationships is what this project is all about.”

As a global healthcare provider, Bupa are committed to creating healthy workplaces for their employees and wellbeing is at the heart of that.

“The design approach and materiality create a softer approach than is typical of Hong Kong workplaces to include a ‘biophilic’ look and feel that aligns with the company brand and values. Simple changes such as the use of timber on the desking and in the joinery support this, along with more significant features such as the impressive slatted joinery ‘tree’ at the centre of the work café.”

“The tree aims to attract employees to the central space from the extremities of the large floorplate, encouraging proper breaks and informal collaboration. A smaller work café space on the upper floor is connect back to this central area by the feature staircase.”

“The departments are subtly zoned in colour and pattern which defines desking, quiet zones and project zones without hard lines. A number of the tiles were bespoke coloured to ensure the transitional flow is maintained.”

Working on the project in a design team across two time zones had more benefits than you might initially expect.

“We would begin the day a bit earlier in the UK in order to overlap with the second half of Hong Kong’s working day, and then we would work through their evenings. This made achieving deadlines more efficient from a resourcing point of view as the working day effectively doubled.” commented Emma.

The fit out is designed to LEED Gold and Bupa International are in the process of applying for the certification.

“As a global healthcare provider, Bupa are committed to creating healthy workplaces for their employees and sustainability is at the heart of that.” she explained.

“The approach was to adopt innovative design, energy efficient technology, and sustainable materials in creating the internal environment resulting in a healthier, happier workplace for Bupa’s people. Throughout the design period and the move to the Quayside building, sustainability was a key topic in communications to all staff involved.” she concluded.