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MVRDV Unveils A Transparent Office for a More Transparent Society

Following the release of their totally transparent ‘Infinity Kitchen,’ Dutch firm MVRDV are continuing their exploration of alternative way of using transparency in their newly opened ‘Glass Office’. In collaboration with local architects Arch-Innovativ have stripped-out a Hong Kong factory and retrofitted it with glass walls, floors and furniture. The Glass Office is located on the Kwun Tong waterfront in a post-industrial area of the city that is reinventing itself as Hong Kong’s new central business district.

Within the 13-story office project, all of the solid elements, from partitions and to floor surfaces have been replaced with completely clear, see-through material alternatives. The result is a working environment with a more open and spacious feels. With no dark corners, all of the internal workings of this office are open to all. With no dark coerns, all of the internal working of the officeare open to all.

According to the architects, the use of glass is a symbolic response to growing demand for more transparency in today’s workplace – and society at large. MVRDV co-founder Winy Maas explains:

‘We are moving into a transparent society, businesses are becoming more open with the public, and people care more about what goes on behind In that way, a clear workspace leaves nothing questionable, nothing hidden; it generates trust’.

In order to achieve this much desired transparency, works including stripping the rear of the building facade to include more glazing, while moving corridors, staircases, lifts and other communal areas in order to make them more visible to outside. For all interior spaces, glass was used. This includes glass lifts inside glass shafts as well as emergency escape stairs enclosed within a special type fo fire-resistant glass.

Furniture and fittings are naturally not excluded from the transparent theme. Throughout the Glass Office there are transparent desks, transparent chairs and transparent shelving.

While the amount of glass used in this project may quite rightly raise questions of building climate performance and efficiency, the architects claim the building uses 17% less energy than an average Hong Kong office, despite the quantities of glass.

Photo Credit: Ossip van Duivenbode