As hybrid work models gain ground, Kenta Nagai Studio transformed a residential area restaurant into an ex-commuter workspace for NSF-E.

Key features

Tasked to design a satellite office for NSF-E – a joint venture between Sony and NTT – Kenta Nagai was presented with a former restaurant site in a residential area of Yokohama, a large city south of Tokyo. To minimize costs and maximize flexibility for potential future usages, the architect configured office functions within the existing space, without touching the existing building’s bones. To create an open work environment that connects with its surrounding, a large table was placed in the area between two courtyards. Additional private workplaces were realized in what was originally the kitchen. Because of its sound absorbing properties, particle board was selected to create furniture. 

‘By making the best use of the site conditions and building conditions of a residential area, and by creating a relationship with the external environment, we aimed to create a space that cannot be experienced in an office building in the city centre,’ Kenta Nagai explains. 

Frame’s take

As our contributing work editor Riya Patel reported in Frame 144, ‘the culture of hybrid work is creating an affluent ex-commuter market seeking a dedicated place to work some or all of the week. […] The pandemic is seeing businesses of all types using flexible space to set up satellite offices close to where their employees live.’ The NSF-E workspace is a case in point, limiting local workers’ need to commute – or even relocate – to the busier and more expensive city centre. What’s more: creating neighbourhood spots with smaller foot­prints and capacities can be much more sustainable – both because of their adaptability and reduced need for travel. Why work from an office at all, you might ask? Near-home workspaces appeal to those who feel isolated working at home. Something that’s especially true for Gen Zers, of which 74 per cent wants more opportunities to collaborate in person, according to 2021 research by Accenture.