The concept of 399 The Beaumont Partnership Studios is a salute to the elegance, the function, the frivolity and the Avant-garde that design can be and represents.
The Beaumont Partnership has been operating in Thailand for over 28 years, and as an award-winning studio designing the workspace of other companies corporate offices, the partners imagined what would the perfect workspace look like for their studio. Would it be fun and quirky? Would it have free-flowing snacks? Would it be all about agility and disruption?
When the site of 399 was located, it was immediately apparent that this was the future space of the Beaumont Partnership and its design studio.
The design of the Beaumont House ( Baan Beaumont) is intended to preserve the history of the site and its timeless elegance; a construction swan song to an era of architectural design and construction. Meanwhile, space itself offers clients, designers and guests alike the opportunity to experience the home office reimagined; cosy, homely, a touch of lux and a dash of artistic exuberance.
Sitting in the reception of Baan Beaumont musing over a cup of tea, one might forget the business that one has come for today.
Additionally, the design of the Studio Beaumont is an acknowledgement of the changing landscape of design and construction. The prefabricated steel structure housing the engine of the design that is the Beaumont Partnership, the symbolism is obvious. Regardless of technology and automation, people are still at the heart of design. Empath, brutalists, conservatives and money crunchers unite, no matter the technology, at least for now, at least in this studio, people are at the heart of design. And home; Baan Beaumont and Studio Beaumont, our home, where the heart is.
The project’s location is the sprawling grounds of a historic Thai house ( circa 1920) which was formerly home to the Italian Consulate and subsequently a prestigious Italian Restaurant.
The plan for the Beaumont Partnership is to restore and create effectively two buildings on the site.
Baan Beaumont – the original 1920 Thai house
Studio Beaumont, a two-storey prefabricated steel structure integrated into the existing building on the site.
The criterion of the aesthetics and spatial design of 399 was to ensure the preservation of the existing house. The addition of the new building is seen as a modern interpretation of home studio design. Much of the current landscape will be retained and add to, to maintain
the charm of this spacious leafy locale.
The project team will work to restore all the existing wood, including the signature staircase to allow the warmth and smoothness of the wood to resonate through space.
The original colonial windows will be restored; this being a unique design feature of the house, allowing the space to be lit by natural daylight.
A contemporary chandelier will be installed as a throwback to the grandeur that this house represented in its time. The chandelier is an accent piece which lights the and joins the lower and upper flows.
Both the house and the studio will have artworks from around the region adorn its walls. Dramatic landscapes, modern contemporary abstract works and subtle watercolours can be found in the board room to the bathroom as unexpected visual pleasures for staff and visitors to delight upon.
This building will also feature a customed designed concierge desk made of Carerra marble and bronze at the entrance. Designed by the CEO of the Beaumont Partnership, this design piece is a salute to the opulence, frivolity and beauty of design which compliments the beauty of the original house. The concierge desk is a step away from the traditional reception and signifies the commitment of the studio to simplicity and the nowadays luxury of human-centred service in this world of technology and automation.
Studio Beaumont, the prefabricated building, was designed to be the main working area for the Beaumont Partnership. Studio Beaumont has been designed as a two-storey building with a mezzanine, houses the working spaces, hot desks and private meeting rooms and collaboration spaces.
The two buildings are a juxtaposition of the past, present, the old and new and is a discourse about the fine line of design, construction and technology.
Baan Beaumont ( the existing building) is 300sqm and is home to the office of the CEO and the finance department and houses the main board room and two other meeting rooms. Visitors in this space upon walking through the entry archway are greeted by a concierge who can direct the visitor to the right meeting room or invite them to enjoy a cup of tea while sitting in the window-framed waiting areas.
The CEO’s office is designed for formal, semi-formal and casual meetings. The light, airy room overlooks the gardens of the 399 and is intended to be a space where groups can gather to discuss projects and design or enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the glow of dusk.
Studio Beaumont will house the architectural, interior, landscape and signage departments and is the centre of design for the Beaumont Partnership. At 262 Sqm and a generous 11 sqm per person, studio Beaumont will be abuzz with design and production. There are several meeting rooms, break out areas and intimate collaboration space designed for group work as well as quiet work.
The design intention of the two buildings is to ensure a dynamic space for the designers and simple, yet comfortable space for clients, visitors and guest to reflect or conceive of their design ideas.
399 was conceived first with the wellbeing of the team of the Beaumont Partnership in mind.
After 20 plus years in a hermetically sealed office in the Bangkok CBD, the partners along with the studio, agreed to move to 399 to create a better workspace for the team.
Aside from the existing 1920 Thai colonial-style house, the site offers sun-dappled green spaces with a sprawling lawn and mature fruit-bearing trees along its perimeter.
A criterion of the site is to ensure all the preservation of the existing trees and vegetations. Additional landscaping will provide sun relief so the team can enjoy the outdoor space during meals times or for sports and recreation in the afternoons and in the cooler months.
By restoring Baan Beaumont, the project carbon footprint will be significantly reduced. 90% of the furniture will be reused from the former office. With the exception of sanitary ware, lighting and carpeting, very few areas required new materials.
While studio Beaumont is considered to be a new build, it is also a prefabricated building. The elements of which were packaged within
a container shipped from a Chinese manufactured, New Zealand supplier; thus reducing the materials which would typically be required for traditional construction.
Both buildings have natural sunlight and are of low density in terms of usage. Both structures also have windows which allow natural air and cross-ventilation within the studio and the meeting room space.
There is also more significant shared space within the site. Future plans to have a gym and outdoor fitness circuits and boot camps have been allowed for in the planning of the office.
The decision to build Studio Beaumont using a prefabricated steel structure was driven by two factors:
- To challenge the studio to design a functional and aesthetically pleasing space using prefabrication.
Traditionally the Thai market has been resistant to the idea of prefabrication as it is deemed cheap. In instances where the cost is not a barrier for clients, the next objection becomes skills and knowledge of contractors in putting together prefabrication.
The prefab steel system was chosen as it was ideal in terms of the time frame required to erect the building.
The main components of the steel structure were pre-engineered, pre-punched and pre-drilled.
Additionally, the robust structure is ready for quick and efficient assembly once it has been shipped to the required location.
The financial benefit does not necessarily impact the construction cost, however, given the shorter construction time, reductions can be made in other areas, including additional office rental.
The sturdy material also offers excellent weather protection including strong winds, fire and corrosion resistance.
One of the critical challenges of the project was/is finding the right construction team that would be able to quickly learn the technique and methodology of prefabrication and just in time management which is essential due to the limited space ( in the context of site to offloading containers and materials) on the site.
The challenge in managing this process is also affected by traffic rules of Bangkok ( big trucks are restricted to certain hours) space, weather and the frequency of public holidays in Thailand.