News Home & Design This Hybrid Office Functions As Work, Gallery, and Leisure Space This architecture office balances work with play. By Kimberley Mok Kimberley Mok Twitter Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007. Learn about our editorial process Updated August 12, 2021 10:06AM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checked by Haley Mast LinkedIn Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a freelance writer, fact-checker, and small organic farmer in the Columbia River Gorge. She enjoys gardening, reporting on environmental topics, and spending her time outside snowboarding or foraging. Topics of expertise and interest include agriculture, conservation, ecology, and climate science. Learn about our fact checking process Sim-Plex Design Studio Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices News Archive Over the past year or so, the global pandemic has been an unrelenting force of collective disruption. It's changed the way we travel, the way we eat, and of course, the way we work. Many people around the world have gotten used to the perks (and downsides) of working from home, and many are understandably reluctant to go back to the long commutes and lack of flexibility that comes with working in person at an office. What's clear is that work as we once knew it will certainly change in the future, but no one knows what exactly it will look like. With a fresh new design for its studio dubbed Sim-Plex Afflatus, Hong Kong-based architecture firm Sim-Plex Design Studio (previously) speculates that the office of the future will no doubt have to be more flexible. Located in an industrial building that is currently being repurposed into office lofts, the new studio is conceived as a versatile workspace where the studio can showcase its work and welcome clients. Sim-Plex Design Studio Most importantly, the redesigned 333-square-foot (31-square-meter) office provides employees with a space that can be used for work but also functions as a place where employees can have a more home-like environment. As the studio explains: "In today's society, the office environment is generally dull and unpleasant, and lacks flexibility in spatial considerations. Under the pandemic, a new hybrid working model is derived. In some cases, employees will work at home through video conference, resulting in idle space costs, while some employees cannot concentrate and work at home due to the noisy environment. Moreover, COVID-19 also reduces the need for business trips and meetings, and so some employees even stay in the studio for longer time, making the studio to be an extension of 'home'." At the new studio's entrance, there is a counter with a foldable glass screen that can be opened up during office hours so that staff can welcome visitors. It functions also as a spot to disinfect hands, store shoes, hats, or umbrellas, or hide the office printer. During off-hours, the glass screen is closed, and it's a place where one can grab a cold drink from the mini-refrigerator under the counter. Sim-Plex Design Studio There's also a long rod installed overhead here, perfect for hanging potted plants—a nice detail, seeing that plants can help make any office space greener and healthier. Sim-Plex Design Studio Further inside, we come into a large multipurpose space that is loosely defined into two zones. The zone behind the entry desk is dominated by a rectangular terrazzo table, while the other zone is more open and is flanked by a wall of built-in storage. Sim-Plex Design Studio Thanks to several hidden electrical outlets, is where employees can sit and work with laptops, or where client meetings can be held, or even off-hours meals for friends cooked with the help of an induction stovetop. Sim-Plex Design Studio On one side of the table, there are bulletin boards for tacking up drawings, as well as shelves for reference books. Sim-Plex Design Studio On the other side of the table, there is a series of drawers for storing samples of materials, which clients can look over during meetings. There is a counter here for a couple of coffee machines and a kettle. Sim-Plex Design Studio In addition, there are a couple of sliding panels here that function both as surfaces for pinning up presentation materials, and also to hide parts of the built-in wall furniture if needed. Sim-Plex Design Studio At the far end of the office space, there is a designated spot for the firm's founder, Patrick Lam, to sit. Sim-Plex Design Studio Behind this main desk, there is a built-in bookcase for showcasing various items, and a coat closet tucked in the corner. Sim-Plex Design Studio There is also a long upholstered bench to the side, which can be used as extra seating for employees or clients, or even a place to take a nap if one has to stay late at the office. There is also a projection screen up above here for digital presentations. Part of the original concrete beam has been preserved here, to show the history of this industrial building. Sim-Plex Design Studio In the end, this new office space tests the waters for a new way of balancing work and life post-pandemic—something that most offices will likely have to do, as Lam explains: "The pandemic is actually a catalyst for redefining the studio space. We believe that its impact is profound and continuous. When designing this studio and gallery space, the increased demand for the spatial flexibility should be taken into consideration: when employees work at home, the space can be used as a gallery showcasing of the design details or for leisure habitation; when employees are in the studio, the integration of a sense of home can help balance employees’ stress of not going outdoor and traveling due to pandemic and stimulate their creative thinking." To see more, visit Sim-Plex Design Studio.