BANGKOK – ‘Fitness is infiltrating every imaginable space,’ says Frameeditor-in-chief Robert Thiemann. In our upcoming Frame #117 issue, we explore the growing wellth phenomenon – the shift in the wellness sector towards self-transformation as a luxury commodity. At the same time, the current craze for fitness and wellness has resulted in offices, stores, and even museums making space for people to workout.
The Inteltion office is no exception to the trend. Renovated by Onion, the workspace is unique in that it isn’t actually designed for 9-to-5 staff. Inteltion is an IT consultancy company with around 60 employees who typically work at clients’ offices to maintain and repair their computer systems. Employees are only present at the office on Phaholyothin Place while waiting for a new project or assignment. This meant that Onion could do away with individual desks and workstations – each employee is highly mobile by design, working from anywhere with only a laptop.
Onion took this characteristic of mobility and ran with it, creating an office that focuses more on the physical state of employees rather than the mental – something unheard-of in white-collar workspaces where we simply sit down and don’t move unless for meetings and breaks.
Onion began by studying the simple exercise machines common in playgrounds and public parks all over Asia. Popular with the elderly in particular, these outdoor fitness equipment often rely only on body weight for strength-building. Onion developed a range of simple tools for easy exercises, from spinning chairs to blocks that stretch and work the fingers, as well as more high-intensity activities such as monkey bars, gymnast rings, and a punching bag.
However, Onion doesn’t neglect the need for rest and relaxation in the midst of all this activity. The architects provided a nap area above the filing cabinets, a raised platform filled with pillows for sleep-deprived IT technicians to catch a quick snooze.
Throughout this open-concept workout workspace, the dominant feature is a continuous white iron tube. The tube swoops and curves through the office; from the handrails at the entrance of the space, up to the ceiling as monkey bars, and down along the floor as chair and table supports. Exposed utility pipes have also been painted white.
The result is a design that integrates elements of fitness, play, and rest into the entire workspace. As Thiemann says in Frame
#117, ‘it’s not just about clearing a space and installing a few pieces of exercise equipment’.
‘Ultimately, even fitness is a branded experience that reflects the identity of the company or organization that’s promoting it.’