First up on design folder’s makeover list is UP Diliman’s Office of the Campus Architect (OCA).
Summer of 2002, my friend and I had our apprenticeship in OCA. Sad to say, OCA used to look like our typical government office—office meets storage with an inefficient layout, in a background of two-toned blue and beige walls, blue green cabinet-partitions, very strong exposed fluorescent lamps, and old (and often damaged) furniture pieces. It’s nothing but utilitarian.
It is far from looking like a design office.
But I don’t blame them. Lack of money to improve its facilities is the main culprit. Remember, UP is still a government entity so they have no choice but to make do with what they have.
Last year, in line with the UP’s centennial celebration, OCA hosted a project entitled “Designing Diliman”. It was a photo-exhibit of the Diliman campus through its 100 years.
Since their office will also be the venue of the said exhibit, they were given the chance (and the funds) to improve their facilities. The renovation was headed by OCA’s incumbent director, Arch. Gerard Lico, together with the rest of the design staff.
The project started with the repainting of the corridor walls using a strong red color to act as the vibrant background for the black-and-white photo displays during the exhibit. It instantly gave the space with an edgy, designer-like character together with the blown-up photos on the walls.
One problem of the main architectural/engineering office is that the space is too congested. Logically, the improvement began with having additional staff offices at the adjacent building to relocate some of the personnel from the main office. This allowed them to adopt a spacious and more efficient layout for the area.
They maintained the open plan layout but divided it into two spaces. The smaller space is the more public conference area which is directly accessible from the two entrances of the office, and is partially screened off with a set of varifold display modules from the exhibit. The larger space, on the other hand, is the more private area for the individual workstations. This layout allowed them to have meetings with contractors, suppliers and clients inside the office without disturbing the rest of the staff.
Apart from the improved layout, the rest of the design strategies are fairly simple. Lighting was improved using fluorescent lamp on recessed housings with louvered diffusers for a softer general lighting. A better color scheme was also adopted using an earth-toned palette of warm olive-tinted beige for the walls and ceiling, maroon accent for the columns, and dark walnut finish for the existing cabinets and partitions.
The timely upgrade of their computers, from the old tube monitor to the new lcd monitor, also enhanced the clean appearance of the space.
On top of these basic improvements, a focal point was also introduced in the form of the spruced up conference area to add a rather corporate character to the office. The area features an accent wall in textured charcoal gray ceramic tiles, a new conference table and a set of new black leather chairs. To add more color and visual texture, a maroon lamp drops at the center of the table and a pair of gold-themed paintings hang from the wall.
The end result is an efficient, confident, and corporate-like, design office.
[Have you given your space (or furniture) a makeover? Share it with us! Email us about it with before and after pictures at firstname.lastname@example.org. ]
Tags: arch. gerard lico, interior design, makeover, OCA, office, office of the campus architect, renovation, UP
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