Arranged over four levels, this head office was built to accommodate an amalgamated business of over 700 employees. It required a bespoke environment and design that exuded their new business culture, as well as a focus on food at every level.
This project was undertaken in the framework of an extraordinary collaboration of the developer/landlord/contractor, tenant, architect, interior designer, branding alchemist and technical team.
A bold and exciting work environment was achieved through an interlocking section typology around a pièce de résistance atrium. Entrance is gained from a landscaped court directly into the atrium space, which features a steel stair rising from the entrance to the executive level and connecting a series of bridges.
The brief required spatially connected workspaces resulting in a multiplicity of different meeting and collaborative spaces and an emphasis on legible public interface. The atrium interfaces with each office floor which are treated variously with three central boardrooms, curved meeting pods and glazed yellow lift shafts, thus providing a dynamic of spatial excitement viewed from and engaging all parts of the building.
A staff canteen, meeting room cluster, cafe and development/test ‘master chef’ type kitchens all open into the atrium on grade level making this street the ‘energy’ of the building. Office floors unusually account for about half the total building area and are spatially delineated with collaboration spaces, touchdown meeting zones, coffee stations, pause areas, print hubs, phone booths and meeting pods – the final outcome providing an active and exciting work environment.
An extensively interactive process with the branding alchemists and interior designers yielded the ‘funky-raw’ conceptual approach to the interior design of RCL Foods. In juxtaposition to the exterior expression, the use of offshutter concrete structure with fair face clay brick surfaces deployed throughout the interior create a warm and industrial adaptive reuse quality. Colour is applied on many different surfaces internally to enliven and contrast the raw fabric and create focus.
Carefully selected South African furniture together with many bespoke pieces designed by our interior designers, novel way-finding and provoking artworks reflecting the RCL mission and philosophy serve to create a thoroughly unique workplace. The uppermost level accommodates the executives, whose offices convert to meeting spaces when they’re not used, a bar/cafe/terrace and an outdoor sky bar for small functions.
A palette of grey, charcoal and white stucco, concrete, Corten, painted steel and hardwood derive a bold external character. A dominant over-sailing roof caps and frames the transparency of the atrium and its angled supports signify entrance, and together, these invoke a memorable architectural image.
The rendered exterior of the building is characterized by the use of coloured aluminium solar screens as infill to a thin framed orthogonal framed assembly. Direct response to solar orientation has driven a layered facade approach to office spaces where aluminium screens are variously positioned in direct response to orientation and view opportunity. The south western block is highly visible from the park’s Boulevard and is treated with these brightly coloured vertical solar fins, which capture the five primary RCL brand colours and becomes the signature of the building in its context.