Dist 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
GEMA, an architectural and interior design company from Vietnam, designed the new offices of the World Mosquito Program, a non-profit initiative working to protect the global community from mosquito-borne diseases with an innovative and natural approach using Wolbachia, a common bacteria. Sustainability is a core value of the organization, reflected in its day-to-day activities, and was central to every aspect of GEMA’s intervention.
The choice of the President Place building for WMP offices, strategically located in the heart of the city, was particularly inspired with its upper floors clad in elegant perforated screen, shielding from the harshest sun and reducing overall energy consumption. Certified LEED for its green credentials, it offers uninterrupted views of the canopy of trees, capturing the natural sunlight streaming through the abundant foliage of the adjacent Reunification Palace’s gardens. Integrating nature into the project was essential in defining the role of WMP in the community at large, while embracing a humanistic and holistic approach to the wellbeing of its employees, as natural light is proven to benefit concentration and mood.
From the sleek elevator lobby, access to the offices of WMP is effortless, once passed the front door and its arresting logo, as the traditional reception area has been eschewed in favor of a more uncluttered breakout lounge area. There, guests are greeted or in the adjoining small meeting room, without interfering with the rest of the office. The central working area is thus accessed directly, forgoing corporate decorum and emphasizing the human scale of the organization. Original sound-proofing modules integrate lighting fixtures and a minimalist approach is favored throughout the layout, offering flexibility according the specific needs of each task.
Main circulations follow a longitudinal symmetrical configuration, but small break-out pods regularly intersperse the continuous facade window, catering to more casual impromptu gatherings. The director room is also preceded by a pleasant sitting area. Meeting rooms, positioned opposite the central working area, receive a distinct geometric flooring and smart glass partitions letting natural light in, but establishing privacy when needed. Separate phone booths facilitate conversations without impeding the concentration of co-workers. Judiciously laid out plants stations enhance air quality and contribute to create a healthier space, restful on the eyes and alleviating stress.
An independent pantry occupies one end of the project, offering an informal place to socialize and promote wellness, fostering creative collaboration and battery recharging. Ethical sustainable bamboo flooring is used and a more convivial atmosphere created with leather sofas and colorful oriental rugs. The semi-open design of WMP offices allows the employees to act ecologically at their workplace, reflecting the values of the program and its engagement towards the community.
Respectful of the World Mosquito Program’s holistic approach, GEMA’s intervention is as discreet as efficient by integrating seamlessly innovative technology such as a cable-free workplace and intelligent lighting controls. A base palette of neutral non-obtrusive colors is used throughout the project with careful vibrant touches. Soft and natural finishes, acoustic walls and vinyl carpet flooring contribute to create a pleasant, congenial and refined environment. But it is in the details and the exquisite bespoke furniture that GEMA’s thoughtful elegance tactfully reveals itself.