Thursday, September 18, 2008

LIPPO ICE SKATING RINK, A Design Proposal for Sport and Leisure Facilities

A set of initial schematic conceptual drawings for Lippo Ice Skating Rink have submitted on August 1997. It was prepared when I joined with a foreign architectural design consulting firm in Jakarta.

It was surprising me, when the Managing Director came to my working desk and asking me to join in the next day meeting. When he introduced the project objective, I could not imagine what kind of facility it was.

Based on basic rough initial scheme from Managing Director we started to initiate design exploration sessions. As usual, I did research on several design and architectural reference books to get relevant design standards and references. We both also did survey sessions on 2 (two) Indoor Ice Skating Rink Facilities in Jakarta and of course I was also experiencing how to play ice skating. This was a one day course and unfortunately, I was never sliding my skating shoes and my body in well-balance. These all existing facilities are situated and incorporated as part of leisure facility in a shopping mall. 

The proposed main facilities are 1,745 square meter Ice Skating Rink and Toboggan Slope that enclosed under a giant membrane structure. The Toboggan Slope itself was never found and built before in Indonesia. The Ice Skating Rink is designed for both individual sport activities and sport game event like hockey or gymnastics. In related with these functions there supporting facilities are placed around the perimeter of Ice Skating Rink. Stackable spectator tribune are placed at the opposite side of the Toboggan Slope, meanwhile changing room, shower, lockers, skate rental, toboggan hire and toilet are situated underneath the Toboggan Deck. Of course there was also snow cloth rental, because somebody must wear a snow cloth before sliding in Toboggan slope and playing in Snow Land.

Basically, all of the facilities are differ
ed into two separated areas. First area is facility for visitor with ticket and remaining other area is facility for visitors without ticket. Ice Skating Rink and Toboggan Slope are only accessible from a check point for visitor by having ticket. Another facility such as dining area, refreshment bar, game area and viewing gallery could be accessible by visitor without ticket. These facilities are placed at upper floor level underneath the Toboggan Deck.

A garage for Zamboni Car was also provided. This specific vehicle is prepared to maintain the ice surface of skating rink. In engineering point of view, this facility also required specific approaches particularly in Mechanical and electrical designs. An appointed Engineering Consultant have assigned by the Client to do a research in a Snow Land Facility in Japan.

Actually, this project is never built, one year later Indonesia was suffered in a Monetary Crisis. Currently, the site is remaining as car park belong the shopping mall. But, for me this was a unique design experience that I will never gain in other next opportunity.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

DESA SIGMA, A traditional village compound landscaping for an office working environment.

As an Interior Designer for PTI Architect - Jakarta Indonesia, after the completion of Balicamp Project, I have assigned to deliver design consultancy services for their Sigma Group of IT Companies Office at German Center Building. This office building is situated at Serpong West Java, accessible approximately 2 hours form the center of Jakarta.

As usual, project brief is already prepared by the client including number of companies, department s, sub-divisions and persons that should be accommodated in tenancy offices. Total occupied tenancy space is approximately 3000 square meter. 2/3 part of the space is allocated for office space and rest of the area is allocated for Data Center and banking simulation system.

The unique thing was the client used a participative approach that identified each individual need of the user. In their questionnaire summary is noted that there was somebody’s need to bring his pet when he is working or even somebody want to park his bicycle nearby his working desk. Of course not of all these individual requirements could be accommodated, because some specific and technical reasons.

During the initial space planning stage, the client spontaneously declared that he want an office environment just something ‘dropped-down from the sky’. The office must be prepared as fully borderless office space for everybody. Somebody can work in certain place or desk today and then work in different place or desk next day where he like to work in. There will be no certain dedicated place for somebody in the office even he is a Director or just regular staff. Somebody just need to sit and turn-on the computer and then login into the networks. The office then intended to become more egalitarian working-space.

As Interior Designer I finally got the idea that it will be great should the office landscaping is generated simply just like a traditional compound in Indonesia. Usually, traditional compound is consisting of paddy field, cassava plantation, dwelling blocks, small school, mosque, public hall and traditional market that related with branches of village roads and maybe separated with the existence of small river or lake. This idea is accepted by the client!
And then the office layout is developed as metaphor of the traditional village. Paddy field is become metaphor for working cluster of the business unit. Each paddy field or business unit need to be explored as profit center. Corridors are generated just like the shape of road in the village that connecting every paddy fields to other place of activities. Even there are ponds with fish could be found in the office as simple metaphor for river or lake in the village. Before entering the office at the center area there are timber bridges over the ponds. In central meeting room, a bike park facility is also provided to anticipate if somebody will come into the meeting by riding bike from far-end side of the office area.

Every working clusters have their own meeting places that differed from one to another. Since the office environment finally become a large open landscaping office space, this is useful to define a certain place when somebody making an appointment to have a meeting. The meeting room enclosure itself is designed based on the idea of local traditional dwelling unit, made from bamboo weaving wall and combined with timber floor, fabric ceiling and glass.

Lighting Designer actually elaborate the strong vernacular character of the office design with several unique detail treatments for lighting fixtures. Bamboo materials are widely used as casing for hanging fluorescent lamps and as a kind of post for street lamps along certain corridors. There also antique head lamps from colonial bicycle that used for task lighting at brainstorming room.

Whether the project generally was successful to accommodate the unique idea exploration, not all of the idea could be implemented properly, because Interior Designer’s scope of work is limited only in the design development stage. Anyway, it was great working together with client with distinctive and progressive way of thinking, particularly in related with how they determining their approach of corporate working environment in a very specific manners.

BALICAMP, a Software Development Camp in the Heartland of Bali

During the year of 1998 I was deeply involved in the design development process of Balicamp Software development Camp in Bali. We were experiencing a great design sessions involving Interior Designer, Architect and Client to formulate and generate the idea from early conceptual stage.

There were 3 (three) main building blocks consisting of the main building block, working modules and dwelling units. All of these facilities are situated in 2 (two) hectares land in a slope of mountain concealed from the main street in the heart of Bali Island. There is a river and paddy fields at the lower end side of the mountain slope.

Main building block accommodates lobby area, coffee shop and function hall at first level where are hidden underneath main street level. Main working space, library and small meeting rooms are situated at lower floors. A pool is situated at the lowest level adjacent to Main Building block including changing rooms, restroom and game room.

Separated from Main Building are working modules and dwelling units which are randomly located away from the main building. Working modules allow the programmers to work in a small team or group. Typically, every working module is provided with a kind of long and continuous working desk which is fixed along perimeter window. Every group members can work facing to their computer monitors and enjoying Balinese landscape as a background. It feel like they work in their own private vacation home. 

 A sunken seating arrangement is centralized in the middle of working module that allow every member of the group can have brainstorming session, discussions or just take a break-out. A nice relaxing area in the inside of pyramidal shape space underneath the high 'alang-alang' roof.

 Dwelling unit is place for the programmers where they can sleep and take a rest like they do these in their own home. Lounge area, dining space, pantry corner and rest room are situated at lower floor. Bedroom is situated at mezzanine deck and accessible from a connecting wooden stair which is situated at the internal corner side of dwelling unit.

Most of working desks in Balicamp are designed as sharing bench configuration that enable flexibility and encourage interactivity. Several group of loose lounge seating and small open meeting space are always situated adjacent to the sharing bench configurations that enable work group members to have positive interactions to each others. This, as client hope will encourage everybody to cooperate in devising solutions to fit client’s need.

 Interior scheme is simply natural.  Various type of natural stones and natural wood become dominant design elements. Yellow-red marble from East-Java become major hard flooring surfacing, Kempas wood from Kalimantan become accent wood flooring and yellow cobble stone from Lombok become feature wall treatment. Solid Red-Merbau wood log from Papua become main materials to grand stair at lobby, tall coconut posts become main structure of big bird cage in the lobby and rough teak woods become typical materials to the furnitures. ‘Eceng-gondok’ weaving material from Central Java is typical covering for working chairs.

 The Building itself provide openings that enable maximum view to the surrounding natural environment and bring it to the internal sides as integrated part. A blend and conversation in-between internal enclosure and surrounding external environment creates physically borderless working environment for the programmers. This, as client hope will inspire everybody work in a hybrid culture of creativity that draw on the latest technological advantages to meet the demands of the new millennium.

As Interior Designer we have suggested to the Architect at early design stage, that all internal spaces at lobby level shall elaborate the shape of architectural roof shape. Spacious internal spaces then simply create. Obviously, lighting design become an important aspect that make this spatial design intentions are well defined.

Mezzanine deck which is inserted at the coffee shop become interesting transition element. Nice entry procession is created when somebody walking at the parking yard and walking-through porte-cochere to entering the sunken-lobby area. A tall bird cage, strongly fulfill the high lobby space. Consisting of 4 (four) of 6 (six) meter high coconut three columns and chopper dome, this bird cage is really a main point of interest at lobby space. Hanging wood louvers are floating in the high ceiling space at the adjacent meeting room. This simply create high space feeling and functionally useful to place-down the lighting fixtures.

All design approaches as describe above, basically is a result of collaborative and intensive conversation involving Interior Designer, Architect, Lighting Designer and Engineers that try to capture the client idea that they never imagined before. Maybe, until the Balicamp was completely built and finished, everybody who involved in the project then can have interpretation, what kind of facility is this?

As noted In Balicamp marketing brochure there was an imaginative conversation:”What is this place?” Our visitor asked. Is it a mountain retreat? Is it an artist’s colony? Is it a think-thank or is it a playground? We reply:”A corporation on the cutting edge”.