In Conversation: Designing EDL Regional Headquarters

In Conversation: Designing EDL Regional Headquarters

Embark on a journey as we delve into an enlightening conversation with the architect behind the EDL Regional Headquarters. In this exclusive dialogue with Gwen Tan from Formwerkz, we uncover the inspiring narrative and thoughtful considerations that shaped the creation of this structure. From the conceptualisation of interconnected volumes symbolising the organisation’s ethos to the nurturing of close-knit relationships within its walls, each aspect of the design reflects a harmonious blend of functionality and human connection.

Can you walk us through the inspiration behind the architectural design of the
EDL Regional Headquarters?

Designed as an expression of the organisation being a sum of different parts, the EDL Regional HQ is envisioned as a collective of different volumes architecturally. Each business function is represented through different material applications and the volumes interlock with each other just like how their business functions are interconnected. The front facade is expressed almost like a 3D storybook unfolding with each chapter defined uniquely yet intertwined. The central off-form concrete and metal mesh stair core that serves to connect the different volumes vertically, is used as the architectural beacon for the building and it is symbolically abstracted from their iconic laminate catalogue.

How does the architecture of the EDL Regional Headquarters foster human relationships?

As this is a family-run business, the employer-employee relationships are extremely close knit. Hence the architecture is focused on building human-centric spaces to foster closer ties. The in-between spaces are non-incidental. The blocks are built around a central courtyard where visual links are created from all directions and levels, giving way to a highly communicative green space for the enjoyment of both the employees and visitors.

Secondary open garden terraces located at different parts of the building form part of a network of breakout spaces that provide users with the option to choose their preferred outdoor experience depending on the time of day, based on optimal microclimatic conditions.

How did the incorporation of production offcuts into the building design demonstrate EDL’s commitment to sustainability?

Recognising that EDL now has their own production arm for kitchen and bathroom tops, we helped incorporate their production offcuts into the building of their new showroom gallery as well as showcase new ways to upcycle these offcuts so as to lead the way in inspiring others to follow suit.

What insights did you gain about the organisational culture of EDL and how did that influence your design?

Through our interactions with the clients, we understood that besides the management team being a closely knitted family, the members of the staff as well are very close to each other. We saw staff members that would grow their own fresh produce and share them with the rest of the team, and others passionate about cooking would take it upon themselves to cook desserts for the office on a daily basis.

There were little moments that made us realise that what we had to build was not just a regular office space for people to work in, but rather a place where members of the organisation would relate to as a second home. A space where they can get closer and spend quality time with each other.

Storytelling is a significant aspect of your design process, how does the design of the gallery space incorporate storytelling elements?

Within the gallery space, we created indoor ‘treehouses’ that house different collections of laminates. Each treehouse tells a story of its own through materiality and visitors can shop in ‘chapters’ by hopping from one treehouse to another.

The Library space of the gallery allows for an immersive experience when selecting materials, and is designed in a way to encourage multiple groups to use the space concurrently. It is also convertible to hold workshops and seminars as the standing tables have a detail to dismount, leaving behind stools.

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