Portraits of revolutionary innovators Marie Curie, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Ieoh Ming Pei decorate the walls of each level of SOHO 3Q WuJiaoChang, a new workspace campus in Shanghai designed by Ippolito Fleitz Group. The portraits are hung as inspiration, as the project is specifically targeted toward helping millennials – the largest demographic in the country – realise their career ambitions in their respective industries.

The Ippolito Fleitz Group was commissioned for the project by SOHO China, the country’s largest private real estate developer. The company has over 30 3Q locations throughout its major cities; one of the first, in Beijing, was designed by Zaha Hadid. Shanghai has many disused buildings that are no longer suited to use and quality requirements – this campus in particular used to be a department store from the 1980s. Both client and design team saw ‘enormous potential in rediscovering and converting these large spaces for a new kind of use,’ crediting the need to find ‘an environment outside of conventional office typologies.’ And Wujiaochang was the perfect district in which to break those moulds: it’s a trendy part of Shanghai, close to a university with popular retail and hospitality destinations nearby.

Vibrant and bustling, the 14,000-sq-m, five-level space is a clear reflection of the optimism and community-based mindset those young movers-and-shakers in the city have today. Conference rooms large and small, concentrated workspaces, niches, alcoves and private offices all have their place in the campus. 2,500 people can be accommodated within, and the engaging, colourful atmosphere seems to promise each will find their own fit. The project is meant to adhere to the ‘pulse of the city,’ fostering a sense of creative community that aims to attract Shanghai’s best and brightest.

In the centre hub, ‘More Than Work’ is painted boldly on a back wall. And indeed, the space is about more than work: ­ it’s a spatial step closer to that target everyone seeks – work-life balance.