Hong Kong – How do you connect 800 employees spanning various departments under one roof? It’s a question personal care company L’Oréal posed to Bean Buro, for its 5,700-m2 Asia Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong. The studio was asked to explore a variety of innovative workspace solutions to promote wellbeing and flexibility for L’Oréal's employees. To do so, they referred to the urban environment of the company’s native Paris and communal function of traditional Chinese gardens, effectively creating an engaging workplace that simultaneously honours L’Oréal’s global sustainability guidelines.
‘We were inspired by the sociable and transient street cafes of Paris,’ says Bean Buro founding director Lorène Faure of L’Oréal's hometown. ‘Parisians gather at the thresholds between inside and outside – to see and be seen. The urban narrative became a metaphor for this highly collaborative workplace.’ Furthermore, they took inspiration from the ability of Chinese gardens to link neighbourhoods harmoniously, having ‘various circulation cloisters with timber ceilings and slatted screen walls as architectural devices to differentiate public and private space’. This cultural exchange formed the basis of the design concept for the five-floor headquarters.