DigitalCFO Newsroom | 18 November 2021
A first for The Great Room, the Afro-Asia location will feature a Wellness Room that will provide members access to immersive programmes designed to boost their wellbeing
- Occupying 37,000 sq ft, The Great Room’s largest Singapore coworking location will be designed by award-winning interior designer Joyce Wang
- Set to be a treetop sanctuary amidst the business district, featuring an outdoor Sky Garden
The future of work is here and now. Premium hospitality- led coworking space operator, THE GREAT ROOM, has announced its fifth Singapore location at the Afro-Asia building. Set to open its doors to members in October 2021, The Great Room, Afro-Asia will be the operator’s largest location in Singapore.
What was once one of the oldest buildings in the financial artery of Robinson Road, Afro-Asia is now a 19-storey Grade A office building with Green Mark Platinum and LEED Platinum ecological certifications. The Great Room will take up a sprawling 37,000 sq ft of office space from the sixth to eighth floor, as well as the fifth floor Sky Garden, which can be used as an outdoor event area.
In Asia, more enterprises are adopting ‘core and flex’ workspace strategies that are driven by the desire to optimise their office real estate, win the war for talent and enhance employee productivity and satisfaction. As demand for flexible workspaces is set to continue growing, The Great Room is well-primed to meet the needs of an ever-evolving workforce.
Co-founder and CEO of The Great Room, Jaelle Ang, says, “The opening of The Great Room at Afro-Asia comes at a time when the world is rethinking the concept of the workplace. This next chapter of our brand is a starting point of a journey towards a more sustainable work environment, as well as our continued evolution in human-centric design in this new era of hybrid working, and individual and corporate wellbeing. We see these all as essential pillars for success. Very soon, we will not call it ‘coworking’ anymore, it will just be ‘working’ as this will be how people function.”
Designing For Great Minds
Design has always been at the core of The Great Room’s DNA, and each location is designed to amplify and express the brand’s intentions to drive conversations around the table, making every touchpoint as human-centred as possible, while keeping technology invisible and seamless to support productivity. For its Afro-Asia location, The Great Room has enlisted award-winning London and Hong Kong-based designer Joyce Wang to design a space suited for a congregation of great minds.
Wang was inspired to create a treetop sanctuary in the heart of Singapore’s business district. She says, “Moved by people’s desire to connect with nature and each other, I wanted to build ethics and sustainability – quite literally – into the environment, all the while considering how it makes people feel, driving their curiosity and productivity in a beautiful place of work.”
Taking visual cues from the local greenery and expanding on the building’s sustainability credentials, Wang created sophisticated biophilic and human-centric interiors that complement the bustling energy of the CBD whilst providing a nurturing oasis for creativity and rejuvenation. Blending professional needs and purpose with residential and wellness sensibilities, soaring ceilings and windows flood the space with natural daylight, which is known to be the optimum light for working as its natural rhythm of change in intensity and colour during the day fits to the human body’s in-built biorhythms.
Upon arrival, members and their guests will notice a custom installation created by Kvadrat, and internationally acclaimed designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroulle. Named “Clouds,” the innovative, interlocking fabric tile fixture is a subtle metaphor to encourage members to dream and challenge the status quo.
Featuring interiors using carefully recycled and upcycled materials, The Great Room, Afro- Asia also supports local makers by utilising art, craft, installations and furniture co-created with local artisans. In the Drawing Room, the pièce de resistance is a communal table made of locally sourced and recycled mahogany by Roger&Sons, a Singaporean carpentry family business. Crafted from Singapore-grown mahogany wood, resulting in a net-zero carbon footprint, the ethical wood makers chose mahogany for sustainable reasons – it is a fast- growing species in tropical climates like Singapore, leading to half the time it requires to regenerate.
The choice of lighting too, has been purpose-designed and finely calibrated to balance beauty and function. The Great Room has worked with lighting specialist, DJCoalition, to prioritise energy reduction and efficiency without compromising on ambience, layering on warmer architectural lighting while considering the circadian rhythm of the human body and how it boosts productivity.
Co-founder Su-Anne Huang, who spent the early part of her career in renewables and is a qualified LEED practitioner says, “Watching how people function in the workplace, we have had first-hand insights into the ways buildings can impact people and their businesses, and vice versa. Members here are nourished by their environment and their long-term happiness is increased – investing in smart and sustainable design pays off. The role of the office is changing – it is about activity-based working for the different functions, a place of collaboration, decision making, and the modern agora for learning.”
It’s All Work, It’s All Play
The Great Room, Afro-Asia features 50 Dedicated Offices, up to 16 on-demand Hot Offices and 41 Hot Desks, and a host of conferencing and meeting areas.
In the Drawing Room, which forms the heart of the space, members can not only gather for quiet discussions and moments of thought and study, but also to socialise and network. The Drawing Room features a handsome bar that makes for a perfect spot to combine business and pleasure over coffee or cocktails. Gatherings of professionals in sizes ranging from four to 60 can be housed in various meeting areas, from the Studio (an open space for up to 24 pax), to the Stateroom (an elegant boardroom for 14 pax), or the eight meeting rooms that cater to groups of four to 14 pax each. For more private yet intuitive workspaces, the Workhall houses a variety of hot desks and offices, private phone booths, and cosy lounges that integrate seamlessly across the floor. Members can also utilise the Podcast Room (up to 3 pax) for thoughtful conversations.
It may be all work at The Great Room, but it is also all play. A first for the coworking operator, the Afro-Asia location will feature a dedicated Wellness Room (up to 5 pax) in which members can immerse in restorative programmes that are designed to boost their wellbeing. This incentive serves as an answer to companies looking at ways to promote employee morale and job satisfaction. Activities that members can look forward to include sound healing, breathwork exercises and yoga.
Known for curiosity, authenticity, and action-biased programming, The Great Room also regularly organises a roster of knowledge sharing programmes for members. This includes Spend The Night with… a fireside chat series with international opinion leaders on topics ranging from climate change to women’s empowerment.
A modern-day hub for work and play, business and pleasure, members will also be invited to regular networking events and entertainment activities, such as craft workshops, Monday
Breakfast Club, a turndown cart offering hot chocolate and cookies at the end of day, and Great Thirstday – a monthly social event for members to network over drinks.
The Great Room, Afro-Asia is set to open doors in October 2021, with members across diverse sectors including fintech start-up Pluang Technologies and Radisson Hotel Group, in Dedicated Offices, and investment platform Pluang, who is utilising a hybrid office solution, a mix of Dedicated Office + Hot Desk. Interested businesses and individuals can book a one- hour Hard Hat Tour by visiting The Great Room, Afro-Asia’s website.