PLH ARKITEKTER’S DESIGN “CONNECTED BY SOUND” IS AWARDED A SPECIAL MENTION IN THE GERMAN DESIGN AWARDS 2019
PLH’s design of the global headquarters for Sivantos in Singapore has been awarded a Special Mention in the German Design Awards. The design for one of the key players in the global hearing aid industry is called “Connected by Sound” and transforms sound into physical space. PLH is recognized for the imaginative and artistic way the subject of sound has been integrated into a unique interior:
“Connected by Sound” - PLH transforms sound into physical space for Sivantos in new Singapore global HQ
Sivantos headquarters in Singapore is a collaboration between Danish architecture practice PLH Arkitekter as the concept designer and workplace strategist, and local interior design company Geyer Design for execution. The design development was undertaken as a virtual collaboration between the two firms where PLH used virtual reality and other 3D tools to optimize the design process.
The leading hearing aid company Sivantos relocated its global headquarters and its Singapore operations, representing a critical moment to change culture and establish a renewed image and identity. The outcome is a sound-inspired workplace that fosters collaboration, agility, accountability and an entrepreneurial spirit. It is a place that employees are proud of, and that gives visitors a memorable experience.
The facility is intuitively designed, across three very large floor plates, and comprises research & development (R & D), manufacturing, global departments and South East Asia office. Effective branding experience is integrated into both the visitor and employee flow around the workplace, and it has been developed in an inclusive manner that ensures employees embrace, utilise and understand their new workplace environment. Sivantos’ desire to strengthen its identity has resulted in a new headquarters that represents a powerful manifestation of the company’s vision to invent the future of better hearing and understanding.
PLH’s concept for Sivantos is called “Connected by Sound”, whereby the design is a physical manifestation of the experience and connective potential of sound. The workplace design and spatial experience draw on two main themes - “sound unites us” and “sound as a celebration of global diversity”. Subsequently, form, light, colour and materiality are integrated to bring visitors and employees together in spaces that are rich in sensory experience.
Upon entering the headquarter, it becomes clear that sound is the focal point of this organization. Inspired by sound waves, an exciting sculptural ‘sound wall’ encases the arrival and reception area – establishing a strong and immediate wow factor to anybody who visits. The visual elements work aesthetically and acoustically to transform sound waves into physical form, and bringing sound to life visually for an emotional and uplifting experience. It is here that global and local visitors want to be photographed with the Sivantos logo as a backdrop. Sivantos Senior Vice President HR, Nicolai R. Jensen, explains how the new headquarters has transformed the working culture at Sivantos:
“The new headquarters has completely transformed the culture of working here at Sivantos, making the interaction between different departments and teams much stronger. The collaboration hubs provide a platform for spontaneous meetings and brainstorm sessions improving productivity immensely, and at the same time giving the opportunity to unwind while still at work.”
Hubs as “soundscapes” drawing people together:
Hubs are centrally located around the floors creating spaces for collaboration, focus, contemplation and break-out. In connection is a series of team support functions such as phone booths, small meeting rooms, cafés, print/storage rooms and various break-out spaces with diverse seating modes that encourage team building, exchange of expert knowledge and collaboration. Easy accessibility and close proximity to all desk areas means all functions are equally distributed through the floors. The hubs act as attractive destinations within the workplace, each with their own sound concept based on the diversity and contrasts of ‘sound of nature’, ‘sound of the city’ and ‘sound of celebration’ creating different “soundscapes” within the office. The combination of materials, colour and lighting in each hub emphasize the variations and nuances of the sounds that we hear in nature, the city and when we celebrate. Senior Designer Kaan Alpagut explains the inspiration for the hubs:
“The names for the collaboration hubs were inspired by the steering committee’s ambition statements and core brand values to highlight and celebrate global diversity, invention, and connectivity. The intention was to create different soundscapes within the workspace that would encourage collaboration and create a vibrant and entrepreneurial atmosphere.”