The Hanging Gardens of Branders

Re-imagining an existing workspace to inspire the highly innovative team at Branders and reflect their creative culture.

Budding branding and creative agency Branders recently moved into ready-made premises in Tal-Ibragg. Located above the popular Greens supermarket, the 500 m2 of office space was proving functional – but lacked character. This was exactly the opposite of how the vibrant team running the show wanted Branders to be portrayed. The brief from the management team was to re-imagine the space – bringing the personality of the company and its values to life.

Budgets and predetermined layouts meant it wasn’t possible for our team to conduct full spatial planning. Instead we explored enhancements to specific areas of the space that could infuse the company’s philosophy, ‘great oaks grow from little acorns’, into the environment.

The central office area was overlooked by several smaller rooms on two sides, occupied by the managers as well as a small meeting/interview room and the main boardroom. Rather than splitting the available budget into small upgrades for each room, we first explored ways to enhance the main area. This was a space which could be both seen and experienced by all members of staff.

Location

St Julian’s

Area

500m2

Project Type

Office Interior Design

01

The Hanging Garden

Biophilic design is based on the concept of humans permanently seeking some form of connection with nature. Whether through natural daylight, organic patterns and materials or through direct views of and interaction with nature. Incorporating nature into our designs is a core belief of our team, as it is not only proven to reduce stress and add beauty to otherwise sterile environments but also to help inspire people to be creative.

As available floor space was limited and the desks were already in place, we decided to explore solutions from above. The idea was to create a nature inspired feature. Plants hanging directly over the desks, cascading downwards to create a natural environment conducive to creativity.

The ceiling of the offices was made of standard 60×60 soffit tiles with lighting, a basic for most offices in Malta. We found a way to work around this by creating hanging metal structures which attached directly to the concrete slab above the soffit. We opted for metal as opposed to wood as it gave these structures more stability and avoided the possible risk of wood rot in the case of water spillage when watering the plants.

Once the suspended planters were in place, the space was transformed from a basic office into an organic interior. It can be seen by all the surrounding offices resulting in an upgrade that everyone at Branders could enjoy. Inviting, calming and invigorating for the mind.

02

The Spanish Space

We turned our attention to the small courtyard towards the back of the offices, which featured a distinctive helix-design staircase in the middle. This area is overlooked by both the kitchen and the break room. Using inspiration from outdoor landscaping common to countries like Spain and Morocco, we explored a brighter and bolder design concept for this space.

We painted the walls a deep burnt orange and then used a contrasting blue paint for the staircase making it a centrepiece for the eye. We placed gravel on the floor to add texture to the space and dotted cacti throughout, nurtured by a customised irrigation system. The result is a zen garden with a wow factor, a hidden gem for staff to experience during occasional breaks through-out the day.

03

The Creative Chill

Inspired by the scope of Branders work, we wanted the chill-out area to embrace energy and interaction, but also offer breathing room for a moment or two of peaceful relaxation for the mind.

As the space was already quite bright with natural daylight and white-washed walls, we decided to create two darker feature walls to provide contrast and depth. One wall, which was developed in-house by Branders’ design team, was painted black and filled with flowing line art sketches relating to the casino industry. The adjacent wall was left white with large black hand painted writing, showcasing Branders’ core philosophy ‘Great oaks grow from little acorns.’

04

A Branded Welcome

First impressions count. Balancing budget with necessity, we explored ways to give the reception and boardroom a delicate face lift that would generate positive reactions from clients.

Bringing a little bit of Holland into the mix gave the brand a deeper connection to its Dutch owners. Laminate parquet flooring was installed in both rooms and one wall in the reception area was also clad in wood. We moved the reception desk to the centre of the back wall and balanced a storage room door on the left, with a tree and planters on the right.

As a company specialising in branding, incorporating their identity creatively into the environment was important to our design strategy. The wall behind the desk was painted black and then, using the same hand painted effect as the break room, we added vertical splashes of white paint before placing a large black Branders’ logo on top. The impact was bold but not brash.

To save on costs, we kept the chairs and the legs of the existing boardroom table, but we changed the top of the table to wood. We introduced a custom designed cabinet to house necessities like water and coffee, as well as hide unsightly clutter. As any branding specialist will attest to, sometimes it’s all in the finishing touches. We paid special attention to details in the room, like adding a branded tray for crystal glasses and branded coasters for the tabletop. The raised flooring system enabled us to hide unsightly wires and plugs, creating symmetry and clean space.

The smaller meeting room on the opposite side, was used predominantly for interviews with potential new recruits. Interesting prints, designed by Branders own design team, were placed inside frames creating a feature wall. Opposite we installed large white boards for brainstorming sessions by the staff. Facing the entrance to the room we put up wooden shelves with planters, decorative stationary and office supplies.

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