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Open Office Mixing Creative Ideas and People
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Outline

The Philosophy of the Company is To Accept Diversity. And No Completely Closed Space.

Loftwork, a creative company that designs web, space, communication methods etc. renovated its office in the fall of 2018. At the same time, we started introducing the internal free address environment. The office in Shibuya is a space with various purposes and functions such as a cafe on the 1st floor where people including creators and engineers gather inside and outside, a coworking space on the 2nd floor, a project space on the 3rd floor, and an event space and meeting space on the 10th floor. This time we renewed the work area on the 8th and 9th floor.

This renewal project was led by Mr. Suwa, the representative of the company. Suwa said, “There is no completely closed space in Loftwork. It is our philosophy that we have created value through open collaboration with various talents. That “openness” is apparent in the space”.

The most important thing in this project was to create a space from the perspective of “functionality of the office.” As a company like loftwork, in which dozens of projects are constantly underway, the office space is designed by considering the UX of the members such as “how smoothly the ongoing projects can progress and workers can satisfactorily learn.” As an example, you can choose the location according to the type of work you have.  We offered a height difference to each work table; a high table is for when you want to have a short and casual job, and a low table is for when you want to sit down and take time to work.

【Project Concept】
    Details of the Support
  Space design / Furniture design
  Production directing
    Prototype furniture production
    Production drawing and 3D modeling
    Timber selection and procurement
    Process control
    Processing / Manufacturing
    Delivery / Installation

【Project Structure】
 Client: Loftwork Inc.
 Design: Yoshino Furuichi (Yoshino Furuichi Architects)
 Design/Prodution Directing: Kotaro Iwaoka, Hideaki Asaoka, Takahiro Kai, Akiyo Iiyama (Hidakuma Inc.)
 Manufacturing: Kamihira Kogei (Crafts), Naue Inc., Nonaka Mokkosho (Carpentry), Fujii Kagu Seisakusho (Furniture Manufacturing), go-products and Eva Gardet

Output

The appeal of "wood" as a material. Flexible realization of the shape you want to achieve.

“There are various materials that we can choose from to make products, but trees in particular are very flexible and functional,” says Suwa. Wood is easy to process and easy to finish into the desired shape. In order to realize the function that fits in the space of Loftwork, she has decided that the product made by customizing the wooden materials is best suited for the office, and that is how she worked on this project of renewing the office using wood.

Curved Table

The Curved table is placed near the entrance area on both the 8th and 9th floors.

Smooth edges are nice and soft as you touch.

A symbolic and experimental table is located in the work area. It is designed so that team members can sit along the roundness of the curve, and the staff can work together while looking at the PC screen. If you want to concentrate on your own by taking advantage of the curved shape, you can choose a position that is slightly offset from the next person or a position where you are out of the line of others’ sight. In addition, we anticipate an increase in the number of staff members in the future, and we made it a flexible specification so that many employees can sit down if more space is required. A power strip is built into the middle top plate. A unique look was created by combining different hardwoods on each table.

<Specifications>
Materials: “Maze-Maze” mixture of hardwood (A) Cherry, beech, and Japanese horse chestnut/(B) Japanese horse chestnut and magnolia/(C) Zelkova and chestnut
Number of Items: 3
Size: (A)W4580×D28320×H720/(B)W4355×D2150×H900/(C)W4160×D2100×H900
Leg specifications: Steel Silver melamine baking coating
Finish: Permeable glass coating
Other:(Middle table plate)Color MDF

The Counter By the Window

Underneath the counter is lockers for personal use.

A Variety of hardwood trees are used.

The front of the top plate is tilted 5 degrees down, making it easier to work on a PC while standing. Even if there is a difference in everyone’s height, with the inclination at 5 degrees, the counter is designed so that anyone can use it by positioning the PC to fit best. The additional sloping masks the intent that staff members would not leave their personal items behind on the counter. To take advantage of the space underneath, we installed lockers that can store personal items which come in handy along with free address workspacing.

<Specifications>
Materials: ”Maze-Maze” mixture of hardwood (Chestnut, Cherry, birch, Japanese horse chestnut, beech, and magnolia)
Number of Items: 2
Size: W25000×D650×H1050 (1 item)
Leg specifications: China Lumber Core
Finish: Permeable glass coating
Other: (Cut end)Brass flat bar

Water Station Wagon

Movable wagon with a water server built in. It’s a refreshing space where you can share your snacks and souvenirs.

<Specifications>
Materials: ”Maze-Maze” mixture of hardwood (A) Cherry, beech, Japanese horse chestnut/(B) Flash + linoleum coating
Number of Items: 2
Size: (A) W1250×D990×H900/(B) W1300×D1360×H900]]]
Leg specifications: Poly Flash
Finish: (A) Permeable glass coating
Other: Moveable rack

Tabletop for Lifting Table

We changed the top plate only by making use of the existing table. By changing the shape of the tabletop, the layout can be arranged according to the shape of the floor.

<Specifications>
Materials: Flash + linoleum coating
Number of Item:2
Size: (1)W2200×D900/(2)W1150×D680

Re-make Table

Left front: Remake Table. Back: Fitting Rack (Storage Space). On the wall: Magazine Rack

The table has a unique look, with 7 different types of tree species attached diagonally.

<Specifications>
Materials: ”Maze-Maze” mixture of hardwood (Chestnut, cherry, birch, Japanese horse chestnut, beech, zelkova, and magnolia)
Number of Items: 2
Size: (Large)W3300×D1400×H900/(Small)W2200×D1500×H730
Leg specifications: already made product
Finish: Permeable glass coating
Other: (Cut end) Brass flat bar

Fitting Rack

Large sliding doors covered with a cherry tree frame fits naturally in the office, giving you a warm, wooden design. Behind the doors are “semi-custom-made and semi-off-the-shelf” storage space that uses an off-the-shelf steel rack to cut costs and production time.

<Specifications>
Materials: (Fittings) Cherry/(Fabrics on Fittings) Cordura Nyron
Number of Items: 2
Size: W4180×D555×H2440
Leg specifications: threshold and lintel /(Frame) Color MDF
Finish: Permeable glass coating
Other:(Interior rack) Already made rack

Magazine Rack

Created on a pillar in the office. It is not only for magazines; part of it works as a chargeable iPad stand.

<Specifications>
Materials: Cherry
Number of Items: 2
Size: W700×D100×H1920
Finish: Natural Oil
Other: (partly using) iPod racks

Bookshelf and Bookends

The bookends come in two sizes: Japanese paperback size and hardcover size. (photo 1)

By connecting with a magazine rack, this bookshelf and book ends offer a smooth movement line between the two areas. The bookend, which was inspired by a comment like “it is not so exciting to use off-the-shelf products”, was designed by measuring the curvature of the book covers, and processing it to blend naturally with the arranged books.

Delivery Pick-Up Counter

A counter for temporarily placing parcels, with a semi-circular design so as not to disturb the movement line. It is also foldable for easy access to the inspection door next to it.

<Specifications>
Materials: Melamine decrative board Flash
Size: W1500×D600×H900
Leg specifications: Already made brackets

Glass Top Table

The Glass top table and bench are made for this particular space.

In the leg part of the table uses kumiki joinery technique.

The tabletop is a glass top plate and solid cherry wood, and the legs are a combination of clear acrylic and square wood. A unique table that weaves together different materials and traditional techniques.

<Specifications>
Materials: (Tabletop) Cherry, with the edge left + Tempered Glass
Number of Items: 2
Size: W1480×D1170×H710
Leg specifications: Cherry + Clear Acrylic
Finish: Permeable glass coating

Bench

A bench that follows the curved shape of the wall. It is a space that can be used according to various needs, such as wanting to work in a slightly recessed place, or lying down a little when you feel unwell or taking a rest.

<Specifications>
Materials: “Mazemaze” (mixed) hardwood (cherry, beech, and Japanese horse-chestnut)
Number of Items:2
Size: W25850×D450×H430
Leg specifications: Steel Silver melamine baking coating
Finish: Permeable glass coating

Process

First Find the Function. Then Put It Into a Shape

During the renewal, Suwa worked on creating a space that emphasized UX and UI. First few questions we asked ourselves were: what kind of function should the office have?; what actions can be taken by staff members who use the office to achieve results?; and do they enjoy working here? From these perspectives, we made decisions on the function of the space, and Suma worked closely with Furuichi, the designer, and Hidakuma, the creator, to create the space through our in-depth discussions.

Drawing the main designer Furuichi created

Curved table designed to aim an increase in the number of people to use the table at the same time. In the environment with the free address workspace, while the rectangular work desk might leave inefficiently unused empty seats, the curve should offer solutions for it.

Curved table mockup. Tree species are magnolia and Japanese horse chestnut

A drawing of a window counter. It is tilted approximately ± 50mm toward the front so that it is easy for everyone to use even if there is a difference in height.

The table top of the window counter as it has been dried after painting.

A photo taken when the window counter is installed. We placed personal lockers between counter legs.

Drawing for NC machining of curved table

Part of curved table top during the delivery

Embedded power strip. Power cables that crawl on the table are gathered inside to keep the surface of the table tidy.

A photo taken during the installation

Members

Mitsuhiro Suwa
Loftwork CEO
Mitsuhiro Suwa is the Co-Founder and President of the new-style creative agency Loftwork Inc. In 2000, with the aim of making a new infrastructure for creative talents, he started up the creative network “loftwork.com.” Using his own experience working as a creative director, he is developing “loftwork.com” into one of Japan’s greatest creative infrastructures. In recent years, he has put a lot of energy into giving seminars and lectures, and writing materials on the topic of the effective use of Web platforms.

He was born in San Diego, US, in 1971.
After graduating from Keio University’s Faculty of Policy Management (SFC,) he took part in the start-up of the FM radio station established by JapanTimes, “InterFM” (FM Inter-Wave Inc.) He contributed to the radio station as the first creative director. After this creative task, he went to the US in 1997, and after majoring in Digital Arts at the School of Digital Arts, worked as a designer in New York. He established Loftwork Inc. in the year 2000.

Yoshino Furuichi
Born in Mie prefecture in 1985. Completed graduate school of Nagoya City University. After working at Yasutaka Yoshimura Architects and Naruse / Inokuma Architects, she established Yoshino Furuichi Architects in 2015. practices creating spaces from a wide range of viewpoints including management. Some of her works include the design of co-creation spaces in company. Part-time lecturer at Kyoto University of Art and Design since 2018. www.ysnfric.com

Hideaki Asaoka
Belongs to the company Hida no Mori de Kuma wa Odoru (Hidakuma). From Hida City, Gifu Prefecture. After graduating from Nagoya University of the Arts, he worked in furniture manufacture and design at a furniture manufacturer and an interior design business. In 2016 he joined Hidakuma, working in a wide range of areas including product development, design, production and construction. He has extensive knowledge of wood and a profound respect for craftsmen. He works hard every day to confer new value to wood.

Member's Voice

“Aiming to create an open space has resulted in better movement flow and communication within the company. While staff members enjoy more conversations, those who want to concentrate need a quiet space. Great thing about wood is that it lets me flexibley design spaces based on such needs. In this project, I worked with Hidakuma and Furuichi discussing my definition of office functionality, and putting it into a shape. As a consequence, I think we’ve created a space that’s easy to work on projects and best suited for Loftwork. ”

Mitsuhiro Suwa, Loftwork Inc., Co-Founder and President

“In addition to the various functions such as lockers that are required along with free addressing, we had to solve individual requirements that had been neglected in the conventional office. And all these had to be realized only through changing the layout and newly installed furniture. How can a piece of furniture have a great impact on the existing space, and give more diversity to the activities to take in account? Those are the considerations I have given.
I felt that the atmosphere of the whole office changed gracefully, as the large pieces of furniture placed as the key features in the office had the soft texture of hardwood. The curved table has a combination of different tree species, and each piece offers different impressions. It would be my pleasure to see staff working in this non-uniform office space while freely choosing their own preferred location. ”

Yoshino Furuichi, Yoshino Furuichi Architects

There is a saying, “You can tell if it is good furniture by looking at the back of it.” This stems from the fact that any of the “last process” of difficult shaping, techniques, and combinations of various materials is stored in the back of the top plate and shelf. It is said that the furniture, with excellent design and technology, has its high quality processing stored on the back.
The furniture for this project has turned out to be a production that requires careful detail design and specialized technology in terms of shaping, techniques, handling of wood, and delivery method, etc.
Consequently, many specialists from the fields of furniture, CNC, hardware, and delivery came together to work and make this project happen.
Do you want to see how it came out? Check out the back of the curved table. ”

Hideaki Asaoka, Hidakuma Inc.

Company Profile

Loftwork Inc. is a creative agency which, through open collaboration, takes part in the design of websites, contents, services, communication and spaces. We manage the digital craft cafe “FabCafe” with expansion overseas, creative lounge “MTRL (Material)” which comes face to face with raw materials, the online community awrd.com, and the platform “OpenCU” which accelerates creative learning. We are able to provide a wide variety of creative services by creating together with creator communities worldwide. https://loftwork.com/en/

Photographs: Kenta Hasegawa (All Outline and Output photographs, except 1)

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