M Moser Associates: Designing Aesthetic with Function

Photography By Bagus Tri Laksono

– A Conversation with M Moser Associates

In order to get a design insight into Diageo Indonesia’s new workspace, Indonesia Design had a conversation with Aveline Oh from M Moser Associates, a renowned design firm.

Indonesia Design (iD): What is the request from Diageo on the design concept for their office? How did you put the requested needs from the client into your design concept?

Aveline Oh (AO): This is our fourth Diageo project after Singapore, Manila and Ho Chi Minh. Throughout all four offices, we were requested to create an inclusive workspace that welcomes people to work in a collaborative fashion. We achieved this by opening up space, minimising walls and creating pockets of varying collaborative spaces throughout the office.

iD: What kind of design approach and style did you choose for this concept?

AO: Our inspiration came from the shape of the building, which reminds us of a barrel. A barrel itself plays an important part in creating a distinct characteristic to the alcohol contained. We imagined this office as a barrel of a unique blend between Diageo’s global guideline and Indonesian culture.

iD: How do you create a balance between functionality and aesthetic to be incorporated into your design concept?

AO: As workplace designers, we have to pay attention to the client’s need. A beautiful space would not be beneficial when it is not utilised. Therefore, the aesthetic is designed with function in mind.

iD: We also see the human aspect interest in making this office feel homey and make the workers feel comfortable. What kind of design approach did you take in order to establish this?

AO: We understood that creating a “cosy” office is important for the client, so we tried to achieve this while still paying attention to functionality. We used a warm natural palette instead of the typical office monochromatic look. At the same time, we used a lot of timber elements, which make a big impact in making the space feel more comfortable.

iD: Christophe told us about the Indonesian heritage element that is incorporated into the interior. Can you tell us more about it? And how did you implement them?

AO: We used the Batik pattern as our inspiration and implemented it in a subtle way. The elements can be found on the upholstery, wall decoration and graphics.

iD: Can you share the special materials that are used in this office? What is the dominant element that you chose?

AO: One of the most special materials in this office is the wallpaper at the reception, a local brand made of locally sourced natural fibre woven in Magelang, Central Java. It created a unique feel and texture that cannot be achieved by artificial wallpaper.

iD: In terms of design, what is the key strength of this office? What makes the design original?

AO: We were lucky that the office comes with a nice view of the surroundings and abundant natural light. These factors were great assets in enhancing our design. Additionally, the client’s desire to work together with the designer played an important factor in the overall success of this project.

iD: What is the ideal office design in your own opinion?

AO: Research has shown that a well-designed office can shape employee behaviours, feelings and attitudes towards their employer and how people work. Along with technology advancement, the ideal office nowadays should allow people to have choices and control over where and how they work. What was important in the old days such as large workstations and private individual offices are no longer the priority. Diageo is at the forefront of capturing the needs of their employees, and we are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to collaborate with them.

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Erza S.T.
Erza has pursued his great passion for opera and classical music for over a decade. His brainchild, the Indonesia Opera Society, has produced many classical music concerts and operas, and recently marked its 10th anniversary with a gala production. He is also a journalism lover focusing on luxury, lifestyle and travel stories, which he files from datelines around the globe.
Bagus Tri Laksono