Industrial inspiration and modern functionality combined to create inspired new workspace for Afrisam
Many workplaces have undergone a dramatic change in the post-COVID-19 world. As lockdowns forced people to work from home and teams realised that remote and flexible working was realistic and possible, many companies have relaxed their requirements for employees to be seen at the office every day. Indeed, many have shifted to partly or fully remote operations, depending on their businesses.
This comes with a necessary change in one’s office set-up. Many companies who no longer have their entire workforce present all the time have taken steps to downsize their corporate space and redesigning the space that remains. This comes with a necessary change in one’s office set-up. Many companies who no longer have their entire workforce present all the time have taken steps to downsize their corporate space and redesigning the space that remains.
This was certainly the case for Afrisam, one of South Africa’s main cement manufacturers. Afrisam approached Trend Group, a design-and-build turnkey specialist, to redesign its corporate office space in Constantia Park, Roodepoort, implement a new workplace strategy and rethink the office as a more agile working space.
Afrisam wanted to downsize its office space by half and change the way in which the space was used. This involved removing the cellular offices and creating a more flexible, open plan working environment. A refurbishment also presented a good opportunity to refresh and modernise the look and feel of Afrisam’s office.
The new offices are 2,875sqm in extent and the entire design and build process took three months to complete. The programme was a challenging one: Trend Group had to work with in tight timelines and in a live environment – that is, one that was still in use.
Trend was also tasked with returning the section of office space that Afrisam would no longer be using to ‘white box’ status, which had to be carried out simultaneously with the refurbishment work.
The process commenced with the demolition of existing dry-walling and flooring, much of which made up the former cellular offices. Following this, the reception area was reconstructed to be more functional and modern, and the entire office area was redesigned and rebuilt.
Afrisam decided to adopt a hot-desking work style in this new office space. This meant rethinking the working areas creatively so as to provide some quite work spaces whilst retaining the emphasis on the agile open-plan spaces. Within the open plan office area, ‘open’ offices were created to provide some level of privacy for those who required it, without losing the inclusive feel of the open plan space.
Throughout the office area, focus rooms, breakaway spaces and meeting rooms punctuate the space, creating a mix of different working spaces around them. This creates a variety of ways for staff to come together and collaborate or work in their individual styles, as needed, around the office.
The design intent was to pay homage to the Afrisam brand by means of an industrial look and feel, and the subtle interjection of the company’s corporate colours.
The design is focused on functionality, yet exudes sophistication. The industrial aesthetic was created through the use of textured wallpapers, cement-inspired carpet patterns, exposed soffits and steel frames and bulkheads.
The red of the Afrisam brand was brought in with red furniture pieces. Areas which are particular features are the new staff canteen and the meeting rooms.
The furniture was selected to be mobile and multifunctional, promoting flexible use as it is intended to be used in a variety of different settings around the office. It also had to be comfortable and optimally functional.
The entire project was concluded within the three month design and build period. Trend Group created an industrial-inspired, modern and highly usable space – a result which has delighted client and staff alike.